Gamification Mechanic Monday: Rewards
In gamification design, we will often use rewards to recognise activities of the players or users of the process. Rewards can come in the shape of points, badges, certification and more. They work well to attract people to get started and will for some provide a reason to keep going, but not for everyone.
What you call your reward and how it is communicated back to the user will also affect the spirit in which it is seen. Let’s say you earned the “you are and awesome task master” reward, some people will love this and be quite happy to share it with their friends, others will cringe and keep it private. What then often happens when dealing with clients, is to question if it is perceived as childish. I would tend to encourage messaging that is in line with how people inside an organisation already communicate casually, if there is a high level of fun then the messaging should contain the same spirit, if it is a very formal setting I would suggest more toned down messaging. Rarely will I suggest not to use rewards, when implementing gamification, just because you will always have a few naysayers.
Rewards should reflect the level of effort required. Most of us know when we work hard for 4 years we can count on a university degree or diploma, this level of effort we expect for that level of reward. When we then use rewards in business gamification, offering a certificate after one lesson, would be considered laughable, however when I complete several sessions and possibly an assignment or test, then we value it more.
Monetary rewards will add in another level of complexity and for gamification purposes it isn’t necessary, considering most people will already be receiving payment for the role they perform in the organisation. What has worked is virtual currency rewards, which can be traded for time off, special perks or even company goods. In this case instead of collecting experience points, you collect virtual currency and could save this towards a reward of your choice.
What kind of rewards have worked well for your company and why?