Stuart Gentle Publisher at Onrec

Businesses should embrace gamification to enhance workforce engagement in the back office, says eg solutions

The back office is likely to see a rapid change in the next few years thanks to the greater use of gamification in enhancing many line-of-business apps. With the blurring of lines between consumer and business technologies, many back office applications need to develop a softer tone to encourage users to engage more and help increase productivity. According to eg solutions, pioneers in back office workforce optimisation software; gamification can help businesses boost employee engagement and retain a new generation of workers.

The majority of line-of-business apps have been designed from a transactional perspective to be very good at capturing information for record purposes. In the consumer space however, apps have been designed for and are based on user engagement. Business applications are designed to be very good functionally, but their engagement aspects leave a lot to be desired.  The same users of these applications are often users of community applications, such as Facebook and Twitter, designed to encourage on going use.

With the gamification market expected to reach $5.5billion by 2018, many employers are looking at how to increase engagement and efficiency rates of back office employees. The increase in millennials in the workforce – expected to be 75% by 2025 – is likely to further increase the demand for engaging line-of-business apps, similar to those used in their personal time.

“Millennials, and to a lesser extent Baby Boomers and Generation X, are used to using very engaging apps on their phones and laptops and certainly for millennials they have been doing this for a very long time, almost to the point where it has become innate,” says Phil Jones, CTO, eg solutions. “Many line-of-business apps are very formal, structured and do not allow users the freedom to express themselves in a way that they are used to with applications they are using on their personal devices. We are seeing a disconnect that is causing business applications to fall short. In order to see a greater engagement with business apps, we need to take a look at the user interface and how users interact with applications in order to make the whole experience richer and more engaging.

Gamification isn’t particularly about games; it’s more about engaging users. In the business world, our applications are aimed at business audiences, to optimise the performance of people. This requires the users to capture what they are doing in a quite structured manner. What we need to do is make the users’ experience more enjoyable and engaging without compromising the core capabilities that our applications require,” continues Jones.

Gamification has been proven to increase the productivity rates of users by as much as 79%. According to Gallup’s 2012 international workplace study of 1.4 million workers, employee engagement and productivity are inextricably linked. By using apps that engage users but also ensures that they producing good quality work benefits both back office staff and their clients.