Tag Archives: workplace efficiency

Is Your Business Ready for Gamification?

Are you and your business ready for gamification?

gamificationAs you probably already know, gamification is the latest hype in the business world, with companies ‘gamifying’ everything from order forms to customer reward systems. But before you jump on the band wagon, it is advisable that you take the time to understand what it means and what it could do to improve your business and help you reach your goals.

Although it can be a useful tool, it is not necessarily right for every business. By the time you finish reading this, you should be fairly certain about whether or not your business is ready for this new trend.

What is Gamification?

Gamification uses the same techniques as video games, in order to engage an audience. It has the potential to change a routine or boring task into a creative or at least passable activity, which is why some businesses use it as a motivational tool for employees or customers.

Companies have found that gamification can be used in their marketing campaigns, as a way to increase traffic to their websites, get feedback or even get employees to complete tasks that would otherwise be undesirable.

Google recently found a way to gamify the routine activity of reading news articles by awarding readers with badges based on the specific topics they read about each day. Users can also choose to share their badges with other Google+ users, which brings an element of social pressure into the picture.

Another interesting example of how gamification has been used in the business world is the Finnish National Library, which uses an online game to get volunteers to help update the library’s online e-archives.

Does Your Business Need It?

If you think you would like to start using gamification techniques in your business, you should first ask yourself what you are looking to accomplish by doing so. Are you just following along with the trends or do you have a clear end goal?

Gamification is not just about awarding points and prizes or creating a fun atmosphere to work in. Although these things can be beneficial to your company, you should learn how to gamify your product or service in a more complete way, to engage and collaborate with other users.

When you can’t identify a clear reason for gamifying your products, or you can’t see how it would benefit your customers and employees, make their lives easier or provide them with meaningful interactions, then it is probably not going to be of much use, and you would be better off using different methods to generate interest in your business. On the other hand, if you have a clear set of goals in mind and an idea of how get users to help you reach those goals, then you may be onto something.

Who Are You Targeting?

Once you have decided that this is the path you want to take, you need to identify your audience. Who is it you want to target and what are they interested in? By identifying a clear demographic, you can zero in on that group and see what makes them tick.

What kinds of games are they already playing? Do they like interactive or competitive games? If you are going to spend the time and resources to create a gamified product, you had better be sure that you have the answers to these questions, or you will be wasting your time and money.

Research has shown that advertising is ineffective for 95% of all people who see an ad on a billboard, television or online. The same is true for the use of games in marketing. Your gamified product probably won’t appeal to a very large group of people, so you need to make sure that you know who you are targeting and how you can best engage them.

Some people make the mistake of assuming that a more general gamified product will appeal to more people. The problem is that by making your product too general, you stand the chance of not really engaging anyone fully. So narrow your focus and find out what will work for your audience.

Find the Right Balance

When creating a game for your business, you will have to find the right balance between challenging tasks and relaxation. If the game is too difficult, your users will tire of it quickly, especially if they don’t see any rewards for their efforts. On the other hand, if it is too easy and they fly through it without any difficulty, they aren’t likely to bother playing it a second time.

The key to a greater user experience is to use both long and short-term goals throughout the game. The long-term goal should be whatever goal or objective you have previously identified for your business. Then, in their quest to reach the long-term goal, users should be kept busy with smaller challenges, mysteries to solve, tasks to complete or meaningful interactions with other users.

There should always be rewards and feedback loops along the way every time a small challenge has been completed, as this will motivate the user to continue.

Obviously, there is still a lot you will have to learn, but you should treat it as a work in progress. If you have set clear goals, weighed the cons against the pros and decided that this is the right path for your business, then it’s best to make your move as soon as possible. Be honest with yourself, and if you see that it’s not working, be prepared to step back and consider how you can improve your methods.

Gamification is not the only way for you to engage customers on your site. Having high quality content and the ability to debate will do this as well!


Have You Devised Your Disaster Plan Yet?

The importance of a disaster plan for your business.

disaster planUnfortunately, too many business wait until it is too late to consider the effects that a natural or manmade disaster would have on their business. The truth is that one out of every four small businesses are never able to recover after disaster hits. The good news is that if a business has a well-organized disaster plan in place, they are likely to see less overall damage or loss and reopen for business quicker. When devising a comprehensive plan, your management team must consider the important questions.

Who Do You Need to Run Your Business?

The first major question to ask yourself is who are the key players of the business. This includes essential employees and suppliers who are necessary in order to operate your business. Your essential employees should understand your disaster plan and know that they will be needed in case of an emergency. You should keep the contact information for all of the essential members in several locations and gather the necessary information such as phone numbers, emails and account numbers. You should also consider creating an alternative list in case one of your employees or suppliers is unavailable during the disaster.

What Supplies and Files Do You Need?

You will also need to consider what supplies and files you will need to successfully operate your business in case of a disaster. This includes the necessary inventory, equipment and tools that are used on a day-to-day basis. If at all possible, keep back-up materials and equipment in good working condition and at a separate location from your business. Regularly back-up the vital documents, such as payroll, account receivable, account payable, personnel, insurance policies and account information.

Where Can You Relocate Your Business?

As part of the business disaster plan, you must decide on several locations that the business could relocate to if necessary. Take in to account the current location of your business and the area in which it resides and list a few good alternatives places. If the business can operate out of a person’s home for a while that would be a great alternative, but if an actual new site needs to be found, you must be the first one to find it. You must also understand your insurance policies and how they work in case of a disaster. By quickly submitting your insurance claims, it can provide you with the necessary cash flow to relocate & execute your disaster plan effectively.

When and How Can You Reopen for Business?

