Do you have performance reviews or appraisals of any kind? Do they have a score or rank included in them? then rad on!
Readers of this blog will know that I have been interested in gamification for some time. Even traveling to New York to learn from one of the biggest names in the industry, Gabe Zichermann. Last week I was at one of the UKs leading conferences for Learning and development #cipdLDshow. On several occasions I found myself hearing other professionals and practitioners in the Learning and Development world dismissing gamification. Saying that learning was not about games. That gamification was a fad.
Clearly people have heard the term gamification and assumed that its about games. Its not. gamification is about harnessing inherent motivation and competition. That competition may be with peers or colleagues. It may even be with them selves.
Our employees already gamify performance reviews
Today I found myself at one of the UKs leading conference venues. I arrived early so went for a walk around the grounds. having sat in a car for 2+ hours I needed a stretch. Whilst out walking I overheard a conversation between 2 employees.
An overheard conversation
Clearly it is performance review time for these particular employees. One was concerned about the process. The other was more confident. The confident individual of the two said to the other:
Just focus on the objectives. That is all they are looking at for the scores. All you need to do is get “5’s” for those items and all will be ok
The appraisal process is gamified by design – whether you know it or not!
So there we have it. This individual clearly understand the ‘rules of the game’. Deliver the objectives and get 5’s. Do not focus on anything that is not a part of the stated objectives.
What gets measured gets done
This has been said throughout the generations amongst managers and leaders. Many may argue against this – but the essence is – if you set a goal/ objective ( a measure) and then score someone on that – they are a fool not to deliver that. Of course we as managers and leaders have set the standard. We have defined what we want people to do.
“and any other task reasonably requested”
This of course is a clause in almost every contract. It means everything and nothing. If we in our management & HR processes set 5-7 written objectives, we are clearly saying these are the important things. Indeed if people do not score a certain level in the set objectives employees are often punished.
Bonuses and rewards are linked to over achievement of the STATED OBJECTIVES.
Real performers ignore these objectives
Often high performers ignore the objectives and deliver what the leader, peers and customers need. They flex and adapt. But they do not get rewarded for this. Afterall since those objectives were set over a year ago the business or organization has moved on. At least I hope it has!
It is not uncommon for the objectives that were important last year are low priority by the time reviews come around. And yet this is the metric we use for rewarding people.
There are people that play the game and people that will not play the game. YOU have set the rules by designing the process. It is gamified. But we do not see this. Where there are scores, ranks or metrics – there is a game to play.
If you want to take the game away from your appraisals, change the review process. make it a dialogue. A learning experience. REMOVE metrics!
You do not have to remove the metrics, but realise that if you don’t someone, somewhere will be playing the game. The real question is will playing the game make your organization more or less successful?
Do you have performance reviews or appraisals of any kind? Do they have a score or rank included in them? Are you using gamification consciously or unconsciously?