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Collaboration, Gaming and the Bottom Line

24 Feb

 

Andres Rodriguez – Dreamstime Stock Photos

Team Playing in the Real World

Poised to start production at the beginning of the work week, many employees face their aspect of the job alone, dread the mundane set of assigned tasks to be accomplished, and long for the day when their jobs would give them fulfillment. Office talk often leads to how productive they have been in a variety of games in which collaboration and team-play are facilitated and where they feel a sense of control. They dream of the time when somehow they could gain job satisfaction through similar means, for the truth has been that team playing in many organizations has been a drudgery especially when projects dragged on for too long. Many bosses, have appreciated the good business relations among staff members, lauded those who accomplished tasks on schedule, and been proud of those who worked to achieve productivity within the workplace. Some have, however, released verbal whips on staff members when many of the mundane tasks, which they believed, when performed, would allow the organization to be more profitable, get set aside even when deadlines are unrealistic. Their main concern: the bottom line.

What Do Games Have to Offer Businesses?

Games deliver a non-traditional way for working. We have seen the caliber of games dramatically improve over the past few years. Players are guided by an interesting story arc. They are offered a fun, entertaining, exciting world in which to carry out tasks, yet with adequate challenge, allowing them to compete on tasks or complete tasks with other participants. Games provide a facility for individuals to be immersed into another world, work in teams and gain rewards for achievements while being there, including team building. Team members have the ability to help others and may even get rewards for doing so and they gain wise ideas from those with whom they “work”.

Game Design—A Contributing Factor to Profitability

Game designers spend much time in developing a product that impacts a particular market. For business gaming, the company’s general objectives and the job descriptions of each individual can be expressed in quantifiable terms. Flow of information can be assessed and then games created with all the elements a business needs to function. Couple that with an interesting story world and have the players go through virtual job interviews to position them in the company. Already persons are clear on their tasks and personal objectives. Factor in the team aspect of the job. Let players know or be able to discover what is needed (inputs) for the tasks. Set realistic deadlines for completion of tasks whether a person was working solo or in teams. They ought to know what is expected of them (outputs) to complete the tasks but they can have the autonomy of developing the methodology (processing). There may be some items that they will need to keep (storage) to carry the story line along. Clearly outline what rewards can be achieved and at what levels and keep them striving to level up. Many games already require skills that are needed on the job for collaborative work. Factor in the fun. Let players know what prize they are aiming for. Leave them to figure out how to put their skill set to good use in the game working with others (an aspect of trust). Offer support features through the game design but implement other features to have team members use and document best practices on tasks. Expert knowledge can be harnessed quite readily. On a broader scale, think what can happen when the game is released to all its players nationwide or worldwide. Get rid of the uncertainty in the virtual workplace by giving everyone a task that is manageable, throw in the risk factor and already business will begin to look up because the staff can be fully engaged and focus on the real task at hand. Profits will definitely increase as players know what is expected of them and can accomplish their roles in a fun way.

Unrealistic Human Resource Management in The Real World

In the real world, there is a lot of interruption, surprisingly even from management. A myriad of e-mails, phone calls, impromptu meetings, and excessive text messages from the job block the productivity of workers. Workers are still expected to carry out their regular functions. Interruptions cost time. In a game environment all those would be able to be controlled. The gaming world has a lot of rules, yet persons may be more comfortable with those than having a boss watching over their shoulder wanting to catch them doing something wrong. Even if there was a representation of that kind of a boss in the game the player can look at it as just a game and get reward from other aspects of the game. The game will automatically promote persons based on their achievements. Promotion is not affected by mean, subjective bosses who are “out to get you” if they do not like you. Another aspect of the human element is that games are constantly collecting statistics therefore it can be easy to analyze with a view of who will need to be motivated. Furthermore, much feedback is given along with the rewards. With collaboration, team members can have access to each members’ statistics and can help them in time of need. (Training/retraining is always accessible). When one player is unable to produce, for whatever reason, it may only cost in that period of play. Errors can be corrected because it will be expected that players may be injured or die. The person will “resurrect” the next time the game restarts. The costs in the game are not detrimental in team play. It is only a game and persons may not hold grudges for long periods of time since actions may differ from day to day and the game will continue. If a player dies, it will not be for forever.

Collaboration—Contribution to Profitability

The players of business games are working together in order that company to be lucrative. If it is they may very well benefit through bonuses and other incentives. What contributes to profitability?

  • Players work together to formulate strategies that can get things done in a fraction of the time.
  • Projects are planned properly and each player knows his responsibility and yet can fill in for others because the training material are available for them to work with. It will take them out of their comfort zone but they would be able to manage.
  • Ideas generated and solutions quickly identified by the group can be pooled together and the best responses can be used to increase productivity.
  • Players (our employees) are engaged and focused on the immediate task, even willing to work overtime, and are well aware that they are needed by the other team members to take future actions to keep the game going.
  • In addition to team collaboration, putting teams to compete against each other can strengthen collaboration within the team lending itself to efficiency, a livelier workplace environment.
  • Players can define their roles ahead of time, their skill set can properly complement these tasks so that even when they are thrust into areas to fill gaps left by other players who are down, stretched out of their comfort zone, then can still function well as there will be training material and virtual classes that will allow them to develop skills in time.
  • When workers are motivated to keep on task and they spend more time working and sales and profitability will be positively affected.
  • If some things go wrong in a game, it will not be wrong forever. Corrections can be made within days as checks and alerts will already be in place.

Money making within the game can translate to real rewards on the “outside”. When players produce, the company achieves much. Players can get really serious about having fun.

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Posted by on February 24, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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