SME Tech

Gamification at work: It's all work and play at ServiceSource

Gamification, a rising trend in workplaces in recent times, has been picking up steam during the past year

The House It Going sales team at ServiceSource comprises (from far left) Ms Jolene Chin, Mr Samuel Quek, Ms Roxanne Tiang, Mr Hazwan Aziz, Ms Melanie Tay, Mr Max Lem and Mr Kenny Ng.
The House It Going sales team at ServiceSource comprises (from far left) Ms Jolene Chin, Mr Samuel Quek, Ms Roxanne Tiang, Mr Hazwan Aziz, Ms Melanie Tay, Mr Max Lem and Mr Kenny Ng.ST PHOTO: CHEW SENG KIM

Every week, Mr Jimmy Wong pores over a map of Westeros - the fictional backdrop for the popular fantasy series Game Of Thrones (GoT). The map hangs like a banner on a wall in his workplace.

The sales manager at subscription retention firm ServiceSource is looking for land his sales team can conquer, to earn coins for various rewards at the year end.

But, instead of actual war, they accomplish this by doing their work and meeting or exceeding their weekly sales targets.

This form of turning work into a game, called gamification, has been a rising trend in workplaces the past three years and has picked up steam in the past year.

For the past five months, treating work like play has been the new mantra for ServiceSource.

According to Mr Shaun Han, vice-president and general manager for the Asia-Pacific and Japan, the move has paid off in the office largely filled with a workforce of young millennials.

"It's a way of motivating them and making the office fun for our millennials," said Mr Han, adding that most of the employees are below 30 years old. Gamification has yielded visible results for ServiceSource's local office, said Mr Han.

"Employees are now able to think about the bigger picture and what the company wants to achieve, instead of focusing on just their own targets," he said.

ServiceSource helps companies retain their subscription services to their clients. It works primarily with tech clients such as Microsoft, Red Hat and Blue Coat and serves about 75 clients globally.

Sales employees are responsible for making calls to firms using their clients' products and services with a recurrent subscription, like software or services. The number of calls made and successful re-subscriptions are thus important metrics for the company.

The GoT game, implemented in July this year, was designed to build a culture of fun in the office, said Mr Han.

The game was designed by its own staff. These gamemasters tabulate a spreadsheet showing which house is leading that week and update the map of Westeros with newly conquered territories.

The teams which deal with the company's different clients are split into 12 houses, with GoT-inspired names such as House Red Joy and House It Going.

Each house competes on different metrics, such as how many calls are made a day or how consistent they are in meeting their weekly and monthly targets.

Every week, houses that hit their goals are awarded coins. At the end of the quarter, each house can cash in their winnings for rewards like team-bonding activities such as paintball or laser tag.

Individual performers are rewarded with a different sort of coin which they can exchange for prizes like a Sony PlayStation 4, a Dyson desk fan or the top prize of an Apple MacBook Air.

The game has also helped employees with their pacing - or how many calls they make a month to hit their quarterly target. A more even pacing reduces the stress of the teams in the last month of the quarter, when they are likely to be scrambling to meet their targets, said Mr Han.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 23, 2016, with the headline 'It's all work and play at ServiceSource'. Subscribe