Real experience in implementing a gamification system in an Internet marketing agency

    Gamification is becoming more and more popular. In this post, I will tell you how the gamification system was implemented at Netpeak Internet marketing agency several years ago, and what the system has grown to this moment.

    First, very briefly about the company in which the system was introduced: about 110 people work in Netpeak. The agency is focused on SEO and PPC. They will soon be 8 years old, two of which they are working on a gamification system, which will be discussed later in the article.

    So, remember, what is gamification?

    Gamification is the introduction of gaming approaches into non-gaming processes.

    Real life gamification example

    It would seem that each of us understands that you need to play sports, that you need to run and walk in the fresh air. But most people find dozens of reasons not to do this.

    In this case, gamification comes to the rescue, with the help of which it becomes much more interesting to deal with your health. A good example of gamification is the Jawbone UP bracelets, which are very popular among Netpeak employees.

    Using bracelets, you can do the following:

    1. Set a goal and achieve it. For example, 10,000 steps a day that you need to go through to feel awake. At the same time, you can see the number of steps taken (and the percentage of goal achievement) at any time.

    2. Receive badges for achieving good performance.

    3. See the results of your friends with whom you want to compete and share achievements.

    And all this in a well-drawn interface, with beautiful charts and graphs:

    It would seem that the process of walking or running remains the same. But thanks to the introduction of gamification, it turns into an interesting game.

    It is not a fact that gamification can completely solve the problem of attention to one's health (the bracelet tracks not only steps, but also the owner’s dream) for everyone who tries it. But we can confidently say that gamification is a great attempt to solve this problem.


    You can gamify almost any activity or process.

    I talked with Vladimir Polonik, who participated in the development of the gamification system at Netpeak, and asked him to fully describe the process of implementing the system. Further from his words.

    The first gamification system at Netpeak (2012)

    We thought carefully over and selected two dozen metrics with indicators, upon reaching which employees will receive virtual medal awards. These medals, according to tradition, are called "badges" and they are displayed in the profile of each employee in our ERP system.

    For example, such metrics were “Punctual to come to work”, “Maximum number of projects” or “Increase in turnover per month”.

    An important feature of badges is that they must look “tasty”. The badge must be a beautiful medal that you want to get yourself.

    Therefore, it is undesirable to leave the awards in text form. It is much more efficient to think over the design of these medals, focusing on information content, so that it is easier for employees to adapt at first. We made our badges like this:

    Our first experiment with gamification allowed us to understand the following system flaws:

    1. We started giving points for “age-related” achievements. Those. an employee could accumulate points simply because he worked for a long time in the company, even if in terms of performance he lagged behind younger employees.

    2. On the one hand, there were badges, having received which, it was no longer possible to lose them. For example, if ever a manager received a badge “Turnover of N thousand per month,” then points for this achievement were taken into account forever, even if then the turnover fell. Such a system was unfair, since it was very difficult for newcomers to overtake the "old people" who, in different periods of work, managed to get a large number of different badges.

    3. On the other hand, there were a number of badges, for example, “Subbotnik,” which were temporary. This badge was issued to those employees who over the past 30 days have been more than once at work on weekends. But if in the next month the employee did not come on weekends, then the badge disappeared, and the employee did not have any memory about him. It was also unfair.

    4. There was no clear system for informing and notifying employees about badges. Employees did not immediately find out that they received a badge, and especially since their colleague received the badge.

    The first system came out quite crude, so we began to refine it and think about solving the above problems.

    Evolution of the system

    From 2012 to 2014, the system evolved, some badges were added, some, on the contrary, disappeared. So, for example, badges were added for employees who worked for a whole number of years at Netpeak:

    One of the badges that we removed was the “Wedding” badge.

    Initially, we conceived it as a badge for those who married during their time at the company. But over time, we decided to bring all the badges to one, clearly described system. In this system, badges are given solely for actions that benefit the company. The wedding can not be called such an action, therefore, the badge has been removed from the system.

    The system grew and developed. And 2 years after the start of the system, we prepared a big update for the employees. Using our corporate desire for structuring, we gave our badges four properties:

    1. Work badges and badges for activity:

    1.1. Work badges. These include, for example, badges for speaking at conferences (moreover, the more an employee speaks, the higher his “level” in this ability), badges for turnover per quarter or for the best grades received from a client in the Personal Account.

    1.2. Badges for activity. Some of these badges are given to employees for actions that do not directly benefit the company, but these actions still have a positive effect. For example, a badge for an employee who has read the maximum number of books in the Netpeak library or who has become a star on the company's last corporate event.

    2. Badges for which points are given (rating badges), and “zero” badges:

    2.1. The first are badges for which a different number of points is given. For important work achievements (for example, the maximum turnover for projects), up to 40 points are given. For less important achievements, from the point of view of the direct benefit of the company (for example, “10 speeches at conferences” or “Subbotnik”), 15 and 7 points are awarded, respectively.

    2.1. The second (“zero”) are badges for which points are not given. These are badges for actions that only indirectly benefit the company. For example, badges for the number of years worked in the company, or for the best suit at the corporate party.

