Using players to reward players.

Posted: August 18, 2011 in gamification, SocialBiz

I love gamification…and while I’ve read some interesting posts that suggest gamification is “bullshit” I still think it has a lot of potential.

Most social platforms I’ve come across offer the use of badges as a reward mechanism. Indeed this seems to the most common type of gamification reward out there. Playstation give out badges for in-game accomplishments, ebay provide “status titles” (a type of  badge) for respected sellers and buyers, Foursquare have the well-mentioned reward badges and mayorship titles etc.

However, these platforms have one thing in common, the rewards (i.e. badges) are pre-defined and transitory. For an Enterprise 2.0 platform i’m not sure this is enough. What if you could you allow participants to give their own real, transparent, HR sanctioned awards? For example, John has gone out of his way to help me and has done a great job. I have a choice, send a note to his manager saying thanks, or stamp a “Top Job” badge on his social enterprise profile. Couple it with a short blurb of why and John has the acknowledgement and reason for his Kudos, permanently stamped on his record!

No longer is your praise lost in 1:1 communication without future benefits, or filed away in your HR “record”. Everyone can see your badge of honor.

Sure, there are programs where you can “suggest a hero” or “give praise” but the problem with those is that they are transitory in nature. Someone sends a note saying “well done” and 1 week later it’s forgotten. If you’re lucky your boss was a) copied on and b) has reviewed it before your pay review cycle.

You could create the standard badges but what about having staff members create their own badge, something like the coat of arms of ye’ old. If you get good service from that person you give them your stamp of approval. That in itself would drive competition wouldn’t it – who could collect the most badges!

There’ll no doubt be the obvious concerns of abuse or privacy. But let’s look at some of the common ones.

  1. You can get all your friends to “badge” you – this problem just doesn’t exist when it’s company wide. I could have my 10 or 20 mates at work “badge” me but those that are really doing good things will have hundreds if not more.
  2. People give the reward easily – Most (but not all) of the time peoples good deed affect many people. Susan might ask for help but it’s on behalf of her whole team. Using this concept we could attach a rating to the reward. For an incremental, run of the mill, good service you might rate it 1 or 2. But for the game-changing / save the company $$ help you might give it 10. This gives an extra dimension to the badge that can be highlighted (raised in profile) through various means.
  3. Some staff don’t like public recognition – this is easy. Most social networks give you the option to “change your title” or show your badges. Do the same for your internal network and problem solved.

I’m quite smitten with this concept. It puts the idea of rewards and recognition in the hands of your peers and away from the potential bureaucratic red-tape. It’s open, transparent and very very social. I wonder if this could work for totally open and transparent rating of senior management?!?

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