3 Gaming Tricks That Motivate
by Scott Danielson
My generation loves video games and I’m no exception. I own an Xbox 360 and play games two to three times a week. The appeal of video games is easy to understand. From the comfort of my room, I can defend the innocent as Batman or throw touchdown passes as my favorite NFL® quarterback.
What makes people dedicate hours, if not days, to one game? Turns out video games have their own tricks to keep gamers coming back for more.
If only our employees came into work with the same level of enthusiasm. Now they can. Here are three motivational gaming tools you can use in your office.
#1 Give Them Freedom
The best video games give players freedom. In a football game, I can choose my team, my roster, and the plays. I’ve even amused myself by attempting a fake punt on first down. Regardless of my choices, the goal remains the same: win the game.
In oppressive office cultures, managers focus on things being done “their way,” instead of the end result. Realistically, most employees don’t think or operate like that. Thus, doing things “your way” will frustrate them and make them less productive.
Instead, create a goal-oriented office culture. Your employees will celebrate the opportunity to personalize their work. Combined with clear-cut goals, you can improve employee enthusiasm and your bottom line.
#2 Offer Secondary Rewards
Even if I really enjoy a particular video game, I’ll get bored after a couple of hours. Yet I’ve often continued to play games way past the point of boredom. Why? Achievements.
All Xbox games give players points for specific in-game accomplishments. While a good portion of the achievements are earned through completing the game, at least half require beating the game on a higher difficulty setting, completing side missions, or tackling a random feat you wouldn’t think of.
Even if your employees love their job, they’ll need something besides a paycheck to keep them motivated. If an individual has done exceptional work, feel free to give her a small gift card—or compliment him at his desk. These individuals will feel validated and motivated to maintain their work ethic.
An added benefit? The rest of the office now knows good work gets rewarded.
#3 Embrace Failure
Trial and error can be a great teacher. Unless you’re playing through a familiar game at the easiest level of difficulty, failure is inevitable. In fact, many players fail to complete the same task ten to twenty times. Thankfully, good games offer little to no punishment for continual failure. Instead they include checkpoints or my personal favorite, the retry option. Some games are generous enough to offer advice after your character dies.
Many employees live in fear of failure, because their ego is on the line. They feel admitting a mistake will make them appear weak, incompetent or unintelligent. Avoid damaging your employees’ psyches. If a worker slips up, offer words of encouragement and advice for improvement. If you’ve made similar mistakes in the past, take the opportunity to connect with your employee by sharing your experience. Now your employees can relax knowing you don’t think less of them.
A terrible workplace and a terrible video game are quite similar. Both are restrictive, lack a sense of accomplishment, and punish failure without mercy. Avoid the office equivalent of a thrown controller. Even if you've never played a video game, use their methods of motivation to improve your office.
Image provided by Ben Dodson
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