    3. Permanent and nullified badges.

    3.1 Permanent - these are badges whose achievement will not need to be repeated again. For example, it is enough to stick a sticker with the Netpeak logo on your personal car once to get an Autopatriot badge, or just make a tattoo with the company logo to get the Tattoo badge forever.

    3.2. Resettable badges must be re-confirmed. Because if an employee was successful by any indicator a year ago, it is not at all a fact that he is also successful in it now.

    4. Automatic and “manual” badges:

    4.1. We really love automation, so we tried to make the maximum number of badges automatic. The system checks whether the employee has reached one or another criterion and automatically writes him a badge.

    4.2. “Manual” badges are those badges that are written out manually by the HR manager. For example, the system itself will not be able to track whether an employee was a member of the support team at the last 8P conference or whether the employee is a member of a corporate football team. In this case, HR personally issues the appropriate badges.

    As an example, we show the properties of our two badges:

    The gamification system in Netpeak is the aggregation of all points for all badges for all employees.

    What additionally reinforces the gamification system in Netpeak:

    1. Overall rating of employees.

    Employees get points for badges, for finding bugs or suggesting new ideas, for blog posts and for useful topics in the internal forum.

    Employees can see this rating at once in several places - on the main page of our ERP system and on a large plasma in the corridor of our office.

    For the first three places, employees also receive badges, but no more points are given for it: The

    rating is updated quarterly, so every three months employees have a new motivation to compete with each other:

    Of course, there are badges that are not reset, but remain with the employee from quarter to quarter. For example, if an employee brought three newcomers to the company, then the badge “Recruiter-vigilant” will remain with him forever. As well as the “Tattoo” badge will be with the employee regardless of the quarter :)

    By the way, there are already employees who received such a badge:

    2. Track

    In parallel to the rating, there is also a system of tracks (similar to a racing track).
    Employees of a number of roles on the main page of our ERP-system displays the track on which the vehicle is displayed. The higher the performance in the current quarter, the steeper the employee’s vehicle.

    For example, the manager’s track looks like this at the very beginning of the quarter. Increasing the turnover, the manager begins to transfer to other vehicles. We see that very soon the manager will receive a scooter:

    Depending on the indicators, over time, he changes from a scooter to a bicycle, from a bicycle and a car, and so on to a jet plane.
    If for some reason an employee starts to work worse, then his vehicle “breaks down”, and this is immediately noticeable.

    3. Alerts

    In order not to lose informational content, it is imperative to inform employees that they have received a badge. To do this, we specifically display a personal notification to each employee

    and inform about new “badges” in the block with morning greetings.

    4. Information and rules

    In addition to this, we have created a separate section in our internal Wikipedia, which is devoted exclusively to gamification. It is there that the functions of our gamification system are described:

    And also a complete list of badges with the criteria for their receipt, description and "value in points" is given.

    5. The history of badges

    In addition, we realized the dream of those employees who regretted the “selected” system of badges.
    Now we show the history of all employee badges:

    We go to the employee’s profile and see that he now owns seven badges, and once before he had two more badges (they are displayed in black and white reduced copies).

    This is what Netpeak Director Artyom Borodatyuk says about the gamification system:

    Monitoring the current system:

    Of course, like most systems, our gamification system can be improved. We highlight two important points:

    1. The balance of power. There are different employee roles in Netpeak, and the system measures everything together. Accordingly, a programmer cannot become a better manager. Therefore, we sought to introduce unique badges for each of the roles. The system has become much more stable, but not yet ideal. Roles that provide basic services are more likely to receive more badges. For example, an Internet marketer potentially has a greater variety of badges than an HR manager.

    2. The system still requires significant human participation. Approximately 65% ​​of badges are issued automatically, but there are still 35% that need to be issued to employees manually. Those. the burden on the HR department is increasing, but this is an unavoidable cost when implementing such a system.

    We continue to monitor and improve our system.

    Offline badges

    Finally, I’ll talk about another nice addition to our gamification system.
    We recently made another update. We printed all our badges in the form of beautiful convex stickers and thereby brought the gamification from the virtual world to the real one.

    In the morning, one of the spring days, employees came to work and found envelopes with nicknames on their desks.

    Each envelope contained a set of badges held by an employee.

    Now, each employee has the opportunity to stick their badges on their laptop or monitor so that they are visible to all other employees. Moreover, if in the future the laptop will be inherited by another employee, then the stickers, of course, will be removed. Badges are purely individual rewards.

    And netpikovtsy began to actively use this opportunity! Now Netpeak has a unique working technique:

    And what is most pleasing is that this gamification system really works! Many employees are very jealous of the situation when they did not take into account some merit and did not give out a badge. And some even specially come to work on weekends, not only to cope with a large amount of work, but also to receive the honorary badges "Subbotnik" and "Stakhanovets."

    Of course, badges can very rarely act as the sole motivation. But at the same time, they are always a pleasant and deserved reward for Netpeak employees :)

    We will continue to improve and refine our gamification system, so until the next significant updates!

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