Every two weeks we bring you opinion, news and research on Employee Engagement, Leadership and Organisational Performance, along with some thoughts on practical workplace applications.

Editorial: Is Gamification Really Effective in Employee Engagement?

An article published HR Zone this week proposes that “if you’ve got a serious engagement issue… you could try making a game of it.” The article goes on to consider how ‘gamification’ is becoming big business and has the potential to be used in engagement initiatives. You can read the article here.

‘Gamification’ is about applying elements of gameplay (points, escalating rewards, friendly competition, encouraging collaboration, etc.) to how you conduct business; many organisations have seen positive results from doing so. In essence, gamification works because the reward centre of the brain’s amygdala is stimulated as challenges increase and bring greater rewards; in turn, this causes satisfaction which leads to acceptance of more challenges and rewards, and so it continues.

So if it works so well at this physiological level as well as being commercially valuable, why are we instinctively cautious about it?

The answer is simple: Gamification, of itself, won’t produce higher engagement; it is simply a tool which, if not used wisely, can be a distraction. Let’s not lose sight of the need for engagement activity to be ‘done’ all day, every day in every work place. Yes, of course, let’s introduce goals and give rewards when they are met (and yes, let’s make a game of it!) but let us not be distracted from what will bring real, sustainable engagement –  every employee choosing to be engaged, which is most likely when every manager (from first-line supervisors to board-room executives) behaves consistently as an ‘employee engager.’

Gamification? Perhaps. But our business remains focused on ‘Engagification’!

Steve Short – Emenex

Blog: Maximising the Return on our Most Valuable Assets

Expected to be the Royal Navy’s flagship for the next 50 years, the 65,000-tonne aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth, sailed into Portsmouth Harbour having successfully completed its first set of sea trials.

Costing £3.1Bn HMS Queen Elizabeth will require a significant change in the way that the Navy operates in order to capitalise fully on the capabilities that they now have in the most advanced aircraft carrier built.

The new technologies and equipment will not only require significant changes in processes and procedures but, most importantly, changes to the way that its approximately 700 crew members approach their work and respond to situations as they arise in peacetime and during conflict situations.  Read more.

Alistair Aitchison – Emenex

The Tech Industry Is Getting Very People and Culture Focused, Here’s Why

The truth is, if you’re after things like tip top business performance and productivity, you’re going to have to take care of your people first. Some companies have had to learn this the hard way, but they are learning claims Iris Leung for Forbes.

It points out that 82% of those surveyed by the report think that “culture is a potential competitive advantage,” and will directly impact things like how the business performs, the quality of customer service, how engaged employees are, and how long people decide to stay with the company.

Leung provides more contemporary evidence in her piece here, including two case studies.

Bold Leaders: Reviewing The Gender Gap In Employee Engagement

When asked why they had chosen to attend a presentation on Bold Leadership, four different women mentioned they had come to the session because they had received feedback that they were “too bold.”  Is being bold a good thing – and what’s its impact upon employee engagement; especially for women, asks Joseph Folkman for Forbes?

Citing his research in to behaviours, he provides recommendations here for woman for closing the engagement gap he observes in industry.

Opinion: Financial Education Makes Good Business Sense

Helping employees to better manage their finances could lead to a happier and more engaged workforce, says Alan Morahan for People Management
There probably isn’t an HR professional out there who doesn’t recognise that financial stress is a growing workplace problem. Research tells us it can not only affect a person’s productivity, but also contribute to higher absence levels.

The scale of the issue was highlighted in a recent report by the CIPD, Financial wellbeing: the employee view, in which one in four workers claimed that money worries affected their ability to do their job.

For younger employees the situation is even worse, with a third of those aged between 25 and 34 saying money worries have affected their work. But what can companies do to ease this growing problem? Quite a lot actually; the full story here.

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