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Why Are Gamification Analytics Important?

Why Are Gamification Analytics Important?

Analytics and Gamification

We all know that data is very valuable. Companies collect all kinds of data and hold on to it until they can figure out a way to use it. Google, Facebook, Twitter and the list goes on, they all store our data. Mass data allows us to see a person’s behaviors, interests, etc. Using this data, we can bring them exactly what they are looking for before they even know it’s what they want. This will remove a lot of the guess work and deliver results faster.

Website and app developers utilize analytics to see how people are interacting with their site or app. This is exactly the case with workplace gamification. The only way to truly change a culture is by having everyone buy into it. In order to have everyone on board you will need to truly understand what it is your gamification software can help them with.

Workplace gamification was designed to drive behavior at work and is  like a Fitbit for work. Like a Fitbit tracks your steps, goals, etc., gamification software is designed to do the same with your job. Tracking inbound/outbound calls, emails sent/received, time it took to resolve an issue and the list goes on. In a recent study by Rui Huang, it was found

“Educational researchers and practitioners both struggle with identifying when, where, and how to use gamification design concepts.”

By hitting your goals or expectations you are in the green but if you don’t then you are in the red. Sounds great, but if you don’t measure this, then how do you know if it is truly working? There needs to be something in place showing if it is too easy to be in the green or way too difficult to stay out of the red. That is a big reason why I have been focused on gamification analytics and how we use it. Studying this data can help deliver a solution that works best for users. A big thing when using an app, website or any tool is trust. Trusting that the data is accurate and not skewed in any way. Analytics will help gain and keep people’s trust.

It’s harder than ever to keep employees engaged and active. First, we’ve got Gen Z and millennials entering the workforce. These generations thrive off a culture rooted in reward and recognition. And without it, 70% are likely to change jobs every two years. In addition, we now have a newly remote workforce navigating the challenges of working from their kitchen tables. Finding new ways to keep employees engaged and enthusiastic has become a necessity. Gamification software is designed to make day to day task more fun and rewarding. It should fit in seamlessly and become a tool that users rely on. If executed properly a gamification software can help keep clear transparency within a company. Gamifying your workplace means your employees are immersed in an exciting realm of friendly competition and a culture of positivity, teamwork, and accountability.

Public leaderboards, a real-time newsfeed, levels and ranks, contests, and rewards motivate your employees to perform better than ever before. High attrition rates are often due to employees feeling as if they do not have a future in their current roles. When there is no defined career path, employees are not entirely sure what achievement means and how it will impact them. With gamification software that provides rank and level system, employees can see exactly where they are headed, how to get there, and what awaits them at the top. Between the mind-numbing data drown and a workforce that always seems disengaged, productivity is plummeting. Meanwhile, costs and attrition rates are climbing to an all-time high. As this is clearly a growing problem after a decade of development, ZIZO launched. This is a revolutionary software platform that takes the stress out of managing and motivating your workforce. To learn more about ZIZO, click here!

Monitoring and Adapting

However, it is not enough to just build the gamification software and leave it alone. It is crucial to continue to study the habits of users to make adjustments when necessary. Deciding when to make things simpler, more engaging or enticing is what will make or break the software in the long run. Like Lori Sherer found

“The technological challenge is hard enough. You have to identify the right data and develop useful tools, such as predictive algorithms. But then comes an even tougher task: getting people to actually use the new tools.”

Let me give you an example to demonstrate what I mean by this:

Hypothetically you have 2 gamification software companies called Company A and Company B. Both have what they believe is the best of the best and will revolutionize the way business operates. The goal is to provide an amazing experience for the users but also show the value of the software. Company A has analytics integrated into their app. It tracks where people click, where they might be stuck and any potential issues. Using this data, they noticed that a lot of people are struggling to advance in the rankings. They will go from rookie to pro pretty quickly but then moving on from pro is very difficult. Users began to get frustrated, so they looked things over and made adjustments. After the adjustments users were noticeably happier and engagement increased. While on the other hand Company B is not running analytics and has no idea that this is going on. Users are slowly becoming irritated, and they are no longer using the software. This eventually makes its way up the chain and the decision makers feel like this isn’t working and decide to cut ties. Although the software is really well made and could be a huge benefit, they did not know what changes needed to be made. This resulted in the gamification software not working.

