Best Practices for Enterprise Gamification

By Marta Rauch | Associate Fellow

Enterprise gamification is one of the major software trends of the 21st century. Gamification expert Rajat Paharia calls it “Loyalty 3.0.” Using techniques borrowed from software games, gamification can be used to drive behavior in situations outside of games.

Opportunities for Technical Communicators

Enterprises of all sizes and in many industries are ramping up on products, communities, and processes based on gamification principles. The market for gamification has enjoyed dramatic growth, and is predicted to reach $10.02 billion by 2020 (PRNewswire).

By increasing engagement, motivation, and loyalty, gamification can help enterprises achieve business needs (Enterprise Gamification Facts & Figures), such as:

  • Spurring innovation
  • Engaging internal and external communities
  • Motivating and retaining employees
  • Meeting customer expectations
  • Increasing loyalty

In a survey by market research firm M2, gamification vendors reported that 47% of client implementations supported user engagement, with brand loyalty accounting for 22% and brand awareness for 15% of implementations (M2 Research Press Release). Technical communicators can help their companies succeed by implementing or assisting with gamification projects that follow best practices.

Best Practices for Gamification Projects

To start a gamification project off right, begin by creating a plan. First, define the business need and develop metrics to measure success.

Next, understand your target “players” and learn what motivates them. One source of information is sales, marketing, product management, or user experience teams at your company.

You can then define target behaviors and show how gamification will be used to motivate those behaviors. Sample techniques:

  • Game dynamics, such as scenarios and rules
  • Game mechanics to help players achieve goals, such as teams, competitions, rewards, feedback, and sharing
  • Game components to track players’ progress, such as quests, points, levels, badges, and collections

Design appropriate onboarding for novices, and adapt players’ journeys as they gain expertise. Keep players interested and motivated throughout all levels of the game, from beginner, to intermediate, to expert. Plan the duration of the project.

You can then define your tools, teams, budget, project plan, milestones, testing, and implementation.

After you get buy-in on your plan, start building the system. Create prototypes, schedule play testing, and iterate the design based on player feedback.

Finally, implement your project and collect metrics to assess how it meets business needs. When you reach your goal, be sure to communicate results and share the success of the project.

As you design and implement your project, you may want to get input from experts or collaborate with consultants. Find useful gamification resources at Gamification.co (www .gamification.co). The Engagement Alliance (engagementalliance .org) oversees industry certification for gamification designers.

Using a Gamification Design Framework

To help your project succeed, follow the six steps of Kevin Werbach’s Gamification Design Framework. The framework is described in his book, For The Win: How Game Thinking Can Revolutionize Your Business and his gamification course through Coursera and The Wharton School (www.coursera.org/course/gamification). The framework is included here with permission.

  1. Define business objectives.
    • Why are you gamifying?
    • How will this benefit your business?
    • What are your objectives?
    • What metrics will measure success?
    • What will players do?
    • How does this align with your objectives?
    • How will you measure success?
  2. Describe your players.
    • Who will participate?
    • What motivates them?
  3. Delineate target behaviors.
    • What will your players do in your gamified activity?
    • What game elements will be effective?
  4. Devise your activity loops.
    • How will you onboard new players?
    • How will players progress in your system?
    • What type of feedback will you provide?
    • How will you keep experienced players motivated?
    • Define the goal and rules of your gamified system.
    • Introduce strategy and tactics.

Here are some helpful resources from Game Designer Amy Jo Kim:

  1. Don’t forget the fun.
    • Will players enjoy your gamified system?
    • Get feedback.
  2. Deploy the appropriate tools.
    • Will you use a website, mobile app, or social network?
    • Establish if you will use intrinsic or extrinsic rewards.
    • Determine if you will develop in house or hire a vendor.
    • Map out testing and deployment.
    • Know how you will measure your project’s success.

Incorporate the best practices described here to ensure a successful game plan. A winning gamification project can motivate and engage employees and customers to help your company succeed.

Marta Rauch is certified by the Gamification Alliance as a gamification designer. She has worked at two game companies, participates in gamification initiatives as a senior principal information developer at Oracle, and completed a gamification course taught by Kevin Werbach of the Wharton School and Coursera. Marta publishes articles on gamification and shares best practices at conferences, webinars, and workshops. An STC Associate Fellow, a member of the Nominating Committee, and vice president of the Silicon Valley Chapter, she judges STC international awards, reviews Summit proposals, and has received 15 awards for her content at the regional and international level. A member of ACM, IEEE, and CIDM, Marta holds a BA from Stanford University, a teaching credential, and a certificate from the University of California.


Enterprise Gamification Facts & Figures, www.enterprise-gamification.com/mediawiki/index.php?title=Facts_%26_Figures.

M2 Research Press Release, www.m2research.com/gamification.htm.

Paharia, Rajat. Loyalty 3.0: How to Revolutionize Customer and Employee Engagement with Big Data and Gamification, www.amazon.com/Loyalty-3-0-Revolutionize-Engagement-Gamification/dp/0071813373.

PRNewswire, www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/gamification-companies-solutions-market-outlook-and-forecasts-2015-2020—gamification-growth-to-reach-1002-billion-by-2020-300040389.html.

Werbach, Kevin, and Dan Hunter. For The Win: How Game Thinking Can Revolutionize Your Business, http://wdp.wharton.upenn.edu/books/for-the-win/.