(This interview was originally published on Ragan Communications web site)
Can you spot the differences between these two statements?
1. “You’re required to create three videos a month.”
2. “If you make the effort to create three videos each month, you’ll get your own video equipment and software to use for free. Not only that, we’ll recognize you as a leader in the company.”
It’s like night and day, isn’t it? According to Paolo Tosolini, director of emerging media at Run Studios, all it takes is a little incentive—a little bit of making video production into a game—to get employees excited about bringing their expertise to their company’s video messaging. It’s a good way to get employees to watch important videos, as well.
The three mechanics
Gamification, when it comes to employee video, isn’t just about rewards, Tosolini says, though those can be an incentive. It’s about understanding what employees want to get out of going the extra mile.
With that in mind, Tosolini lists three mechanics that a video program with gamification elements can have to get employees excited:
1. Game mechanics, which reward behaviors that you want from your employees and which help accomplish business goals, such as finishing up training modules within a certain amount of time.
2. Reputation mechanics, which elevate the statuses of people within your culture using badges, levels, leaderboards, and other methods of displaying accomplishments.
3. Social mechanics, which enable sharing, recommending, and notifying colleagues of positive behaviors.
These three mechanics work together, Tosolini says, to make a program mutually beneficial. Employees get rewards and recognition, and more videos get produced.
If one department is producing every video a company makes, that company isn’t using all its resources, Tosolini says. “Knowledge really resides among employees,” he says.
Beyond that, delegating video production to employees generates a slew of ideas and keeps costs fairly low, particularly if employees use their own equipment, such as smartphones.
“You could run contests,” Tosolini suggests. “For example, the company SAP decided to run a contest for their 40th anniversary to crowdsource the best songs to celebrate their anniversary.”
Enterprising employees submitted about 200 videos featuring 1,000 employees from all over the world, he says.
Qualcomm “created a montage of the videos and used it as the kickoff video for their company meeting,” Tosolini says. That montage was included in the company’s entry into the Great Place to Work competition as well. Qualcomm ranked No. 11 this year.
Qualcomm didn’t even offer any big prizes that Tosolini knows of. The reward was the intrinsic motivation of employees making their voices heard and boosting their reputations, he says.
“If you’re running an employee-generated program, you want to make sure that those who participate become your heroes.”
Even so, prizes can be good, too. A program that Tosolini ran at Microsoft, titled “Academy Rewards,” enabled employees to win all sorts of goodies, such as laptops and phones, by trading in accrued points.
“The idea was that, if you create content, videos, we are going to assign you points,” Tosolini says. “We also want you, the employee who created the content, to tell everybody else you did it. By becoming your own marketer, you’re going to get more points, because for every view of your video, you will get additional points.”
Tosolini says companies can use similar elements—badges, points, etc.—to get people to watch a video or series of videos. He used a hypothetical software company that was upping its output as an example.
“How do you train your sales force to get up to speed quicker on your product?” Tosolini asks. “You need to invent some sort of mechanism for them to get their training more often.”
What was a chore now becomes something people want to do.
“It’s not just gamification here,” he says. “It’s smart use of corporate resources to stimulate employees to go the extra mile to accomplish a business objective.”