Using Gamification Analytics Data

It is crucial to use analytics to gather information at a larger scale. Getting reviews and asking people to complete surveys will help but analytics will show you what people can’t tell you. It reveals people’s habits, frustrations, likes and dislikes. It helps you figure out why people keep coming back or why they avoid using the software. Reviewing the data for trends helps resolve problems that might not have been noticed before. To the opposite side of the spectrum, it can also show how to enhance features that are doing really well. Without analytics we  would be flying blind; not knowing what is working and what isn’t working. In an eBook written by Benjamin Heilbrunn he states,

“Even though experts agree on the importance of these activities, concrete processes and software tools have not been investigated yet.”

With this being such a new space there is no proven method just yet. Gamification will change the workplace there is no doubt about that, but it won’t happen overnight. Studying how gamification software plays a role in the workplace will only help the growth of workplace gamification. Daily, weekly and even monthly challenges will help push people to work a little harder, but more data is required to keep people engaged. Optimizing Gamification to gain a deep understanding is the only way to ensure engagement.

Why Are Micro-Rewards Effective in the Workplace?

Why Are Micro-Rewards Effective in the Workplace?

Increase Productivity with Rewards and Recognition

Why Isn’t Everyone Micro-Rewarding?

Gamification for Employee Engagement

Boost the Bottom Line with Micro-Rewards

Have you ever worked at a job where you feel like you are not being appreciated or recognized for your hard work?

Let me answer for you… of course you have, and you’re not alone! Many people feel as though they are overworked and underappreciated. If this isn’t the case for you, then you are part of the lucky few.

One of the biggest problems within a workforce is lack of recognition for your hard work. Furthermore, a workplace that does acknowledge and rewards its employees is more likely to retain valuable staff. In fact, 79% of employees polled in 2019 said that an increase in recognition and rewards would make them more loyal to an employer.

If you put in extra hours or go that extra mile, but nobody seems to acknowledge all your hard work, this starts to have an impact on your work – whether you conciously realize it or not. Slowly, you start to resent your job, boss or co-workers. Before you realize it, you stopped trying as hard and just do what you need to do to get by. Eventually it may escalate into you moving on to a different job.

However, what if you were recognized more often or rewarded for beating the deadline? 

rewards effective in the workplace

Increase Productivity with Recognition and Rewards in the Workplace

Businesses with recognition programs outperform those without them by an average of 14%. While those who report being unhappy or planning to leave their current job often report that employee recognition is one of the main reasons, making lack of recognition a costly problem for employers.

In order to help lower the chances of this happening, things will need to change. Thats is where micro-rewards come in. Micro-rewards are small and frequent rewards for completing tasks or reaching goals. By continually getting rewards for performing well in your job it naturally increases motivation. This concept is true not only in the workforce but in many other applications as well.

Business leaders want to know what the secret is to keeping employees happy and engaged. There have been many studies around micro-rewards in the workplace. One study by Kaitlin Woolley and Ayelet Fishbach was published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. In the study, they found that people who received immediate rewards for completing smaller tasks were overall happier.

In addition to this, people who received rewards more frequently lead to added enjoyment in their work and increased interest. This was taken a step further with those same people. They found that the workers continued to remain interested even when there were no more rewards coming in. This showed that the positivity from the rewards and recognition had a lingering effect that lasted even when the rewards stopped.

Woolley stated “If you have a hobby – say you like to knit or quilt – the process itself is enjoyable, it’s intrinsically motivated. You’re doing it just for the sake of doing it, rather than for the outcome.” When employers add micro rewards, this results in a similar outcome. Based on the research Woolley and Fishbach found these immediate rewards will increase the overall experience of the task at hand.

Employees no longer just view it as a job or task that needs to be completed. As you can assume this not only will benefit the employee but also the business. The employee is now happy and engaged in their work. While the business will have a motivated and loyal employee working hard to accomplish tasks. It is ultimately a win-win for all parties involved.

Why Isn’t Everyone Micro-Rewarding?

If the solution is so simple why isn’t every business doing this?

The answer is many of them do not think it is a good idea. People think that by giving employees a bonus too soon or too often can result in some negative consequences. By giving someone something too early, you remove the thing that may be motivating them to work harder. They will then stop working or not work as hard because they do not see the reason to.

While this may be true for some this is not the case for all. “More evidence suggests immediate rewards are beneficial,” said Woolley. “They’re a useful tool for increasing interest in an activity.” Depending on the team lead, manager, owners, etc. they may not know just how impactful a small change like this can have. When businesses grow in size it is often difficult to stay in close communication with every employee. This leads to people not being heard and feeling overlooked. Constantly reminding employees that they are appreciated or noticed will help minimize that.

