Robotic Process Automation

Leveraging gamification to democratise automation

At the core of it all, every adult has an inner child, and every child wants to play to win. Harnessing the need to compete/win and converting mundane activities into gaming could be the Holy Grail for self-motivation. From Starbucks offering free coffee to Dominos rewarding loyal customers with free pizzas, numerous Fortune 500 companies have incorporated some aspects of gamification into their core, so much so that customers take “points” as a way of life and subconsciously strive to get more without external stimuli.

Nick Pelling coined the term gamification in 2002 and defined it as “a tool to improve a user interface (with game elements) to make electronic transactions more enjoyable.” However, the application of gamification goes back a long way, the most notable being the Taiwanese government’s decision to use a gamified approach to ramp up its tax collection, resulting in a 75% year-on-year increase in revenue in the year 1951.

As we all know, every company is attempting to bring in automation to drive customer experience and improve employee productivity. The challenge, however, is that the success of such programs is directly proportional to the extent of involvement of the employees across the value chain – idea generation, idea articulation and quantification, idea execution, and finally associated change management and sustenance. With this as the backdrop, we would like to introduce our thoughts on driving automation through gamification to make this process exciting and self-driven.

The idea originated when we observed we had to “push” entities to drive transformation/automation, especially on the Operations floor. We had to add “pull” factors such as awards, incentives, project certifications, etc. to capture attention and drive synergy organically. In other words, we had to “engage” and “inspire” folks at various levels to drive themselves into thinking and executing ideas.

Gamification to the rescue – Using game elements brings engagement and excitement across the automation value chain. The intricacies involved (naming and creating a team, the sense of competing with peers, and the satisfaction of seeing the Leaderboards, etc.) give folks the impetus that was missing sans gamification.

A survey conducted by a training company found that 89% of the employees felt gamification made them more productive at work, and 88% thought it made them happier at work. Almost 9 out of 10 workers felt that competitiveness and the drive to engage increased when a specific task was gamified.

Breaking it down

Doing it together: Gamification drives teamwork! At the get-go, the grouping of people in different teams creates a sense of belonging making the initiative fun and engaging. It drives the teams toward a common goal while promoting friendly competition and a sense of purpose. Incorporating gamification into activities such as a hackathon, botathon, etc. adds zest to the initiatives.

Wearing your badges: Badges are rewards that symbolically recognise the achievements of participants. Whether it is an employee who submitted an automation idea, a developer who deployed automation, or an employee who learned a new automation skill these badges will surely be worn as a “badge of honour” – a sure way of acknowledging the success each person had.

Knowing your scores: A leaderboard is a list of high scores used in most of today's games and gamified processes. The primary purpose of a leaderboard is to boost engagement, bring recognition, and foster competition.

Knowing your rewards: Gamification provides a sense of achievement that 'rewards' the brain each time you achieve a goal. Some recognition is given to participants for exclusive one-time accomplishments. For example, participants who submit an automation idea for the first time, or those that are consistently performing at an “epic win” level.

Owning the success: There is an unambiguous and objective way of choosing the “winner.” This gives the participants a sense of fair play and transparency, leaving nothing to subjectivity. With subjectivity eliminated, there is trust and belief in the process. Also, this transparency brings in peer acknowledgement and acceptance.

Gamification has the potential to truly democratise the digital journey for organisations by incentivizing employees in their digital learnings, engaging them in defining the future state of the process and enabling them to develop their automation solutions leveraging No code/low code applications.

Now that you know how gamification is beneficial to your business, go ahead and use it to better engage with your employees and take them along on the journey of automation.

This article was first published on Business Insider

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