Gamification #Fail


Games. We play games for entertainment. You win games, you lose games. Gamification of the workplace is a millennial-driven concept that originates from the simple “celebration” of achievements in the video game world. These celebrations are trophies and badges unique to the accomplishment. Kill the wizard; silver trophy. Kill the wizard without a scratch on you; GOLD trophy.

The Gamification of the workplace is a theoretical concept creeping its way into modern performance management. I really enjoy testing this theory, but the balance between what a group considers stimulating and not is thin and sensitive. As you have seen on this blog, I have leveraged different methods of celebrating the accomplishment of individual and team based goals. BUBBLES was my fun and stimulating vehicle for extraordinary performance without excessive over-compensation (extravagant bonuses, etc.). Hit a daily sales goal? I run a bubble machine and drench you in colorful joy. Team hits a group goal, everyone gets bubbled. My sales team loved it. My new concept was an attempt to evolve.

The new idea I had? #Fail

Here’s the new idea. It revolves around an Instax Mini instant camera with the small “Polaroid” photos. You may have seen this. Maybe you own one. If you haven’t heard of it, use this as a barometer of your current social awareness. The Instax Mini was fully loaded with film and a battery, and teammates were compelled to take a photo of one another whenever they felt like a teammate did something “amazing.” Totally subjective. I know. Once you take a photo of “Mikey” for “helping a teammate close a $10k sale” you wrote the reason for the picture (we’ll call this the “Trophy”) on the bottom of the photograph and taped the photo on the wall next to our big screen television that displays all sales performance data. I was using the Instax Mini throughout the Holiday season, and every time I whipped it out and snapped a shot we had a blast. People were amused by the instant picture process, never mind assigning some sort of purpose to it beyond old school selfies.

I tried to get the ball rolling, snapping shots of people whenever they completed a valuable task, h\wrote the reason, then slapped it on the wall. It didn’t catch fire. I had to constantly remind the team to take pictures whenever they felt compelled. I bought 60 pictures, assuming I’d blow through them in 2 weeks. We used only 18 photos in 30 days, 10 of them MINE.

Why so low? Why such a limp response? How could bubbles get such a strong response, and instant photos flop so acutely?

Upon much reflection the answer was quite obvious. What do most of us know about women and having their picture taken? They don’t like it unless their appearance is up to their standard. The company I am currently supporting has a business casual dress code, and by sheer randomness the entire sales team is female. Sometimes my teammates come in dressed to the 9’s, while other times… Let’s just say they take full advantage of the term “casual.” What? People don’t want unflattering and poorly developed instant camera photographs of them hanging publicly in a highly visible place within their professional home? They never admitted it, but that’s what happened.

I should’ve known better. Hopefully, my pain is your gain! SAY CHEESE!

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