Another reason businesses are not using micro-rewards is due to the inconvenience it may cause. No one wants to spend time and money on something they don’t see as essential to business success. They haven’t needed to do this before, so why start now? As previously mentioned, when a business grows it becomes too cumbersome to remain in close communication with every employee. Many don’t have the ability to put someone in charge of managing all of that. It is a lot of work to balance how much an employee is getting, how often, how much the business overall is giving to all the employees and so much more.

It is not as simple as just giving something away every so often. Employees have different day to day tasks, goals and etc. Whoever oversees handing out the micro rewards would not only need to set the goals for each employee but also track that they hit them on time. This would result in a lot of hours of work to make sure this was done properly. With multiple micro-rewards, it can get confusing very quickly. This can have business owners feeling like it is more work than it is worth.

However, what if there was a software to help manage all of this? A tool created to solve just this problem for businesses.

Gamification Software for Employee Engagement

This is where an employee workplace gamification & business intelligence platform can help. A software dedicated to fixing the problem that every business faces. No longer do employees need to feel like they are not valued. ZIZO was created for the purpose of helping not only businesses but the people who help keep the business going. ZIZO’s gamification components incentivize staff by rewarding them for achieving daily, weekly, and monthly goals and foster a culture of transparency and accountability.

Instead of just letting employees know via email what the goals are, why not turn it into something fun that they can look forward to? ZIZO gives managers the ability to create Contests and Tournaments based on specific KPI’s. 1v1, collaborative goals, team competitions and battle royale tournaments make achieving goals fun and engaging. Employees are challenged to hit targets, and in return, they earn Z Coins and Z Bucks that have real monetary value and can be cashed in for rewards like office perks or merchandise. With all of this in one dashboard it makes managing very easy!

High attrition rates are often due to employees feeling as if they don’t have a future in their current roles. When there is no defined career path, employees aren’t entirely sure what achievement means and how it will impact them. With ZIZO’s rank and level system, employees can see exactly where they are headed, how to get there, and what awaits them at the top.

Because it is bidirectional, they also know they need to continue performing if they want to continue climbing the ladder. Everyone can see the performance of their coworkers and how they match up. If an employee goes the extra mile, they will be rewarded for it right away. Management will see that they exceeded expectations and will have an opportunity to thank them within minutes.

Boost The Bottom Line With Micro-Rewards

In an interview CEO of ZIZO Jimmy Chabat said,

“Be agile. This has been the most crucial lesson I’ve learned across all of my business ventures. …, a great company is one that grows, leads, innovates and adapts. Agility is the trait which allows a company to do all of those things.”

As you’re probably well aware, the workforce is continually changing and so should you. Some of you might be asking why should a business care about micro-rewards so much? Shouldn’t the employee just be thankful they have a job? To be honest, if employees do not feel like they are being recognized or rewarded properly they will just leave. An employee leaving results in a business losing money.

Gone are the days where employees will remain with a company for 20+ years.

If an employee does not feel appreciated, they will search elsewhere for someone who will appreciate them. With remote working becoming more popular it will open more doors for employees to find new jobs. So, keeping them happy will ensure that they do not go looking elsewhere. If an employee leaves their job, the cost to fill the position and train a new employee could be thousands of dollars, if not more. If it happens frequent enough this can cause a serious problem and lead to a lot of money being wasted.

“Today’s $46 billion market for recognition, with its focus on tenure-based programs, clearly is failing, and is out of sync with modern employment practices,” said Josh Bersin, Chief Executive Officer and President, Bersin & Associates. “This new research highlights a huge opportunity for companies to redirect existing expenditures to programs that significantly influence engagement and retention. The findings also suggest that recognition programs should align with an organization’s comprehensive performance management strategy to drive business results.”

From a business standpoint this shows the importance of a small gesture saying thank you. A few micro-rewards spread out strategically thanking an employee for all their hard work will go along way. From a money standpoint this would be a great investment for a business. Making someone feel appreciated for their work is as valuable now as it has always been.

Will Generation X Adapt to the New Way the World Works?

Will Generation X Adapt to the New Way the World Works?

Will Generation X Adapt

Defining Gen X

Gen X at Work

Gen X and Gamification

Gen X’s Adaptability

 

There’s no denying that the workforce is being taken over by Millennials and Gen Z workers. If fact, within the next five years, 75% of the workforce will be made up of members of the Millennial and Gen Z generation.

Naturally, employers have shifted their focus to these younger generations in an effort attract the best young talent. These cohorts think, work and act differently, and they expect the same from their employers. If you’ve read any of our previous blogs about Gen Z and Millennial workers, you know that companies need to enact a lot of changes to appeal to these generations. You may have even gotten the impression from our blogs that ZIZO exclusively caters to the young and tech savvy workforce.  

