How do we keep our workforce engaged? While the occasional pizza lunch or holiday party might have some effect, some companies are now looking at warehouse gamification as the answer.
The Rise of Gamification
Without people realizing it, gamification is everywhere – from people using Fitbits and Strava to track health-related goals, Starbucks’ gamified loyalty program, Amazon’s FC games that allows employees to win virtual pets as a reward for productivity, and now we’re seeing warehouse technology providers like Körber investing a lot of energy into this concept with Vaibe.
But does gamification live up to its growing reputation in the supply chain space?
- Real-time Performance Feedback: Gamification enables the sharing of individual performance data in real time. Whether through handheld devices or displays in breakrooms, employees can receive immediate feedback on their performance and how they compare to established standards.
- Benchmarking Labor Engagement: Gamification offers a way to benchmark labor engagement in today’s supply chains. By utilizing digital tools like badges or leaderboards, organizations can recognize individual achievements and foster team efforts.
- Increased Motivation and Productivity: Setting targets, introducing competition, and offering rewards not only boost employee motivation and drive productivity but also reduces idle time. Employees are more engaged, focused, and efficient in their tasks.
- Faster Onboarding: Gamification can expedite the onboarding process for new employees by providing interactive training modules and simulations.
- Improved Retention Rates: The supply chain industry has long struggled with retention due to demanding and/or manual work. Gamification can incentivize warehouse labor and improve retention rates by making work more engaging and rewarding.
- New Processes and Technologies: Implementing game mechanics might require changes to processes or technologies, which can pose challenges due to limited resources or budget constraints. It also requires strong warehouse data fundamentals and processes, alongside technical expertise as it needs to be tightly integrated with WMS systems, for example.
- Mandated Play vs. Voluntary Engagement: Mandating play on otherwise mundane tasks can lead to resistance from employees. Games are inherently voluntary, and trying to make them mandatory can reduce the effectiveness of the approach.
- Risk of Cheating and Internal Competition: Gamification tied to job performance and rewards may tempt employees to cheat or act unethically to exploit system loopholes.
- Diminished Motivation Over Time: The novelty of gamified elements like badges, leaderboards, and challenges may wear off over time, potentially diminishing employee motivation. Continual variety and novelty are needed to sustain engagement.
Is gamification here to stay? Sure. Should it be made a priority for your business? It depends. While it has gained popularity, its real effectiveness remains a topic of debate. What I can say definitively is before reaping the full benefits of gamification, make sure to get your basics down.
Your warehouse needs to have the necessary tools in place to gather accurate data. Without a solid foundation, the numbers from your gamification program won’t provide meaningful insights. Also, making improvements to your internal processes and technologies and enabling your business to make enlightened decisions based on accurate data will surpass the benefits of gamification, almost every time.