Want a Happy and Productive Workforce? Try Gamification Employee Recognition

Employees love games, and these 5 gamification techniques will help them hit maximum motivation and performance.

Remember when you were at school and that class competition for a chocolate bar suddenly brought out the best in everyone? Well, gamification employee recognition is the adult equivalent, but instead of treating a workforce like kids, it’s shown to be a great way to build team culture and boost performance. 

The COVID-19 pandemic changed the way large companies look at employee motivation. Remote work means managers now need new ways to engage with employees if they want to maximize productivity as well as make onboarding easier.

Gamification has provided a swift answer. 

Yet for many managers, a switch to a gamification program can bring up other challenges, including:

  • Not knowing which gamification techniques and reward systems work best for their team
  • Justifying ‘playing games’ as a way of meeting business goals to less-enthusiastic colleagues
  • Integrating game elements into busy company culture.


These are common difficulties and they need to be addressed. 

Large brands that take on an influx of ‘Gen Z’ers’ and millennials each year are finding that gamification employee recognition holds the golden key to enhanced productivity. The 83% of employees who are more motivated as a result of gamified training would agree. 

gamification employee recognitionSource: TalentLMS (via FinancesOnline)

If you’re the CMO or manager at a major brand, you may have come across other facts and figures that back up gamification’s growing importance. Namely, the effect that it’s had on other major brands. 

Tech platform Foursquare grew five times its size in three years after creating gaming apps for employee engagement, while language app Duolingo has amassed a user base of 500 million with its gamified learning method. 

It all follows a landmark Deloitte report a decade ago that marked out gamified training as a key strategic growth tool for major brands.

And if all that wasn’t enough, applying gamification to your marketing translates to conversion rates that are nearly six times higher than without it.

So, what’s the secret behind gamification employee recognition and how can you best use it to ignite your workforce’s productivity? This is what we aim to answer in this article. 

Gamification not only brings out the best in your employees but your customers, too. Get in touch with Fanprime to find out how our gamified platform will help you boost engagement and open up new revenue streams.

Why is employee gamification so effective?

To understand why gamification and employee engagement have had such a dramatic impact on company performance, we should first break it down into its core components.

Simply put, gamification is a way of integrating game elements into employee training or everyday work tasks. The aim is to boost productivity – almost without them realizing it because they’re having fun. 

The same theory applies to marketing gamification where customers increase interactions via games, in turn increasing revenue and first-party data returns for the company. Sports fan rewards platforms have proved remarkably successful at this.

Here are several reasons why gamified learning for employees is bringing such bountiful returns for businesses.

It boosts knowledge retention

Any education expert will tell you that when learning is fun, we tend to absorb more knowledge. We recall visual information better than its oral or text equivalents, which is why presentations accompanied by colorful images, infographics, and charts work so well. 

Top online resource eLearning estimates employee retention to increase by as much as 60% when we add entertaining visuals to data.

Also, playing games gives us a lived experience of learning where we actively do something at that moment, instead of a passive activity such as reading. This is much more likely to trigger a memory in our mind later on, which in turn boosts retention.

It builds happiness and team bonding

Games give us a diversion from our day-to-day routine. If we’re having a stressful day then a fun activity is the perfect antidote, which explains why two-thirds of employees who use gamification report reduced work-related stress

A less stressed workforce is a happier workforce, and happier people are more likely to socially connect. Or we could flip it on its head and say that more socially connected people are more likely to be happier.

Either way, game elements at work make 81% of employees feel more socially connected, strengthening team bonds as a result. 

gamification employee recognition

It increases performance levels

A more united workplace is much more likely to work together to meet company targets and objectives. Employees don’t want to let the team down and will pull together in a crisis, instead of falling apart. 

Online fact-checkers Review 42 say that gamification employee recognition motivates 72% of employees to work harder. Something every manager wants to hear.


6 practical examples how to run a gamification employee recognition program 

We know that companies that gamify employee engagement and loyalty programs get impressive returns. But how do you incorporate gamified initiatives into your workplace to get the best out of your team members?

In this section, we’re going to zero in on some of the tried-and-tested examples of gamification for employee engagement. 

1. Employee content creation and sharing

A first port of call for many companies is to create a communal space where workers can share their work-related thoughts, ideas, and content.

While in the past this may have been a simple noticeboard, today’s digital landscape provides tools such as Google Workspace, and apps like Slack, Trello, and Asana, where workforces can gather huge reams of easily-accessible information.

Far from being formal, this content works best when gamified. Think of worker-generated challenges like puzzles and brainteasers that push their workers to learn and retain knowledge. 

