How Games Can
Organization’s Change Readiness
A company wanted to roll out a new system across their organization that touched everyone, changing the tools they used and the processes they followed to complete their tasks. This would fundamentally change the roles of many employees. Yet, after a year of attempting to engage people in the change, when the system went live, no one knew what they were doing. People were frustrated, fed up, and unproductive. The rollout failed.
This story probably feels eerily familiar. Maybe you’ve experienced something similar firsthand, or someone you know has. There’s really no getting around it: change is hard. That’s especially true when the success of your business depends on successfully rolling out change across an organization and making sure everyone is ready by go live.
In a recent webinar, I spoke with TiER1ers Dustin Shell and Rich Marmura about this challenge. (Check out the recording.) We’ve analyzed the barriers to change and the various touchpoints between an organization and an individual on their journey to readiness. And we’ve discovered a way to successfully roll out a change and make organizational readiness fun and measurable.
The answer? Gamify change adoption.
Pairing social game mechanics with change management best practices and behavioral science can lead to a fun, measurable, and integrated approach that gamifies change adoption and organizational readiness. What we’ve learned from gamifying change is organizations can use five design principles to inspire change in their people.
- Make it relevant to your audience.
- Make it an experience that fits into the performer’s life.
- Make it optional with rewards that matter.
- Make it competitive to create community.
- Make it measurable to quantify readiness.
There’s a lot of noise and content in the workplace. Cutting through all that noise is tricky but necessary for inspiring to participate. The trick is to make the desired change relevant to your people’s interests, goals, and responsibilities.
Infusing learning with game design tactics pulls people toward your message. Inviting people to participate and providing them with choices gives them ownership over their journey and the overall narrative. When people want to participate because they see the importance and feel the relevance to their lives, engagement soars.
Most employees juggle jobs, families, and other responsibilities. At work and beyond, they spend their time on tasks and activities that fit into their lives, and ignore ones that don’t.
By following game design principles, you can craft accessible experiences that make it easier for people to engage in change. Break down large tasks into digestible experiences that are short, easy to absorb, and crafted to fit someone’s learning style and work environment. (Bonus points for also providing people with opportunities to practice the desired behaviors.)
Change can bring about negative emotions. People may feel out of control, uneasy, and overwhelmed with the new skills and tasks to manage.
A gameful way to alleviate those feelings is creating a voluntary experience that people want to be part of, then rewarding people for participating in different ways. Tailoring rewards to people’s preferences engages different types of people in the organization. Motivate ambitious employees with leaderboards and friendly competitions; checklists and daily challenges to complete are perfect motivators for people who love crossing things off their to-do list.
Change can be an isolating experience. Yet successful change requires an entire community to work together toward a common end goal.
Incorporating competitive and collaborative game mechanics helps create a social community that alleviates fears and provides a support system for people to learn from. It can also facilitate conversations with management around the behavior change. Incorporate team-based competition and leaderboards so that teams depend on each other to win and succeed.
Worried whether everyone is really adopting the change? Take a cue from game designers and incorporate real-time data to gain immediate visibility into your organizational adoption rate.
Comparing the progress of one business unit to another lets teams adjust their efforts as needed. It can also spotlight individuals who are truly championing the effort. Plus, when leaders can pinpoint readiness and engagement levels across the organization, they can mitigate potential performance issues.
Quantifying organizational readiness builds confidence that everyone will be ready for the big day. Make everyone’s progress toward readiness visible and personal to motivate people to work toward the end goal.
Have questions about gamifying change? Give us a call at (859) 415-1000 or drop us a line in the form at the bottom of this page and we’ll put you in touch with Caitlin.