Game On!

By Malcolm Fleschner

The advent of Web-based technology has simplified dramatically incentive program administration and communication, thereby freeing managers to experiment with unusual approaches such as trying to jazz up the experience for participants. One example cited by the Sales Marketing Network (www.info-now.com) is a game-based solution offered by Snowfly.com, a Wyoming-based online incentive solutions provider. In addition to increasing the level of fun associated with the incentive program, the game-oriented approach helps management up the chain of command monitor and react to changing conditions on the frontlines.

The game itself revolves around the program’s reporting procedure. Each time participants perform a desired behavior they receive virtual game tokens that can be used to play an online slot machine to win merchandise or additional game tokens.

Here’s a simplified version of how the game works.

Level One: Employee. Call center employee Fred logs on to his computer in the morning and receives a message instructing him about which behaviors will earn him game tokens today. He’s reminded that tokens can be used to redeem a variety of awards, including dinner at a local restaurant, a day off with pay, a preferred parking spot for 30 days and more.

Later in the day, returning from a break, Fred remembers the system allows him to test his recall from a recent training program. He gets 8 out of a possible 10 answers correct on the multiple-choice quiz.

As the day ends Fred clicks on the tasks he’s completed, including selling one of the company’s new promotional items. He also registers any unusual activities, such as resolving a customer dispute with a big account. Meanwhile his quiz results automatically have been sent on to his manager.

Level Two: Manager. At the end of the day Fred’s supervisor, Ethel, logs on to the system to monitor the progress of her employees. She notes that Fred arrived for work and took his breaks on time and sold the one promotional item. She also sees that Fred resolved the customer dispute and makes a note to congratulate Fred for this achievement. Fred’s 80% score on the quiz also is reported.

Next Ethel verifies in the system that Fred has accomplished these tasks by clicking approve on each one so the correct tally of points is transferred to his online account. By approving tasks within a specified time period Ethel earns points of her own.

Level Three: Regional Manager.
Lucy is responsible for overseeing 10 branch offices. When she logs on to the system she receives timely updates on how each branch is performing. Noting that the smallest branch appears to be posting record sales figures, Lucy investigates the matter and discovers that employees there have done remarkably well on the online quizzes. She also notes that the branch manager has increased the number of points awarded for a 100%quiz score. Figuring this strategy is clearly working, Lucy makes a plan to share this success story with other branch managers.

Lucy also reviews reports that indicate how her other nine branches are performing. This way she can stay on top of the situation in weaker offices and seek out approaches to bring performance levels up.

The folks at the Sales Marketing Network offer one additional tip for program developers: Make sure to include incentives for supervisors as well as frontline employees. This will help ensure the program is administered properly. Besides, why should the grunts in the trenches get to have all the fun?