While ZIZO was founded partially on the basis of closing the gap between businesses and the new generational workforce – we certainly don’t want to leave anyone behind, especially not our experienced and respected Gen X fellows. 

I get questions all the time about Generation X employees and how they’ll fit into the ZIZO platform. Skeptics are concerned that the less tech-y generation won’t appreciate the gaming elements ZIZO brings to their workday. Without their participation, the success of gamification hangs in the balance. 

Personally, I don’t think it’s fair to assume someone won’t enjoy tech and gaming in their day-to-day due to their age 

 

Defining Gen X 

Generation X refers to those born between 1965 and 1980Sandwiched between two notorious generations, Gen X is often referred to as America’s ‘Middle Child’. Upon further investigation, this reference could not be truer for the middle of the road generation.  

Often referred to as ‘latch key kids’, Gen X grew up before the era of helicopter parents and participation trophies. This instilled a great deal of independence in the generation, as they’re accustomed to taking care of themselves and holding themselves accountable without outside influencers. 

In juxtaposition to their younger counterparts, Gen X hasn’t been on the internet for the majority of their lives. Daily use of tech and smart phones gained steam later in their lives, which allowed them to develop communication skills sans technology. This, in-turn, means Gen X employees are well adept at collaboration and direct, in-person communication.  

Despite their later-in-life introduction to technology, this generation remains highly involved with technology. Gen X frequently participates in social media and are extremely flexible when it comes to learning and adjusting to new technology. 

Gen X at Work 

Gen X grew up watching their predecessors grind away with long hours and workaholic tendencies, while this instilled a strong work ethic in the generation; it also created a desire to ‘live a little’. Known as the ‘work hard, play hard’ creators, we can thank Generation X for the trend shift towards work-life balance 

Although younger generations like Millennials and Gen Z are often given the credit for the demand of more amenities in the workplace, Generation X is who really deserves the thanks. Open office plans and the separation from dreary masses of cubicles began in the 90’s – when Generation X began demanding more forward-thinking work environments.  

The generation’s contribution to the workforce doesn’t stop at their demand for a less depressing work environment; Generation X brings a lot to the workplace table. 

  • They’re great communicators. Gen X professionals are notoriously direct compared to younger generations. This brings the ability to have open and honest conversations to the workplace, which in turn allows a more relaxed and transparent environment. Gen X’s strong communication skills lends them perfectly to collaboration; competency working with others is a huge asset to Generation X professionals. This skill has served them well when working on teams and is what earned the group recognition for their strong networking skills 
  • They lead. In 2019, 51% of global leadership positions were held by Generation X cohorts. This monopoly on leadership can be attributed to many factors; but perhaps the strongest is the desire to lead. As a member of the Gen X generation, I can attest to the natural need to lead and be independent. Maybe it is due to the independent nature of our childhood’s or to the unique environment we grew up in. Whatever the reason, there is no denying the group’s drive for leadership; in a global study, over half of the 18,000 Gen X participants polled reported that becoming a leader was important to them.  
  • They won’t take critics too hard. This is yet another positive attribute the Gen X can credit to their uniquely independent upbringings. Born and raised before helicopter parents and participation trophies, Gen X doesn’t expect unnecessary nicetiesWhile their younger counterparts often lose sleep over a harsh remark or criticism at work, Generation X professionals embrace the same feedback as a means to improve.  
  • They’re more tech-y than they get credit for. While internet wasn’t a major deal during the developing years of Generation X, most Gen X professionals used it regularly early on in their careers. The use of technology isn’t necessarily innate for Gen Xers, but they were at the forefront of the movement from paper to digital, forcing adaptability and quick mastery of technology. Gen X are very active streaming, using email and even on social media; in fact, almost half report spending over an hour a day on their smart phone.  

Gen X and Gamification 

So by now we know that the inflexible and traditional Gen Xer is a myth, but gaming? That might just be too immature for a workforce over 40. The data tells us that this is yet another myth.  

In fact, 46% of Gen Xers polled reported playing online games at least on a weekly basis. In addition, Generation X are the original creators of the entire movement! The internet was created by Generation X, why would it be too ‘young’ for us?  

Gen X’s Adaptability  

As frequently mentioned throughout the article, we know that Gen X has a faulty reputation for being unwilling to adapt. Generation X is often lumped into Baby Boomer’s hesitation to interact with technology and adjust with the times; let’s put an end to that myth today.  