According to engagement platform Bloomfire, knowledge-sharing gamification like this can increase employee engagement by almost 50%.

2. Quizzes and trivia for points

There’s something about points that just gets people going, and quizzes and trivia are excellent vehicles for awarding them in exchange for demonstrating retained knowledge.

Trivia is a vital part of workplace e-learning, helping employees absorb important information in a fun and relaxed manner. It can take multiple forms, each a great example of an engaging group activity. Interactive quizzes (with photo/video rounds), scavenger hunts, and escape rooms all help to put learned information to practical use. 

Points-based trivia has an important dual benefit: its competitive nature makes employees actively want to learn and work together, and it helps trainers spot important skill gaps which they can aim to fill in the next round of training.

Fun, motivational, and excellent at creating friendly competition, trivia-based games have a tendency to turn even the most reluctant learner into a team player. 

3. Points-based rewards

To develop the theme of point accumulation further, many companies have found that offering rewards-based incentives fuels employee productivity in several ways. 

Employees earn points by following a video game-like structure comprising missions, quests, and milestones. For each milestone or level they reach, they earn a reward ranging from something simple like a gift card to spend at a retailer (or even in their own company) to a free holiday, depending on their budget for these activities. 

Employee rewards don’t have to be tangible or even intrinsically valuable, either. Academic research shows that awarding status symbols like digital badges, trophies, and stars gives a similar boost to employee self-esteem and pride. 

To use the example of Duolingo once more, their addictive system of motivating sounds whenever you get a question correct and easy accumulation of badges and trophies have helped make it the most successful language app in the world. 

Companies that can provide similar techniques to employees are likely to see a significant upturn in employee motivation and learning.

4. Real-time leaderboards

We humans are competitive animals and having a public display of progress is a powerful way of raising performance levels. A live leaderboard is the most obvious way of doing this, offering a striking summary of everyone’s progress.

Yet, it’s important to strike a fine balance here: you want to show that everyone is in the game, so just showing the top three may be demoralizing to those outside of it. But, at the same time, you don’t want to embarrass those at the bottom of the rankings.

Subtly handing out harder tasks to those at the top, or being more liberal with points giving to those cut adrift below are two ways of addressing this. 

Leaderboards can incorporate the gamification elements previously, by building milestones, ranks, and achievements into them to further stimulate employee effort. When used well, they’re one of the most engaging features an employee recognition program can have.

5. Social media connections

What does your typical employee want to do when they’ve achieved something special? Why, boast about it publicly, of course!

Social media is the ultimate medium for showing off: a two-minute browse of Instagram is enough to prove that. However, it’s also a useful tool for boosting morale by publicizing your team’s achievements and earning external recognition for them. 

Tagging top team players in your company’s social media accounts, or even getting the CEO to mention them specifically in a post, is an excellent (and free) way to spread good vibes among workers. 

It also boosts your image as a company by showing how much you value your employees, and could even attract hot talent who happen to stumble across your posts. 

Like it or not, social media plays a big part in society these days. As powerful and cost-effective mediums go, they don’t come much bigger or better than the likes of Twitter, Instagram, and Twitch.

6. Transforming the employee intranet 

Flipping from external to internal recognition, many large corporations are finding that gamifying their intranet is yielding exceptional results.

An intranet is not only smaller and more secure than the World Wide Web, but businesses can design theirs in a way that helps their workforce interact and learn, including using gamification. 

Many companies use their intranet to put in place several techniques already outlined in this article, including:

  • A communal intranet page (a ‘best practices wall’ or something similar) where employees share their content for their colleagues to react to in the form of likes, comments, or shares. 
  • Intranet leaderboards encourage healthy competition as individuals or teams see who can earn the most points and climb the rankings.
  • Recognition in the form of awards, perks, or even access to an in-company ‘miniverse’ of hidden rooms or special privileges, for standout performers.

Some brands are finding that intranet gamification is not only boosting workplace morale, but fostering innovation

Wine and spirits company Moët Hennessy transformed its intranet by building an in-company Metav.RS Web 3.0 miniverse and using Fanprime’s turnkey solution as a recognition platform. Employees log in to the platform to partake in gamified intranet challenges, earn points-based rewards and compete on an internal leaderboard. 

Launched as a test for over 1,000 marketing employees, Moët Hennessy anticipates a huge boost to their employee engagement and an influx of innovative marketing ideas that will help benefit the whole company.

Ready to find out more about how a gamification employee recognition program can supercharge participation? Get in touch with Fanprime and we’ll show you how you can start rewarding for employee interaction.