Training Today: 5 Gamification Pitfalls

Superficial gamification can lead to superficial engagement and a disappointing ROI.

By Whitney Cook, Account Manager, Inward Strategic Consulting (

Top companies all over the worldare adopting gamification into their core business strategies in order to drive engagement for employees, customers, and partners. But there are some unexpected pitfalls. Here are the Top 5 to watch out for

  1. Forgetting about motivation. Understanding and strategically planning around the “what’s in it for me” aspect is essential to gamification success. Companies often make the mistake of creating programs that get initial new and shiny attention, but in the end lose their audience because there is no intrinsic motivation to keep playing. Find out what motivates your audience and your game, and its intended results will win every time.
  2. Just “tacking on” gamification to your current strategy. Superficial gamification can lead to superficial engagement and a disappointing ROI. When and how rewards happen, and how they aggregate are components that need to be carefully considered and well integrated into the overall strategy.
  3. Not getting senior alignment from the get-go. Gamification can be scary for some people, especially executives who look at lost productivity as lost profit. Making sure leadership understands the difference between gamification and games will help clear up confusion and will enable them to understand and buy into your gamification strategy.
  4. Not giving people access to share their success. Creating a program that has a social aspect is imperative to driving motivation and success. Even something as simple as a Facebook share or Twitter post can help drive engagement. Social sharing is essential!
  5. Being predictable. As with most things in life, people get used to processes, and a “new” game quickly can become the “norm.” Creating a variable rewards structure, planting randomized fun mysteries throughout the user experience, and regular updates will help avoid the potential for boredom.
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