When I’m once again asked the inevitable question about older employees resisting ZIZO, I think I can confidently respond that Gen X won’t have a problem adapting to a better way to work. At this point, I’m sure you don’t need me to remind you yet again that members of Gen X have lived through many major transitions in our world. The generation is one of the most adaptable and neutral groups in the workforce, so no, I don’t think they’ll be a squeaky wheel when ZIZO arrives on their desks.  

Employee Engagement Strategies With Gamification of the Workplace

Employee Engagement Strategies With Gamification of the Workplace

gamification of the workplace

Do Your Employee Engagement Strategies Include Gamification of the Workplace?

Over the last six months, business operations have undergone an unprecedented transformation.  Employees are no longer commuting to their workplaces.  They aren’t collaborating in real life, sitting at cubicles or meeting in conference rooms.  There are no working lunches, and no office happy hours.  At least, not in real life.

Instead, employees are working from home.  They are at kitchen tables and make-shift desks, with spouses and children sharing the space.  Happy hour may happen, but it is through a Zoom call.  Business may be conducted in pajamas, via video conference.  There are new stresses, different challenges, and an unpredictable landscape ahead.  

For managers and business owners, coming up with employee engagement strategies may be more difficult than ever.  And where your bottom line is concerned—that is a major problem.  Happy, engaged employees are productive employees, ultimately bolstering the success of a business.   

It has been proven that without a widespread employee engagement strategy, businesses won’t thrive. Even before COVID-19, research showed that 70% of business transformation efforts failed due to lack of employee engagement. (Forbes.com)  In an era where change and evolution in the digital landscape is happening at breakneck speeds, it is more important than ever that businesses find ways to engage employees and promote a culture of motivation, satisfaction and positivity. 

Employees that are happy in their work environment are 5x more likely to stay, and at a time when the business sphere is shifting daily, employee retention is more important than ever.   

How, then, do we keep remote and displaced employees engaged in their roles, and invested in the companies they work for?  With everything that has been thrown our way in 2020, employee motivation has taken on a whole new dimension.   

Hello Gamification of the Workplace, Goodbye unengaged workers.

In an effort to boost morale and employee engagement and motivation, companies across the globe are looking for creative ways to keep their workforce engaged.  This is where gamification software comes inDon’t be fooled here– gamification is NOT turning work into a game. Rather, it is the process of utilizing game-based elements like scoring, rewards and competition to encourage employees to actively engage in their work. 

Gamification lets your employees see, in a fun way, how they compare with their peers when it comes to working towards goals, and gives them that insight in real time, rather than having to wait until the annual performance review. They can participate in a transparent way, with targets that can be measured, and receive feedback from senior management at the same time. 

Additionally, gamification gives managers and owners important data and feedback that can help them support their staff, identify potential, grow talent, and make important business decisions.   

 

Why Does Gamification of the Workplace Boost Employee Engagement? 

 Gamification ultimately plays on the psychology that drives human engagement.  It isn’t just a gimmick—it triggers real and true human emotion like intrigue, competitiveness, happiness and gratification.  People, by nature, like to be in charge of their own destiny, and gamification allows them to do that in multiple ways.  Whether it is through leveling up and advancing on a leaderboard, or producing stats that will help managers identify them as workplace standouts, their success is there for the taking.   

Even more importantly, research has demonstrated that employees really want to know that what they are accomplishing in the workplace matters.  Gamification software allows employees to receive real-time feedback that motivates and encourages them.  Things like competition, points, rewards, achievements, rules of play, self-expression and status are leveraged to give employees the feedback that all of us humans seek. 

Another point to consider—the workforce is now comprised of Millenial and Gen Z individuals who have literally grown up with the concept of gamification.  They were introduced to digital technology at a young age, and they have been conditioned to respond to—and even expect—game mechanics in everything that they do.    

What are Game Mechanics? 

Game mechanics are the components of a game that engage and motivate the user.  In the workplace, the following mechanics are used in various combinations: 

  • Fast Feedback
  • Transparency
  • Goals
  • Badges
  • Leveling Up
  • Onboarding
  • Competition
  • Collaboration
  • Community
  • Points

How to Introduce Gamification of the Workplace Successfully

The benefits of gamification are hard to ignore. But, how do you unlock them? These corporate gamification tips are a good place to start.

  • Clearly communicate the goals and processes of the game. Whenever gamification is applied, the rules of the game should be crystal clear to all participating employees from the start. After all, no one wants to compete in an unfair race!
  • Offer desirable rewards. The rewards on offer for high achievement in gamification in the workplace need to be relevant and desirable to employees.  But prizes aren’t the only reward to consider. Every employee that emotionally engages with their work craves recognition. With ZiZo’s leaderboards, news ticker and rewards store, employees
  • Track the success of gamification in the workplace.  ZiZo makes this easy, with its business intelligence dashboards and easily trackable data.
  • Reflect on performance.  Managers can utilize the data obtained to connect with employees on both their successes and failures, and ultimately help shape longerm career paths for their team members.

