DiceGiven that more than two-thirds of U.S. employees are disengaged, engagement initiatives remain high on most corporate agendas. While there is nothing particularly new about this engagement problem — it’s been around and unsolved for quite a while now — one thing has changed: the tools available to combat disengagement.

The arrival of new motivational technologies — especially gamification technologies — has made it easier for employers to add a new, exciting dimension to their employee engagement efforts: game theory.

Gamification applications like Badgeville, Bunchball, and Hoopla, among others, allow employers to harness the passion one sees in the eyes of anyone locked deep in a game and leverage it for workplace tasks, particularly the ones that employees don’t like doing.

Used correctly, gamification tools could be ways to motivate staff members in specific departments or at specific times with almost surgical precision. Every business should have these advanced motivational tools in their arsenals by now — no excuses.

Are you holding out? Not buying it? Intimidated by the idea of gamification? You shouldn’t be. There are plenty of concrete, practical ways that gamification can boost your business. Here are a few examples:

1. Cold Calling

Many salespeople hate cold calling, updating sales management systems, or drawing up contract paperwork. Sales employees by and large prefer the excitement of presentations and “getting the yes.” In truth, you could use gamification to boost employee morale and engagement when it comes to any of these important, but horribly unsexy, activities. For example, run a competition to see who can make the most cold calls in a given week.

2. New IT Systems

Many people abhor change, and as a result, adoption rates of new IT systems are often very, very low. Why not gamify the process of adoption? Recognize and reward the innovators and early adopters, gently chide the laggards, and presto — adoption rates will rise dramatically.

3. Innovation

Are your employees set in their ways, too afraid to try out new ideas? Are you employees creative, but lacking the discipline and focus needed to see their innovations through to the end? You could try gamifying the innovation process by running “idea” and “execution” competitions.

Backgammon4. Teamwork

Are employees happy to sit by themselves, eschewing collaboration in favor of self-imposed solitary confinement? Do even your most social employees refuse to step outside of their departments?

Gamify collaboration in your company by giving people points for doing things like making social connections across departments, attending meetings with other teams, and the like.

5. Self-Directed Learning

Encourage employees to take their development into their own hands by building a curriculum and then motivating employees to participate via gamified learning.

6. Workforce Well-Being

You can use gamification to encourage your employees to engage in healthy behaviors, and healthier workforces are more productive workforces.

7. Slow Days, Weeks, or Months

Gamification can be a great way to increase engagement over short periods of time in specific areas of the business. For example, is January a traditionally slow month? Why not gamify January to make sure employees leap into the new year with all they have?

The employee engagement problem hasn’t gone away yet — and it doesn’t look like it’s going to anytime soon. But your company doesn’t have to suffer. Gamification applications offer novel ways to engage your staff. Get your employees excited about work by making even the most mundane tasks into serious fun.

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