Recognition Badges and Training Gamification, are they valid for business?

Gamification is the new buzzword in the HRD world.  So what is gamification and how can it be applied?  I can see the value of gamification for training.  Afterall, we have been trying to make self-paced and on-line training more fun and engaging for the participant to increase their attention and learning for years.  We tried making it more game-like with some success.  Often the student/user was competing against themselves for a better score rather than trying to beat the current high-scorer.  However, most instructional design experts noticed the more successful learning occurred with real-world examples to help build job skills and problem solving mindsets.  So is gamification really relevant for other parts of business? 

What about using badges and social recognition as motivators instead of giving gifts and monetary awards?  Badges work similar to giving out honorary buttons, except they can be visible via intranets. Do these really make employees work harder or collaborate more?  Or do they instead force unnecessary competition and working for points to achieve awards?  I’ve seen non-monetary rewards work very well if the recognition was visible to the organization rather than just between manager and employee or two peers.  So I think badges might work well as long as many within the organization participate properly and management follows up on the badges received appropriately. 

If you are thinking of adding either of these to your company programs, read 3 Social Learning Trends to Watch.  If you are using either badges or games in your business with success, please share your example in comments.


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