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Game on! Generate more engagement with gamification.

Written by: Barry Danielson, Vice President, Decision Sciences; Neil Helgeson, Director, Insights Lab
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How can a company increase motivation, engagement and learning for their employees while also making the work more enjoyable? This is where gamification comes into play. Gamification is the process of incorporating game-like elements into non-game contexts. Using things like points, badges and leaderboards will help motivate and engage users to participate in a gamification program.

The idea behind gamification is to tap into the psychological drivers that make games so engaging and apply them to real-world situations. Competition, social interaction, challenges and rewards make experiences more enjoyable, so users are more likely to work toward better outcomes for not only themselves but also their organization.

The concept of gamification has been around for a few decades, but it really became popular in the early 2010s. Smartphones made it easier to incorporate game-like elements into everyday activities, so in turn, it was easier for users to participate.

BI WORLDWIDE has extensive experience using its Nitro® gamification product. Here are a few customer examples where gamification positively impacted program engagement.

1. Telecommunications customer

A major telecommunications customer wanted its employees to better understand its products, as there were many and they were always evolving. They partnered with BIW and used a set of Nitro-based rules and a series of educational missions to drive higher levels of engagement.

The program has become the favorite educational tool of employees, and as a result, utilization of the program increased 60%. Today, nearly 80% of the eligible audience has used the program compared to 50% prior to introduction. And inbound sales representatives who were highly engaged in the program had 20% higher net revenue from new sales compared to those who were not as engaged.

Participants were also asked about their experience using Nitro’s built-in survey capabilities. Nearly 90% of the survey respondents would recommend the program to their coworkers, and over 75% of employees agreed or strongly agreed that the content has improved their knowledge or made a positive impact on their sales conversations.


2. Software manufacturer

A major software manufacturer wanted to increase participation in its online community. BIW used Nitro to develop a gamification solution that included missions and challenges based on the company’s desired behaviors. The Nitro solution also included rewards that corresponded to the significance of the behavior, including points, badges, award points or a combination of rewards. The customer wanted to see more participants joining groups, posting or reacting to questions and articles, watching videos and recognizing other users.

Participants were also encouraged to climb the leaderboard and earn levels. Completing missions and accumulating experience points increases a participant's level and demonstrates their overall engagement in the program.

To measure the effectiveness of the program, two groups were formed: a gamification group – which had missions, challenges and rewards – and a control group which didn’t have anything additional to incent them. Both groups interacted in the same environment, so there was increased content. However, the gamification group’s participation increased significantly more than the control group.


Similar results were seen by a different software manufacturer who found that, compared to a control group, a gamification group made:

- 5x the number of comments
- 8x the number of posts
- 20x the number of likes

3. Automobile manufacturer

One automobile manufacturer that partnered with BIW found that introducing gamification with Nitro resulted in 20% more weekly users of its information site by employees. The average number of usage occasions jumped from 25 to 30 a week. Another found that 72% of sales consultants with a high level of gamification-based training met their sales goal while only 10% of those with lower levels met their goal.


Overall, gamification can be a powerful tool for increasing engagement, improving learning outcomes and boosting productivity in non-game situations. Whether encouraging employees to get the training that will help them with their work or encouraging customers to interact with the company and others in sharing knowledge, gamification, along with rewards, is a powerful and flexible way to generate higher engagement.


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Barry Danielson

Barry Danielson

Vice President
Decision Sciences

Barry Danielson is a 25-year veteran social researcher, analyst and consultant. He is an expert in determining how an organization’s performance metrics relate to the its strategic plans. Danielson routinely oversees the design, execution, reporting and ongoing consulting for large-scale client engagements, resulting in significant business improvement.
Neil Helgeson

Neil Helgeson

Insights Lab

Neil Helgeson has over 30 years of experience as a statistician and methodologist in both business and academia where he has been involved in the design and analysis of hundreds of research projects. He has written papers and taught courses on data use and interpretation utilizing a broad range of multi-variate and univariate techniques. He is currently a Director of the Insights Lab at BI WORLDWIDE and heads its thought leadership function.

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