Millennials the world over are proving difficult to contend with as employees. This tech-savvy generation is generally flightier than others before, but not out of disloyalty. They’re just easily bored, and expect their work to have meaning and to be fun. They like to share their activities and see what others are up to, as their prolific posting on social media demonstrates.
Having to show up to work every day to sit at a cubicle and work through a list of tasks, crossing each one off as they go, but not having a sense of the bigger picture, is probably a millennial’s idea of hell.
But, this is how many businesses are set up, necessarily so. Employees are assigned individual tasks to complete within work streams. Interdependencies exist between tasks and no one person performs all the tasks in the work stream. The set-up allows employees to become specialists at their assigned tasks and to work more efficiently.
At least, it used to, until the millennial generation began to enter the workplace.
In SA and many other countries that have a disproportionately larger young population, people born between the early 1980s and the start of the new millennium now make up a majority of the workforce. Companies that have not recognised or responded to what this demographic shift means are finding themselves dealing with higher staff turnover, falling productivity and demotivated employees.
Those that have recognised the need to respond have probably considered gamification. And those that have instituted it correctly are testifying to the benefits, such as greater productivity and higher staff retention rates.
The term gamification is easy to understand. It is the application of game-design principles in non-gaming contexts, such as the workplace. This entails more than just overlaying the tasks employees perform with slick interfaces, animated buttons and characters to control. That all matters.