Why use Gamification and not just Incentives?

It’s not just about money

One thing that is often asked when people talk about gamification is why use that and not just offer incentives.

Well. My first answer is always “but that is gamification”. That is usually followed with “just very basic and possibly expensive!”. Offering incentives is normally a financial concern. If you do X we will pay you Y. It is certainly a good motivator, money always is, but it does not cover other important aspects of good work. A word you often hear in my gamification blogs is engagement. Sure, money is a great motivator, but it does not help you engage with the job in hand.

Let them Play

When using other facets of gamification (some of which I talk about in It’s Not All About Trophies), you are not relying solely on incentives and you are certainly not relying on money. You are using behaviour that is engrained in human nature from birth. We like to play. Using gamification to encourage feelings of pride and meaning in your work force will do far more for their productivity than offering them money for doing more. Doing more is great, but if quantity is at the cost of quality, it is a false economy.

Quality over Quantity

So when you think about incentives, spare a passing thought for gamification. It may save you money and it will probably improve the quality of work you are getting back from your employees.

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