Case study: 3 heavyweights give gamification a go

Enterprises are gamifying internal apps to engage employees, solve problems, increase collaboration and identify new lines of business.

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Initially, employees earned points by filling out their online profiles and uploading content, for example. That's evolved into a system that now tracks more than 30 different activities, explains Steve Kaukonen, a senior manager on Hsu's team, with the goals of increasing productivity, reducing operating costs, spawning innovative ideas and improving employee engagement.

At first, Accenture rewarded participation with money -- each "Celebrating Performance" point was worth $1. And top performers -- those who shared the most content or whose blogs were most frequently read -- were also designated in the system by a gold star icon.

Still, surveys revealed that employees didn't always feel they were being recognized or rewarded for collaboration, according to Hsu. So today their collaboration scores are included as part of their annual performance reviews.

Both Hsu and Kaukonen stress that gamification is just one component of Accenture's overall program to encourage participation and collaboration, part of a broad initiative of change management.

Lessons learned: Hsu recommends that companies think carefully about what motivates people as they add gamification. Consider not only what will interest them initially, but what will keep them engaged. Extrinsic rewards might work at first, for example, but if there's not some kind of intrinsic reward that comes from participating, then interest can quickly wane, he warns.

Copyright © 2013 IDG Communications, Inc.

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