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Five Free Gamification Ideas: Motivate your employees the old-fashioned way

March 7, 2019 • gal



Five Free Gamification Ideas: Motivate your employees the old-fashioned way

As we’ve mentioned in several previous posts, gamification is a powerful tool that enables you to motivate your workforce to go from good to great.

Bonuses and perks, or plain supervisor authority aren’t enough; you need to stoke people’s internal fire with drive and purpose.

Gamification- the use of game mechanics to alter behavior, is a great way to do this. Tapping into deep, universally motivating elements, gamification resonates strongly with employees, channeling their natural desire for self-fulfillment, and for a sense of purpose.

There are many gamification offerings; some go for the old-school-approach of points and badges. Others use more modern methods, preferring narrative-based games that tie seamlessly into corporate applications.

However, in this post I want to take a different, offline approach; I want to take old-fashioned and timeless games and apply them to workforce motivation. All these classic games require is a pen, paper and some sticky tape, yet they are bound to make performance better.

This idea popped into my mind when I visited a call center recently. I noticed a raffle used by one of the managers and was suddenly reminded of the power and beauty of the offline games I used to play with my pals as a child: Raffles with tiny crumpled notes, intense games with elaborate point-counts and leagues. I remembered the triumphs and immense sense of drive and fun these games inspired, and it got me thinking about how we could apply them to the workplace with little complexity.

So, to pay tribute to the power of games that aren’t played while holding a phone or PlayStation controller, I decided to list five ways in which you can inject a similar gamified approach at work, for free:


1. Pat on the back games

One of the main ways to motivate people is to thank them following a job well done. In this game, played once a week, employees and managers are both participants. In turn, each player pats someone on the back and then mentions his or her reason for doing so. Once several rounds are played, the pats-on-the-back are tallied, and the participant whom received the most back-taps is declared the winner. Take care to see to it that your top-employees are not the only ones being rewarded. Make sure to recognize people for different metrics (i.e. pats-on-the-back for different reasons) or measure different metrics each time. This way, employees remain motivated to win a game that is played weekly, with different rules each time.


2. Pay it forward

Find a large box and several smaller boxes to nest in it. (i.e. a matryoshka-doll version of boxes they sell at IKEA). Each box should contain notes describing behaviors that represent company vaules. The first to play opens the box and gives the note to a near-by participant (be it team-member, colleague or manager) whom he or she thinks best embodies that behavior. The recipient will then keep the note, open the next box and repeat the activity. This cycle goes on until there are no more notes. The winners are those whom receive the largest number of notes. This game promotes recognition of team efforts, and helps employees clearly understand how corporate goals should be aligned with daily activities and behavior.

3. Stick-figure games

This game entails choosing a certain character (a mascot, a stick figure etc.) and cutting it into several pieces, like a puzzle. The character can be made of paper, magnets or cardboard. The goal of the game is to assemble all the pieces into a complete character. The pieces are given to players once they meet a certain goal. However, the two last pieces can only be received if goals are exceeded.

Stick figures can be displayed on a designated Wall-of-Fame or next to the employee’s desk.


4. Card collecting

This game works best for new employees during the onboarding process. new employees collect cards for each new person they interact with in the organization, just like kids collect baseball cards. Additional cards are given for participation in workshops, courses, quizzes and reading materials. These cards are eventually used to fill an album, reflecting the learning path the employee walked down when joining the organization. It can be done with business cards as well.


5. Raffles

Set a goal for employees, measured by a certain metric. Every time the goal is met, they get a ticket for a raffle. Once a period, (be it a month or a quarter) conduct a raffle and distribute the prizes. The best prizes can be shared with co-workers (such as food and beverages). This spreads the fun and instills a sense of teamwork.

While top-achievers usually collect more raffle tickets, the random nature of the raffle lets the medium achievers win as well, motivating the top 70% and not just the top 5%-10%. We’ve implemented an online version of this game through our platform, targeting service times related KPIs, for one of our clients. The results ranged from 6.5% to 9% improvement in service times during the time of the raffle.


In closing, remember that there is still much to be gained from popular methods from yesteryear. Even though we have advanced gamification platforms at our disposal, taking a page out of old-school gaming can prove surprisingly beneficial to your team members’ performance.


About Gameffective

Gameffective is an Employee-Centric Performance Management Platform – the “fitness tracker” for the Connected Workforce of the Future.  Gameffective empowers employees to boost their work performance through hyper-personalised goals, real time tracking and data-driven feedback and coaching. Deployed with the world’s leading organizations Gameffective helps managers drive up employee value day by day. To find out how Gameffective can help transform your organization go to or book a live demo.



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