Awards, rewards and badges : When virtual becomes real

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It doesn’t matter what part of the age spectrum you may be in, receiving a trophy, medal or badge of honour feels awesome! Isn’t it great to receive rewards on victories and triumphs? It motivates people and gives them the confidence to take up the next challenge. In the realm of gaming, virtual rewards recognise players’ growing skills and heroic strengths. When these badges get incorporated into a broader narrative, they become powerful engagement tools! They act as a simultaneous goal-setting and reward device which drives users (employees, partners and consumers) to explore the virtual world while pursuing real-life objectives.

According to a recent survey done by Extreme Networks, 33 per cent of companies around the world are already using, or are inclined on using digital rewards, badges and points for recruitment, engagement and business development. Today, in the consumer space, brands of all stripes are trying to understand the psychology of status and power in rewarding customers. A generation raised on video games, that is wired to love incentives, is ought to get attracted to this marketing strategy.

The difference in virtual and real rewards

Real or extrinsic rewards (mostly financial) are tangible rewards that are given to employees by managers, such as pay raises, bonuses, and benefits. In contrast, virtual or intrinsic rewards are non-tangible (mostly psychological) rewards that employees get from doing meaningful work and performing it well.
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While extrinsic rewards will always be significant for workers to perform in a job, but aspects such as job satisfaction, fairness and motivation can be more strongly driven by intrinsic rewards.

However, there are some rewards platforms that can convert intrinsic rewards into extrinsic returns. Those are the ones HR heads should look out for.

Virtual rewards with real benefits

1. Awards, badges and reward points might sound virtual, but they are very much real. Made up of points, these act as a currency that can be redeemed from catalogue of e-gift vouchers, brand vouchers, experiences and activities; and other perks and benefits.

2. In contrary to the traditional reward system that was only focused on top performers, virtual reward points can be used for other skills and qualities of employees such as – creativity, helpfulness and positive behaviour. Your company can engage employees and experience higher satisfaction level of employees, by broadening the rewarding criteria and upgrading into a point-based reward program.

3. All ‘counter strike’ or ‘call of duty’ players know how important it is to have multi-players. These players cover your back, help and seek your help at the time of need. They are also the ones who know your strengths and weaknesses. Now imagine the same scenario at work. Colleagues and team members know the best. Hence, many newer reward systems are now introducing peer-to-peer rewards, where peers can reward and recognise each other for a job well done.

In Conclusion

The truth is that virtual reward systems evoke intrinsic feelings like motivation, perceived enjoyment and output quality. Badge, points and tracks (level) seem to enhance enjoyment – emotionally, cognitively and behaviourally. If companies want to win the engagement game in the current business topography, opting for a strong rewards platform is the quickest, easiest, cheapest and the most effective way out.

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