In Conclusion

The world is changing, and businesses are going to have to find ways to get ahead of the curve and boost employee engagement and satisfaction.  Workplace gamification is the wave of the future, especially in our post-COVID reality, where team collaboration and connection is going to take a completely different shape.

The Psychology of Workplace Gamification

  • The Neuroscience of Psychology
  • Reticular Activating System
  • Patterns in Learning
  • Gamification of the Workplace

In my last blog <insert title link here>, I spoke a great deal about our most basic human needs. This included needs such as, certainty, variety, significance, connection, safety, esteem, and contribution. I also touched on other topics including transparent work paths, communication, growth and self-actualization. In this blog, I’d like to continue along those same lines of thought and talk a bit about some of the drivers behind our human experience and how gamification can be successful in developing our workforce.

When it comes to gamification, I think it’s safe to say that not all games are created equal. I’d venture to say the same about our perceptions as individuals. We all have our strengths and weaknesses and many times those attributes are supported solely by the personal perceptions we hold about them. I’ll venture a little further to say that the internal beliefs we have, generate emotion and it’s the emotional state of a person that governs performance in their lives, loves and livelihoods.

You’ve most likely heard it before, that our basic human motivation comes down to either moving towards pleasure or moving away from pain. Yet, haven’t we seen some people do some incredibly painful things without apparently receiving any pleasure? Why is that, and what is it that motivates their behavior? The simple answer is emotion. Emotions can either be the driving force behind our “knee-jerk” reactions, or that subtle inner voice that encourages us to grow. Then again, it can also be the voice that says we’re not good enough for so much growth… at least, not at this time. With perception being reality, we all have the capacity to launch ourselves into greatness or fall into failure with merely our thoughts and the emotions that fuel them.

The Neuroscience of Psychology

How can we move beyond the way we think and feel?

To answer that, let’s first talk a little bit about neuroscience and how the brain and mind work together. If we look at the brain as a physical organ and the mind as the operations of the brain, we can begin to see how the mind works on multiple levels with the brain. Zooming out to a 10,000 ft view, a simplified, yet helpful overview of the brain, is known as the Triune Model, (by Physician and Neuroscientist Paul D. MacLean) Here, our brain is broken down into three distinct sections that signify some of the underlying processes of the body and mind. They are:

The Paleocortex
The Limbic System
The Neocortex

(Please notice some of the natural crossovers that occur within these sections.)

Paleocortex
Zooming in, the Paleocortex or Reptilian Brain, which includes the cerebellum and brainstem, houses all of our unconscious code. This is the most ancient part of the brain which handles all autonomic body functions such as breathing, heart rate, core body temperature and orientation in space. Driven by instinct and survival, this part of the brain continues to follow the same patterns of behavior without having the capability to learn from its mistakes. Just like the CPU on a motherboard of a computer, it contains the basic coding to operate the system, but lacks the software that produces higher functionality, logic and meaning. Here our basic level of thought and desire asks questions like: Is it family, friend, or foe? Can I mate with it? Can I eat it or is it going to eat me?

Limbic System
The Limbic system is a layer of brain matter that wraps around the paleocortex and houses the emotional centers of the brain. At its most basic level, it’s a safety mechanism that deals with our fight, flight and freeze responses. This system works in conjunction with our autonomic processes to release hormones during times of stress/distress called the sympathetic nervous response. It also releases a different set of hormones in times of rest, digestion and healing, called the parasympathetic nervous response. This layer of mind bridges information between our conscious and subconscious thoughts. In order to protect the body from harm, responses from the limbic can happen so quickly, that it can completely bypass our conscious level of awareness. Just think of a time when a bee may have landed on your arm, and you quickly jerked away from it before you had any idea of what it was. So, contrary to the paleocortex, the Limbic System remembers the dangers in life (aka our traumatic experience) and stores them for recall. Our senses subconsciously scan for anything that resembles those experiences to react quickly when they are noticed.

