Leveraging the Dynamics of Satisfaction, Incentives and Success in Improving Workplace Productivity

Productivity is said to be an Achilles’ heel among businesses in Israel, especially low-tech industries. For this reason, the Office of the Chief Scientist has been focusing on efforts to invest more resources and funding into research and development in these areas, with the aim of enhancing technical proficiency in order to innovate and modernize the workforce. The same case is true in any industry. Workplace productivity is the holy grail of running any business, whether big or small. Human resource departments will always find ways to enhance productivity and efficiency, utilizing all sorts of platforms, incentives and optimizations.

One trend today is the use of data-driven insights in improving productivity within the organization, be it with employees, infrastructure or other factors. When it comes to managing employees, the concept of gamification plays a big part in helping enhance productivity.

The human brain is hard-wired into finding satisfaction, and experts are seeking to leverage this in attaining organizational goals. For one, gamification has now evolved beyond the simple “play” factor, with platforms now finding ways to stimulate the human need to be rewarded with a satisfying experience.

In gist, we are only as productive as we want to achieve certain levels of satisfaction. However, gamification is not just about fun, games and leaderboards. GamEffective, an Israeli technology startup that runs a cloud-based and data-driven gamification platform for enterprises, instead touches on a deep psychological need for humans to attain satisfaction. The platform acts more like an activity tracker for work, and is not just a points and badges generator with mindless leaderboards.

Gamification and Personality Types

No two people are alike, and motivations for success are variable. With this in mind, gamification will also need to address the needs of different personality types. The gamification process can be adjusted to develop a game that targets players by their personality, playing on psychological aspects of their lives to make the game more enticing to play.

Traditionally speaking, there are four types of gamers: Achievers, Explorers, Socializers, and Killers. Each one of these types can have successful games in either a single-player or multi-player setup.


These players are those who want to gain — be it through points, levels, and other clear measurements of success throughout a game. These players will work hard to achieve the rewards, even if they offer no gameplay benefit, simply because they want the joy of having them.

Games that must be “beaten” in some way appeal to the achiever because it gives them an end goal to strive for. Add extra appeal by providing alternative endings or other bonuses for achieving a 100% completion rate.

Multiplayer games appeal to the Achiever because they have a way to show off their success or status to other players. They either love or hate the competition from other achievers, and often turn to Socializers for praise.


These players are known for their tendency to dig around, because they love discovering areas. They want to find hidden gems, glitches, etc. They tend to dislike games that expect them to move on within a certain period of time, because they don’t have time to explore and discover.

Gaining levels or points is only secondary to the explorer. They are drawn to games that require puzzle or problem solving to work their way out of a mysterious place. These players immerse themselves in the backstory, and retain memories about what they experienced in their adventures, whereas the Achiever will usually beat the game and move on to the next one.

Explorers enjoy restrictive games as well as permissive ones. They also enjoy a multiplayer environment because they are surrounded by people they can share their wisdom with. They often find other explorers and can share their experiences with them and socializers as well.


Socializers are those who choose to play games for their social aspect rather than the game itself. They get the most enjoyment by interacting with other players and the occasional computer-controlled character with a personality. They use the game as a tool to meet others. Because the object of the game is socialization for the socializer, they typically do not enjoy single player games, unless they can use their experience in the game to communicate with others who have played as well.

Playing games online is appealing to a socializer because it provides nearly limitless potential to develop new relationships. They use these games to meet new people and get to know them better through either private messages or voice chat.


Killers are those who thrive on competition with other players. They prefer competing directly with other players rather than computer-controlled opponents. In terms of the single player environment, they enjoy action games where they can destroy the environment. Sandbox games where they can directly build or destroy their virtual society are also appealing.

Multiplayer game environments are ideal for the killer because they’re in it for sport. They have a friendly competitive spirit. Some killers however, are more about the power and hurting other players in a multi-player environment.

Which Industries are Best Suited to Gamification?

Nearly any industry can benefit from gamification. Because it can be used for motivating employees, enhancing training, and in boosting overall employee engagement, gamified platforms have several practical applications. It can also be used to increase customer engagement, as well.

For example, Bluewolf used internal gamification to engage their employees to actively build the brand. With its #GoingSocial program, and a variety of incentives which offered points and rewards for both external and internal collaboration. Employees earned points through various tasks such publishing a blog post on the company blog and earning a Klout score of 50 or higher. The company thus ended up with a more robust social presence, which in turn increased  customer engagement and keeps employees invested in the company.

Gamification goes beyond employees, however. Business can even involve customers. Verizon Wireless created the Verizon Insider program in an effort to increase customer loyalty and engagements. In their community hub, users were able to get exclusive offers, participate in events online and in the real world, and engage with the community through various interactions to earn points. By becoming more personal and interactive while also rewarding users for becoming involved, Verizon was able to amplify their branding recognition and drive loyalty.

The advantages of a gamified environment go beyond business. Israel’s own IDF has utilized gamification in promoting patriotism through the IDF Ranks campaign. While the effort did have some criticisms, it remains that a gamified environment can bolster real-world effects like enhancing productivity or improving sentiment.

Individual vs. Team Gamification

Team incentives work better because we are more hardwired to take them seriously. While the majority of companies focus on personal incentives that give bonuses as your work better, research indicates the opposite is more effective.

Team incentives work better because people crave social acceptance and gratitude, and are equally motivated by our fear of social pressure. However, the team incentives must be provided in a transparent environment so that everyone knows how everyone else is doing. Without this, a business cannot appropriately harness the power of social gratitude in the fear of social pressure. Without being able to tell which team member worked hard or which team member wasn’t pulling their weight, the social constructs that transforms behaviors will not work.


having all work and no play will result in the risk of burnout. Rather, success at work should not based on the amount of time you work, but rather the quality of output. And because the quality of your work is highly dependent on workers’ well-being, ensuring  employee happiness through play is one of the best things you can do to enhance productivity and encourage innovation.

About the Author
Co-Founder of Oribi (Acquired by LinkedIn) and Founder of Brainye
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