Monday 25 March 2019 10:26 am

Level up your staff by using games and gamification in the workplace

Follow Pete Jenkins
Many assume that video games and board games are just a form of entertainment. But what if you could use the psychology behind these games to motivate people?

This process is called gamification, and it’s the driving force behind a new industry, with applications ranging from improving health to helping employees adopt a new corporate culture.

Its usage in business is growing, from recruitment to retention and onboarding – though this is just the tip of the iceberg.

To show how gamification could improve your company, let’s imagine a video game version of your business from the point of view of a prospective employee, who we’ll call Joe.

Gamify your job interview

Joe applies to your company, and he’s everything that you’re looking for. You call him in for an interview but – to Joe’s relief – you don’t give him a psychometric test to complete, unlike dozens of your competitors.

No, you go one better: you ask Joe to play a game instead. This will give you a realistic view of how he approaches problems, and it makes you stand out in a crowded marketplace.

In one easy step, you’ve positioned yourself to attract the best talent. This has a ripple effect on morale and staff retention, as Joe knows that your company culture is a great fit, and he will be encouraged to meet new colleagues and learn.

Use transferable skills

Approximately 50 per cent of the UK population are gamers. Joe and half of his new team can now use their game-playing skills to deliver a better service to your customer.

Offices are already full of game players – some will probably have fulfilled the 10,000 hours needed to qualify as an “expert”. Capitalise on the surprising amount of knowledge these people may have, from understanding what makes compelling narrative, to insights on human interactions with software.

Games are also truly international. With over two billion gamers worldwide playing the same or similar games, Joe likely has a head start at building rapport with your potential clients abroad. He may already be building worlds with them in Minecraft, or teaming up together in Fortnite and Apex Legends – an essential relationship when companies are looking to export to new markets.

The place for games


There is a spectrum to gamification, from “light touch fun” to “full-on game play”. If you want to benefit, a great place to start is by making changes to your workspace.

Use some playful ideas in your office layout to inspire creativity. For instance, Joe feels safe to fail and come up with innovative ideas when playing games, so occasional breaks to play a physical game of pool or table tennis will help him and his team overcome any mental blocks.

There is a growing trend of using games to engage and motivate employees. Industry reports estimate the value of the market to be worth anywhere between $11bn to $24bn over the next half decade.

It’s a powerful movement. By gamifying elements of your organisation, companies too can create winning cultures and products.

City A.M.'s opinion pages are a place for thought-provoking views and debate. These views are not necessarily shared by City A.M.

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