Neocortex
The neocortex or conscious brain is the newest evolutionary part of our brain that completes the triune model. It’s typically the last to know and least informed member of the brain family. It has great difficulty in multitasking and can only process 7 (+ or – 2) events at any given time. It needs to have its focus directed to events in order to perceive them. As a brief example, look around the room and find one object that is red. When you find it, just look at it for a moment and then tell me about the air temperature, or the weight of your clothes on your skin or perhaps the weight of your bottom on your chair. You see, chances are your conscious mind was not focused on any of those things until I directed your attention to them. Yet at the same time your subconscious mind was taking in and recording over 40 million bits of information every single second. Amazing!

As a way to keep us safe and alive, a system of organelles within these sections of the brain constantly and subconsciously scan for danger. This is called the Reticular Activating System or RAS. Of the many things the RAS accomplishes, one of its main features is to filter our perceptions by bringing our focus to that which we believe to be important, dangerous or relevant to our emotional state of being. Simply put, if we are in resourceful emotional states, the RAS will bring things into focus that support that state. If we are in an unresourceful emotional state, the RAS will help us maintain that state by literally disregarding any sensory information

that conflicts with the emotion. Here’s a brief example. You’re running late for a meeting and if you don’t leave right now, you’ll not make it there on time. The problem is, you’ve misplaced your car keys. They’re not where you normally keep them, so you go running around the house frantically searching for them. You check every single room from top to bottom (knowing that they would never be in some of the places you search). You exhaust every possibility and in a moment of defeat, you walk back into the 1st room you checked, and they were sitting on top of your briefcase. Right where you put them and in plain sight so you wouldn’t forget them. Because you never put them there and expected them NOT to be there, your eyes saw them, but the RAS disregard them before sending the information to your conscious brain. This happens constantly and one of the reasons why the subconscious brain can take in 40 million bits of information a second and the conscious brain can only focus on 7 (+ or – 2) events at any given time.

The key to our conscious mind is through our focus, while the key to our subconscious mind is through our patterns. As we learn, we go through phases of focus and patterns that build our skills in life. This includes not only our abilities, but it includes our learned behaviors, beliefs, emotional patterns, and habits. The conscious mind is our focus and the subconscious is our patterns. You might want to read those last few sentences one more time. Let it sink in. Let’s move forward and talk about some of the how’s and why’s behind our learning processes.

There is so much to the inner workings of our brain than the triune model suggests. Here are a few takeaways from the above information that I’d like you to consider.

Our minds and bodies are geared for safety.
Our emotions can override our need to stay safe.
Our experience is filtered.
All learning is subconscious and happens through emotion and/or repetition.

Patterns in Learning

Allow me to ask you, do you believe you can learn any anything? Before you fully answer, have you ever studied a subject or have been presented with an idea that you just didn’t quite get? Maybe it was something that you “had” to learn, and wasn’t very excited about it, or perhaps you didn’t connect with the teaching style or delivery of information. Maybe you told yourself that it’s too difficult, or “you just can’t teach an old dog new tricks”. Well, if you tell yourself that on enough occasions, you have a great possibility in believing it to be true. But then, after a lot of hard work, studying and repetition, it finally started to come together in your head. On the other hand, haven’t you ever made a “dumb” or “embarrassing” mistake that you vowed never to repeat? Lesson learned instantly. What was the difference? The main difference between the two examples was in the emotion. Emotions tend to have an instant effect on the subconscious mind and the subconscious is where all learning takes place. Repetition also impresses upon our subconscious thoughts. There is a law in science, called The Law of Innervation. This simply means that when a nerve fiber is traversed or activated to the exclusion of others, each time this occurs it becomes easier to traverse that same path. So, think muscle memory with this at the gym. We lift a weight and focus on our form. Every time we do this, it becomes easier to get our form correct. Eventually, our body become so accustomed to the weight and form we require more weight to achieve the same amount of difficulty. The exact same thing happens with our habitual thoughts, beliefs and patterns of habit.

When it comes to learning, our goal is to focus our conscious efforts until the “muscle memory” becomes second nature or subconscious. Here are 4 steps in skill building that I’ve modified from motivational speaker, Anthony Robbins.

· Level 1: Unconsciously Unskilled/Unlearned

· Level 2: Consciously Unskilled/Unlearned

· Level 3: Consciously Skilled/Learning

· Level 4: Subconsciously Skilled/Learned

Unconsciously Unskilled/Unlearned

In level 1, we don’t know what we don’t know. We are unaware of the skills we are lacking or that we are lacking them in the 1st place. Like a baby being unaware they don’t know how to drive a car, they are simply put in and taken out of the vehicle at different places by their parents.

Consciously Unskilled/Unlearned

In level 2, we become aware of what we don’t know. Here, the young child becomes aware that they are being driven around and that they don’t know how to drive the vehicle. They are not actively learning; they just notice they do not have the ability.

