Getting started with enterprise gamification using a simple leaderboard

You’ve read the hype about gamification and you’d like to try it, but where do you start? My step by step guide is for any manager to get started with gamification.

Before you get to the world of badges, challenges and new points systems though, you can get a long way with a simple leaderboard based on people’s existing activities.

1. Identify the problem you want to solve

Write a mission statement, something like – “I think we could be more effective as a team / organisation if we all …”  The … is up to you. Here are some example mission statements:

– I think we could do better on social media  if everyone tweeted about the company once a day

– I think we could all sell more if everyone’s performance was nearer our best sales person

– I think we would all enjoy our jobs more if there was a bit more fun around this place.

2. Choose a community you have authority over

A gamification initiative requires  buy-in from a community’s leaders. This is because you are making a change to the existing underlying community rules (usually implicit until now).

In a company that either means you, or your boss, or quite often the head of HR,  internal comms or the CEO. In online communities that’s the forum leader, the moderator.

3. Do it manually first

A simple spreadsheet is all you need to do the basics – name and score. Maybe just pick ten or so people to pilot it with. A good initiative should have more than one way to gain points. As you add ways to win points you can always use a self service gamification tool such as which will import your spreadsheet and handle having multiple point systems. It also lets you add a photo for each player and produces a nice looking leaderboard for you to share.

4. Sanity check before you release to the wild

When you first start gamifying it is worth running the program for a week or so yourself to check its working. My checklist for a good leaderboard is:

– is the person at the top a true leader?  if not, you may be weighting your various points incorrectly.

– is there sufficient volatility from week to week? if not, you may not be resetting your leaderboard often enough. Klout resets every 90 days for example.

– is there too much volatility? if not, you may be resetting your leaderboard scores too often

– are all the people we expect to be there at the top end of the leaderboard? if not, you may be missing some crucial data, or your weighting needs adjusting?

5. Run for a limited time

It’s worth planning for your leaderboard to be run for a limited time. That gives you the opportunity to gamify the key behaviours you want and then stop and gauge the results. A key goal of any gamification initiative is to create engagement that does not require substantial extrinsic motivation and financial rewards.   By stopping your leaderboard after a certain time it allows you to check this.

It may be that it has caught fire and your community wants to continue running the leaderboard. If so then the end of the limited time is a great point to take stock and identify new data and measurements to ‘bring in to the mix’ to improve the quality and resilience of your leaderboard.

So that’s it, a 5 step approach to getting started….

Well what are you waiting for?

[Disclosure: Rise is my own business]


Toby Beresford

Toby is founder and CEO of Rise the success tracking network to track, publish and share success. He was the 2013 chair of - the International Gamification Confederation and organises the UK Gamifiers meetup. As a gamification leader, he speaks at conferences and hosts workshops. Follow him on twitter @tobyberesford and Subscribe to this blog at Gamification Of Work blog feed

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