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Travel and Expense Management

An Introduction to Gamification for Business

Rocketrip cuts a company's travel expenses by motivating employees to spend less on their business trips. By aligning employee and employer interests, we help make cost control a win-win. As the first incentives-based travel management platform, Rocketrip is often mentioned in the wider context of "gamified" enterprise systems. It's an imperfect association, because the truth is that gamification for business is widely discussed but little understood.

That's why we hosted a webinar on what makes gamification work in the workplace. Rocketrip's CEO Dan Ruch discussed why past efforts at gamification have fallen short, explained how insights from behavioral science are leading to a new approach, and showed examples of companies that have significantly reduced their expenses by motivating employees to spend smart.

You can see the presentation here!

Defining Gamification

What does the term “business gamification” mean to you?

Is it a fancy way to describe Monopoly? An innovative way to make routine work processes more fun and rewarding? A supposedly innovative way for businesses to engage with employees that has overpromised and underdelivered?

Gamification can be defined as the application of game playing elements such as point scoring, competition, and rules of play to other activities in attempts to improve productivity, engagement, learning, or satisfaction.

Sounds good, right? But anyone who’s ever played Monopoly knows something that sounds good in theory can go wrong in practice: friendships get tested, whole afternoons are consumed by arguments about plastic hotels. Before you know it, someone’s knocked over the board and you’re left looking for answers.

The same is true of gamification in the workplace. The objectives are worthwhile – increasing productivity, decreasing spending, improving employee satisfaction – and the methods for achieving them seem like a smart alternative to old-fashioned approaches to employee engagement that rely on pay and HR regulations alone. However, without the right incentive structure, gamification systems can become nothing more than a set of bells and whistles. At best, this type of gamification is ineffective. At worst, it's distracting and confusing for employees.

Incentives Matter

Gamification has come to mean everything and nothing. There’s no shortage of consumer applications that have been cited as models for enterprise gamification. Within the “F’s” alone there's Fitbit, Foursquare, and FarmVille. However, what works well in one context won’t necessarily in another.&

The rules of the game need to be adapted to the specific use case. Whether it’s encouraging lower travel spending or improving response times for customer support representatives, enterprise gamification attempts to drive meaningful, voluntary shifts in employee behavior. This means employees have to find it worthwhile to play the game. Soft forms of motivation - a fun interface, points, badges, leaderboard rankings - aren’t enough. To have real results, gamification has to offer employees real value.

If you'd like to learn more about effective strategies for employee engagement, be sure to check out Rocketrip's webinar, Gamification That Actually Works.

All Tags: Travel Policy, Travel and Expense Management

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