The goal for any small business is to reopen as soon as possible after disaster strikes. The most important thing during your downtime and even after your business reopens is to keep the line of communication open between you and your customers. Use any method necessary to communicate to the customers that your business is prepared and they will be reopening soon. When possible, post messages on your website, send out emails and call vital customers to let them know the status of your business.

Why Do You Need To Be Prepared

If disaster hits your business, things will be chaotic enough without trying to quickly devise a plan of action. By creating a plan ahead of time, it allows you time to think through the process, so that your do not forget any of the important thing. Depending on the nature of the disaster, afterwards may be too late to fix an oversight. For example, if a fire destroys your business it may be very time-consuming, difficult or even impossible to retrieve all the important files that have been destroyed.

Hopefully disaster will never hit your business, but if it does it is imperative that your business has a organized plan in place. This will help your entire team know exactly what needs to be done to ensure your businesses success. From communication with employees, suppliers and the customers to relocating the business to gathering all the necessary materials, a disaster plan can have your business reopening in no time.

By having a disaster plan in place you can now focus on more important things such as customer engagement! “Is Your Business Ready for Gamification?”

Six Leadership Styles You Find in the Workplace

Six Leadership Styles You Find in the Workplace

leadership stylesEvery company has people in management that use certain types of leadership styles. Depending on how your personality clicks with the leadership style used, you can either prosper in your position or despise going into work. There are six leadership styles that you can find in the workplace. Leaders can adopt one or a combination of all styles to best suit the company’s and person’s needs.

You may see your boss using the visionary leadership style. This style works well with new companies or ones needing a new direction. Visionaries see all employees working as a team to meet the same goal and company dreams. They visualize what needs to be done by having an innovative spirit and love of experimentation. This leadership style believes productivity relies on taking taking risks, but at the calculated level. Visionary leaders do not concern themselves with the day-to-day activities of how the group will achieve the visualized goals.

The second type of leadership style you may find in the workplace is known as the commanding style. Think of a military leader and strict disciplinarian, and you can better understand this type of leadership. If your boss barks out orders and does not concern him or herself with your response or ability to do the task, they are using the commanding style. Criticism is common and positive feedback almost nonexistent. Common results of working with this type of leader are poor productivity, lack of morale and minimal, if any, job satisfaction among employees.

Another leadership style involves coaching. If you thrive in dealing with bosses who like working with you on a one-to-one basis, this leadership style is for you. Coaching styles work best with employees who the initiative to work up the corporate level while improving individual skill sets. This style concentrates on helping employees reach their potential by improving performance, productivity, communications and working on goal setting. Coaches believe that when employee goals align with company goals, great things can happen. On the negative side, the coaching leadership style can be perceived as micromanaging employees. This can come across as not trusting the employee’s judgment and capabilities.

You will see the democratic leadership style in use when your boss thrives in creating a group of people with a variety of skills and knowledge that can be used to the group’s advantage. He or she will work with the collective wisdom of the group to meet goals. This style believes that goals are achieved by building consensus among the group. On the negative side, this style is not appropriate in times of crisis. Crisis warrants quick decisions, and this leadership style does not fit that bill.

The affiliate leadership style feeds off team work by creating group harmony. Goals are achieved by increasing communication among group members. Leaders are comfortable giving praise for a job or idea well done. This leadership style increases employee morale, restores trust in an organization and helps form a bond among team members. Since this leadership style depends upon praising so much, poor behavior can not be dealt with properly. Mediocrity can come across as being acceptable.

The sixth leadership style you can find in your workplace is known as pacesetting. If your boss sets very high performance standards and appears obsessed about getting things done quicker and more efficiently, he or she is probably using this style of leadership. Everyone is expected to perform at the same level. When used extensively, this style can undercut employee morale and negatively affect the work environment.

Many times, management personnel can adopt one or a combination of all leadership styles to best suit the company’s and person’s needs.

Finding the right leadership styles can make or break a company!

leadership styles leadership styles leadership styles

Participative Leadership and how it can change your workplace.

What is “Participative Leadership?”

Managers are faced with a number of approaches in how to implement and arrive at decisions in the workplace. Each method has benefits and disadvantages with widespread ramifications in the workplace. In participative, or democratic leadership, employees are invited to become part of the decision-making process. While a leader assumes the final decision making authority, the employees are contributing participants in every stage. Changing management style to participative leadership proves to have numerous measurable benefits to any workplace in a multitude of areas.


In allowing employees input in a decision-making capacity, each individual employee feels ultimately more personally involved in the company. They can directly observe and examine the manner in which they influence and contribute to company policies. The members of the staff are more willing to readily accept and implement policy changes if they believe they have contributed to it. With a personal stake in the success of the company and decision making policies, employees are motivated to act in the interests of both themselves and the company as a whole.


Employees appreciate the chance to participate in the decision-making processes of the company they work for. Everyone is encouraged to participate, and each member feels they have a personal contribution to company success. Employees will engage in participation more actively knowing that their opinions are important, respected and appreciated in policies that affect them directly. Feeling appreciated and having a vested interest in the workplace policies will change how an employee feels about their contribution.


There are obvious benefits in productivity achieved through employee motivation and morale alone; however, by implementing participative leadership, managers can increase the effectiveness of their own performance. By having each member involved, often a stronger end-result can be derived. By throwing around multiple points of perspective, unforeseen creative ideas and suggestions can be generated that may be otherwise overlooked.

While there are arguments to be made for each different ‘type’ of management style, it appears the most effective type to engage and increase employee effectiveness is by employing participative leadership strategies. With almost immediate observable benefits to employee motivation and morale, the effectiveness and productivity of the workplace as a whole will measurably increase. Even leaders and managers can find their own ideas and policy positively influenced through encouraging employees to participate in the process. Overall, everyone involved wins.


Participative leadership is not the only effective management method. Up Next are “Six Leadership Styles .”

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