The path to workplace wellness is not easy. There’s only so much value free gym memberships or wellness incentives add in the long run. On the other hand, incorporating a wellness programme in the workplace is proven to have positive results on employee well-being.

We form healthy behaviours through our habits, and it takes time, motivation, and a sense of healthy competition to reach there. James Clear, in his bestselling book Atomic Habits, explains the process of habit-building that can be divided into four simple steps: cue, craving, response, and reward.

One of the easiest ways to form healthy habits among employees is to gamify wellness programmes in the organisation. This can help you develop patterns step by step.

What is Gamification?

Gamification is a term used for a form of game design, an online marketing tool, or an instructional tool that is used for engaging individuals in fun activities. The activity is done in the form of a game or as a simulation or a competition. Gamification uses the elements of a game to motivate and engage the learner. It is basically to take something that is not necessarily enjoyable and add game elements like competition, rules, progress, and winning to make it for fun and engaging.

The main objective here is to improve people’s skills, engage, and motivate people in non-gaming contexts. More and more companies are now using gamification to boost their employee productivity, engagement, plan business strategies, and also eliminating many core issues and benefitting from it.

It is entirely on the organisation how they want to exercise gamification. For example, Google has been conducting jam code competitions worldwide for more than a decade now to attract new hires and talent. The main draw here is that participants can showcase their skill to win prize money of $10,000.

Also, did you know, in 2006, Coca Cola in its famous ‘My Coke Rewards’ campaign, integrated gamification, and retained around 20 million lifetime members eventually?

How Gamification Can Boost Overall Corporate Wellbeing

Workplace wellness is one of the top priorities for organisations today. Business leaders are now more concerned about workplace wellness and don’t hesitate to implement programmes that boost employee wellbeing.

The general approach is to promote wellness programmes to improve employee health, tackle absenteeism, boost productivity, support healthy behaviours in the workplace, and cut down on healthcare costs.

Gamification can influence employee behaviour by forming healthy habits and giving people a sense of competition, social recognition, and rewards. One study in the New England Journal of Medicine found that if your friend becomes obese, then your risk of obesity increases by 57%; even if your friends live miles away from you. Our social environment and the people we surround ourselves with have tremendous psychological impact on us.

Gamification responds to our social psychology, helps restructure employee behaviour (which governs their everyday decisions), and maintains healthy habits.

The Role of Leaders in This New Digital Shift

Leaders are learning to incorporate gamification into their employee well-being strategy. But before implementing any wellness strategy/programme, leaders need to ensure it goes well with the company’s culture. They must also understand how it can positively influence employees to take action. One challenge here is to convince employees and help them form healthy habits. But that is much easier in today’s digital world with the help of the right wellness programmes or mobile applications.

But as Gabe Zichermann, in his book Gamification by Design says, “Gamification is 75% psychology and 25% technology”. Here are some ways to implement gamification effectively.

Keep it simple: Keep your gamification platform concise and straightforward. You want to encourage your employees to participate and achieve their desired goals. Provide a platform that is easy and straightforward to navigate and gives the users a seamless experience. Cluttered navigation and platforms full of complexities will only make your employees tune out.

Challenges and competition: Competitions are excellent as they give your employees a competitive environment to thrive. But your platform should not be limited to contests and challenges. Employees who do not want to participate in competitive tasks must also have something that they can align their goals to.

Track and monitor: Tracking and monitoring the results in inbuilt features would help employees keep track of their progress.

Social recognition: Gamification makes socialising and networking much easier. Having a social networking feature not only boost employee motivation, but also helps in building a healthy work relationship with peers.

Rewards: Rewarding employees for completing their tasks is a great motivator to keep them going.

In conclusion, the sole purpose of using gaming mechanics to employee wellness strategy is to add fun to our mundane tasks or activities for better engagement. Make sure you evaluate and monitor the results from time to time to help employees with the best experience possible. Gamification in the workplace is not just a trend that you need to tick off your list, but a tool that must be incorporated well to improve overall workplace productivity and wellness.


  • Anjan Pathak

    Co-founder and CTO

    Vantage Circle

    Anjan Pathak is a Co-founder and CTO at Vantage Circle - an Employee Engagement Platform. Anjan is an HR technology enthusiast, very passionate about employee wellness and actively participates in the growth of the corporate culture. He is an avid reader and likes to be updated in the latest knowhows of Human Resource.