Consciously Skilled/Learning

In level 3, the work begins as we consciously focus on the skill. The child, (hopefully a young adult now), begins to learn the process of driving. They are made aware of all of the strategies in traffic, parking and vehicle operation. They adjust their seats and mirrors, put their foot on the brake, turn the key, check for traffic, turn the wheel, check the mirrors again, hit the gas, all while dodging stray pedestrians and staying between the lines… Holy cow! They are so focused that they say, “Just how many things as we expected to do at any one time? Don’t talk to me or even turn that radio on, because you’re making me nervous!” But then after some time and effort as the process continues, patterns begin developing and the driver starts moving into level 4.

Subconsciously Skilled/Learned

In level 4, our focused tasks have been accomplished enough to the point where we don’t need to fully concentrate on our ability. There’s no longer the need to review steps or analyze our performance. The skill becomes engrained enough into the subconscious, that the body subconsciously responds to conditions as multitasking begins to occur. The driver checks their mirrors without being reminded. They automatically use their blinkers as they prepare to turn. (Well, some of us do.) They multi-task with the ability to have a conversation or listen to the radio as they drive. If you’ve ever driven somewhere and upon arriving realize that you can recall the last few miles, take a guess who was driving. Yup, it was your subconscious mind operating the vehicle which allowed your conscious mind to daydream, have a conversation, or ponder upon other subjects.

The largest contributors to long term learning therefore lies in the repetition of action as well as any peak emotional state. (positive or negatively charged)

Gamification of the Workplace

So, now let’s talk about gamification and tie all of these pieces together. Typically, as employers our biggest investment will always be our workforce. We spend thousands of hours and ten times that in dollars, grooming them into their desired positions. A great game will not only reduce those training numbers considerably, but it will guide the productivity of the employee, transparently track their growth, highlight a career path, and reward you both along the way. By covering all of our basic human needs a great gamification system will help to create a happy and productive workforce that has longevity and growth. Here’s how.

1. Certainty:

This human condition has to do with safety. Great gamification systems allow the user the freedom and ability of choice of engagement and their focus or direction of growth. This keeps the user in control and fosters feelings of confidence. As the user becomes better at the “game”, their growth will allow them to naturally stretch to accomplish more.

2. Variety:

When the same old thing becomes the same old thing, people want change. Adding variations in gameplay and rewards will certainly keep things from getting boring. Adding elements of surprise can guide people to move out of their comfort zones and boost their desire to achieve.

3. Significance:

This a major component to a great gamification system. It includes promoting esteem, self-esteem, self-actualization and creating and environment of team collaboration and comradery. People love to feel special and will go through great lengths to achieve it. Significance and exclusivity can be expressed in a myriad of ways during gameplay. This includes special avatars, badges, achievement rewards, trophies, etc., and including social rewards such as public congratulations, unveiling of prizes and shout-outs from team members and co-workers goes a long way in making a person feel significant.

4. Love / Connection:

Connection with others comes in many sizes and shapes. As in significance, the social aspect of connecting with your teammates and competing together toward common goals goes a long way. A great gamification model will allow users to join teams and share the rewards of their results… together.

5. Growth:

I’ve heard it said, if you’re not growing, you’re dying. How do you know if you’re growing? It’s easy provide predictable and trackable achievements. When you lay out the expectations of where a person should be in their career, it’s like creating a map with a GPS. It allows the user to see exactly where they are and where they need to go. It literally renders stopping for directions or driving in circles a thing of the past. Just ask my wife! A great gamification model will show the path, track the growth, and reward the user for it. Everybody wins!

6. Engagement:

This last condition involves many of the other conditions because the reasons for engagement are personalized by the needs of the individual. With that said, by incorporating the other elements in a gaming system on a daily basis, dopamine (the reward system of the brain) is consistently activated with the daily repetition. Patterns and good habits develop. This inspires more confidence, certainty, variety, connection, growth and contribution to the team. As the emotional state of the individual(s) increases, so too does their ability to accomplish more in less time. Firing on all cylinders, the individual’s engagement continues to increase, as growth and production of the entire workplace multiplies.

Thank you for taking the time to read this series. At ZiZo, we have taken great strides into considering and creating the best possible scenarios for engagement in workforce gamification. Coupled with some of the most extensive business intelligence and reporting available, you be able to zoom in and zoom out to see exactly what you need to know about your business, at exactly the time you need to see it. An intelligent simulation model offers you the ability to forecast the future growth of your company by adjusting key data that calculates scenarios intended to maximize your business growth. It’s Game Time!