What are examples of gamified rewards systems for employee performance in the workplace, and what are the advantages and disadvantages of gamified rewards systems for employee performance in the workplace in general?

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What are examples of gamified rewards systems for employee performance in the workplace, and what are the advantages and disadvantages of gamified rewards systems for employee performance in the workplace in general?

Hello! Thank you for your request to provide you with examples of gamified reward systems for employee performance in the workplace. I understand that you are looking for between one and three examples of companies and the gamified employee performance rewards they've implemented. You would also like the advantages and disadvantages of gamified rewards. The short answer is that Hewlett Packard, Google, and DirecTV are all companies that have implemented gamification reward systems for their employees. You will find a deep dive of my research below.

Hewlett Packard

Description: Product resellers were represented by an avatar climbing a mountain. Every time a salesperson reached a sales achievement, the corresponding avatar would move up the mountain.

Goal: Increase sales revenue by 50%.

Rewards: Participating resellers were able to win televisions and tablets as they made their way up the mountain. The grand prize was the vacation of a lifetime.

Results: Over 80% of all Hewlett Packard resellers participated in the project and sales revenue increased 56.4%.


Description: Google employees who did not spend all of their travel allowance and submitted their expense reports on time would get the balance of the allowance back in the form of their choice.

Goal: Google wanted to get more employees to submit their expense reports in a more timely manner.

Rewards: Employees who met the criteria of not spending their entire travel allowance and turning in their expense report on time could choose to get the remaining money back in their next paycheck, save it for a future trip, or donate the extra money to a charity of their choice.

Results: Within six months of implementing the program, Google reported 100% employee compliance with the expense reporting procedures.



Description: Following an IT project's failure for the second time in 12 months, DirecTV wanted to reframe the idea of failure by creating a gamified learning platform that would allow the IT department to create and view their own videos about failure. It was named "F-12" in reference to the company's 12-step "program to overcome failure." DirecTV integrated the platform into its existing collaboration system and a new crowdsourcing tool to make it easier for employees to share videos and interact with each other. As employees accessed the learning platform and completed assignments to view or create videos, take quizzes, and share or comment on videos, they could earn points and badges.

Goal: DirecTV wanted employees to embrace failure rather than fear it. To do that, they needed to change their mindset around failure so they could stop pointing fingers and avoid repeating mistakes.

Rewards: Top performers for each quarter could earn prizes like iPads and iPods.

Results: User activity on the platform tripled, employees have created more than 100 videos, and IT saw a 30% decrease in problems with IT rollouts. In addition, IT successfully launched its first defect-free enterprise project.


Other than the results for each case study, there were no advantages reported that were specific to these reward programs. I searched for employee opinions of the programs, software reviews, and general media mentions and could only find the positive results that came about following program implementation. Therefore, I focused my research on general advantages of gamification in the workplace. According to eLearning Industry, there are 10 main benefits to using a gamification reward system in the workplace. A brief summary of each benefit follows.

1. Objective Data: Implementing gamification allows companies to collect objective data that provides them with a realistic picture of how they are actually performing.

2. Eases Manager Burdens: Objective data allows managers to have unbiased information they can use to make employment decisions.

3. Feedback: Workplace gamification programs can help employees get consistent feedback without adding additional work for superiors. Employees can see how they are doing in real time and can set goals or make adjustments to their performance without having to wait for an annual review.

4. Recognition: Employees like to know that they are doing well and even if they won't admit it, they like to be recognized for their work. Gamification allows this to happen automatically, especially when there is a public leaderboard or scorecard available.

5. Mastery: A main reason why people like playing games is because they want to improve on their previous score. Skill mastery can help motivate employees to better themselves and see how concepts get easier with practice.

6. Motivation: The best gamification programs are multifaceted and offer motivation for everyone. Some people are motivated by employee recognition. Others are motivated by personal growth. Still others are motivated by extrinsic rewards.

7. Communication: Gamification can allow companies to let employees know what's coming up next by assigning them a new "level" or module.

8. Autonomy: The best gamification programs do not require employees to participate. Employee choice promotes more engagement and buy-in by allowing them to decide how gamification can work for them as part of their employment.

9. Training: Employees value continual learning and training, and gamification platforms allow them this opportunity without requiring additional personnel resources from the company. Employees can access the learning on their own time and progress at their own pace.

10. Balance: When employees are required to do many tasks at one time, like answering customer questions on the phone and receiving a high quality score, gamification can help them learn how to balance the job requirements. They can see what they do best and where they might need to improve.


As with advantages, no disadvantages were reported with the case studies I researched. Therefore, I focused my attention on disadvantages with gamification in the workplace in general. The corporate trainers at Shapiro Negotiations provide three main drawbacks to implementing a gamification program in the workplace.

1. Too Generic: Many companies think a one-size fits-all approach to gamification can yield results similar to those seen in the case studies. Unfortunately, if the system is too generic, employees won't use it. Gamification systems must be thoughtful and clearly connected to the work employees are doing.

2. Mandated Fun: If employees are forced to participate in a gamification program, it can become just another work assignment. Employees who already feel over-worked will resent another mandated task on top of everything else they already have to do.

3. Competition Isn't Always Positive: In general, people are naturally competitive. There will be those who try to take advantage of the system to reach the top of the scoreboard, mountain, or other outcome by any means possible. Other employees will not participate if the game isn't completely fair. It can lead to discord in the workplace and resentful feelings among employees. This is particularly a problem for companies that want employees to collaborate together to meet common goals but then implement games that pit employees against each other. For many people, games aren't "just for fun." They are serious business and that can lead to bigger problems than the ones gamification was intended to solve. In this way, gamification incentivizes behaviors inconsistent with the company's values.


Many organizations have successfully implemented gamification programs to encourage employee behavior modification. For Hewlett Packard, Google, and DirecTV, their gamification programs did result in the desired employee behavior changes. However, if a workplace reward system is not carefully planned, it can backfire and lead to undesireable outcomes.

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