Confused About Gamification? You Might Already be Using it.

Gamification is fast becoming the golden egg for enhancing productivity and collaboration in the workplace. You may already be using it in your office. But what does the term ‘gamification’ actually mean and how can you apply game mechanics in your company?

What does ‘gamification’ mean?

The term “gamification” was coined in 2002 by Nick Pelling, a British-born computer programmer and inventor. Pelling used the term in the context of applying game design elements and principles to non-game contexts, such as business, education, marketing, and other areas.

The concept gained traction over the years as organisations across all types of industries began to recognise the potential of using game mechanics to engage employees and consumers, motivate interaction, influence behaviour, and enhance training experiences.

Gamification involves applying game-like features, such as points, badges, leaderboards, challenges, rewards, and progression systems, to encourage participation, drive desired actions, and achieve specific objectives.

The purpose of including game mechanics is to leverage people’s natural inclination for play and competition to make tasks more enjoyable, interactive, and motivating, ultimately leading to increased engagement, productivity, and satisfaction.

If you think about any game you’ve played, digital or physical, what made it fun and compelled you to keep playing? What made the game memorable and made you want to play again?

Now consider how you could apply the game mechanics that stirred your emotions, to the day-to-day activities and objectives of your company.

You may be surprised by how many uses for gamification you can come up with. To give you a little nudge in the right direction, take a look at the type of gamified features that are typically used in e-learning and employee training programs.

A brightly coloured pixel art landscape with a banner saying 'Level Up!' surrounded by confetti

Are you already using gamification?

Gamification in the workplace can take various forms, tailored to the specific needs and goals of the organisation. Some of the most common uses are:

Checklists/progress tracking

Implementing performance management systems with gamified elements, such as progress bars, skill trees, or experience points, to track employee performance and provide feedback. You might also want to incorporate gamified feedback mechanisms, such as peer-to-peer recognition systems or “kudos” boards, where employees can acknowledge and applaud each other’s contributions.

Highlighting important text

A key use of gamification is making training interactive to increase engagement. A basic example is to highlight important text to make it easy to refer back easily as you are performing a task. This is the quintessence of on-the-job training.


Stories captivate attention and provide context for the learning material. They help learners to see how the content can be applied to real-life situations, which aids comprehension and retention. By embedding narratives into gamified e-learning, learners are more likely to stay engaged and motivated to complete the course.


Not unlike treating yourself to a nice snack after a hard day, rewards motivate staff to achieve specific learning milestones such as completing tasks, meeting deadlines, or reaching productivity targets. Reward points also provide in-game encouragement by giving (ping) positive feedback and keeping players engaged and focused.

How to utilise gamification effectively for your workplace

Once you have identified specific objectives or outcomes you want to achieve with gamification, you will need to determine which game elements will work best for users and your budget.

Taking the game mechanics mentioned above, let’s take a look at how you can apply them in the workplace and where they work best.

Checklists/progress tracking

Checklists and progress tracking in training can help employees feel a sense of accomplishment. Offer real-time feedback and progress-tracking features to help employees monitor their performance, identify areas for improvement, and track their progress toward goals.


The interactive elements, in general, are the biggest benefit of gamification. Create gamified experiences that facilitate learning and skill development through interactive activities, simulations, quizzes, or simulations. Incorporate elements like branching scenarios, simulations, and adaptive feedback to enhance engagement and retention.


Developing compelling narratives and storylines helps to immerse participants in the game world. Allow them to make choices and influence the direction of the story through their actions, creating a more interactive and personalised experience.


Offer rewards that are meaningful and aligned with employees’ interests and motivations. Consider a mix of intrinsic (e.g., recognition, achievement) and extrinsic (e.g., monetary incentives, prizes) rewards to appeal to different preferences.

Work with gamification specialists

Working with a leading e-learning and gamification provider like Sliced Bread Animation can help you leverage the benefits gamification offers and see higher returns on your investment.

Recent Posts