Playing games at work might not be what you immediately think of when it comes to improving productivity and engagement amongst your employees, yet that is exactly what is fast becoming an industry go-to. It is a technology known as as gamifying, and the gamification of your warehouse can not only improve your employees’ output but also keeps them happier and increases retention.
What is Gamification?
Think of an old-school arcade game. Each level you play comes with a different challenge, puzzle, or goal. Along the way you can collect points and badges as achievements and progress are made. At the end of the game, you can check your scores position on a leaderboard. Now imagine that exact system, transposed to your warehouse floor.
Gamification is the process of creating a game-like feel to real-world tasks. If you have ever used a fitness app like Strava, you have participated in gamification as you compared your physical activity to the local leaderboard, or a media app like Audible which rewards users with different badges as they consume content.
Gamifying your warehouse simply involves using your employees handheld devices to track and reward different tasks. A warehouse manager can set tasks like picking, packing, or performing a cycle count and different levels of achievement.
This process helps alleviate the feeling of monotony in repetitive and mundane tasks, as employees will be driven to beat high scores and unlock rewards. Successfully picking ten items from a rack is no longer just picking items from a rack, it now can carry the same feeling as scoring a run in baseball. And doing it the fastest in the facility? That’s like being the Shohei Ohtani of employees.
Gamification also offers tangible recognition throughout an employee’s day. Instead of hoping for a pat on the back from a supervisor to feel their contributions to the company are appreciated, the interactive points and badge system can offer validation of a job while done from beginning to end.
Every human being has an innate desire to compete, socialize, and achieve goals. Gamification is a warehouse management solution that taps into a friendly competitive spirit.
Not only can gamification be used for day-to-day tasks amongst your experienced employees, you can also gamify the onboarding and training process making what can be an overwhelming introduction to a new workflow a fun and challenging game.
Your Cheat Codes to Gamification of your Warehouse
Step 1: Level the Playing Field
Nothing would make you disinterested in playing a game as a kid faster than feeling like your competitor had an unfair edge. To ensure continued engagement it is important when setting up gamification in your warehouse to look to build perimeters around comparing challenges. For instance, if your facility carries products of vastly different dimensions and weight, creating a challenge between those that pick smaller items and those that pick larger runs the risk of creating frustration and animosity. Silo off your challenges and leaderboards so that everyone participating is on an equal footing.
Step 2: Balance Competition with Teamwork
It is human nature to want to be the best at what we do, tapping into that desire is a great way to boost engagement and productivity. However, building too much of a “me vs. everyone else” mentality risks serious workflow issues. Set-up team challenges when gamifying your warehouse to build a comradery amongst your staff that will translate into a healthier and better functioning environment.
Step 3: Reward, Reward, Reward
Ranking high in a leaderboard or earning merit badges might lead to bragging rights around the water cooler or a temporary sense of achievement, but to keep your employees motivated you will want to offer tangible benefits for high scores and winning challenges.
Look to introduce prizes ranging from the best parking spot to tickets to a local sporting event. Additional vacation days, bonuses, and pay raises serve as great rewards for high achievement too. Incentivizing tasks transform a job from trying to do the minimum to keep employment to trying to go above and beyond to reap benefits.
When setting rewards ensure that they match the level of achievement an employee has unlocked. Offering big rewards for small victories will force you to have to find even greater rewards to get an employee to truly go above and beyond.
Step 4: Track Winners & Morale
Thinking back again to schoolyard games, if one kid always won how quickly would you lose your motivation to play? Sure, for awhile you would want to unseat the champ, but coming up short time and time again will leave anyone wanting to eventually walk away. As you incorporate gamification into your warehouse, track where rewards are going. Over time shift challenges and teams to ensure everyone feels like they have a shot at rewards.
The Benefits of Gamification
Drive Recruitment and Retention
Statistics show that the average onboarding process requires new hires to complete fifty-four different onboarding tasks. Being your new hire’s first impression of the company, a long and monotonous onboarding process has been shown to drive employees to leave for different opportunities two-times more often. By gamifying training and orientation in your warehouse, you can keep your employees engaged right from day one.
The average age of a video game player is 35-years-old and the average age of a warehouse employee is 37-years-old. Gamification speaks to both young and middle-aged hires. Having the majority of their lives with gamification in everything from food delivery apps to daily social media intake, when looking to inject young blood into your workforce gamifying your day-to-day workflow is an enticing recruitment tool that speaks both Millennials and Gen Z’s language.
Boost Productivity & Morale
Gamification stimulates the part of the brain that releases dopamine, a chemical that makes you feel good. Not only does dopamine help an employee’s mental health, but an increase in production can also help boost one’s memory and aid in their physical well-being from blood pressure to cardiovascular health. When your team is feeling happy, healthy, and able to retain instructions the productivity on your warehouse floor will skyrocket.
At the same time, driven by rewards and bragging rights, employees are motivated to be the best and complete tasks with record efficiencies. A recent study by the International Journal of Logistics Research and Application found that not only productivity went up with gamification but there was a noticeable boost in morale as well.
Intuitive Real-Time Performance Tracking
Point systems, leaderboards, achievement badges, and timed tasks also allow management to quickly view the warehouse’s efficiency in real time. They can see where individuals and teams excel and where they struggle. Rather than relying on your own observations between the mountain of tasks on your plate or anecdotal evidence, gamification lets you keep an eye on what is working and what needs improvement right on your desktop.
Gamification also offers employee’s real-time feedback and assessments without a time-consuming performance review. Through their handheld’s interface they can see where they are falling behind or performing tasks incorrectly, giving them a clear overview of how to improve their performance. By rewarding accuracy and penalizing errors, gamification reminds your employees to double-check their work.
Gamification challenges can be built to promote safe work techniques like equipment inspection and handling to ladder and harness best practices. Winning points and achievements through following safety guidelines reduces compliancy and accidents. When Walmart invested in a safety-oriented gamification system they found that incidents across their warehouse facilities decreased by 53%.
In busy modern warehouses, there are a lot of tasks and processes your employees need to remember day in and day out. Gamification has been shown to increase knowledge retention better than traditional methods. Turning learning into an engaging challenge, your team is far more likely to retain on-the-job training.
Körber and Impact WMS Gamification Solution
Utilizing Vaibe, Körber and Impact WMS can set your warehouse up with a plug and play solution that is easy to use and fully configurable. A SaaS solution that operates across any platform, Vaibe is scalable, customizable, and comes with the personalized support and training you expect from Impact WMS.
With labor shortages affecting warehouse staffing across the continent, upgrading your warehouse management system is the difference between giving your facility an extra life or facing the risk of game over. Proven to boost productivity and reduce churn, our gamification solution offers a quick ROI thanks to minimal set-up efforts.
Get in touch with us today so we can find the solution fit for your operation.