How gamification & content captains boost employee engagement

This is Part Two of our How To Get Happier Employees four-part series where you’ll find out how to create a positive work culture, and how your intranet can help. Find Part One, Three and Four here.

Happy employees are engaged, emotionally fulfilled, connected, and know their work is valued. These traits stem from a rich office culture that actively encourages engagement on all levels. It’s the greatest challenge facing modern workplaces, especially when dependent on their intranets to do so. But when done right, the benefits are hugely rewarding for company and employee alike.   

In Part Two, we begin with engaging employees and the best, tried and tested methods to make your crew productive and happy.   

The Voyage to Engagement 

When 74% of employees are willing to just walk off their jobs, it’s time to look at who is ultimately responsible for creating an engaging environment. A tried and tested method is for HR to send a company-wide annual survey with generic questions and use the median results to design an engagement plan that will hopefully (fingers crossed), trickle down to the lowest tiers of the company vis-à-vis their dated intranet.   

On top of a stodgy intranet not being the best platform for engagement, these annual surveys are infrequent and too broad, making it difficult to pinpoint any obstacles departments might face, which leads to more significant problems later on.  

As an example, a survey by Bain & Company found customer-facing employees are the least engaged with a company, and another study shows increased employee turnover rates. Yet, sales- and service-people are relied upon to ensure a business’ success. It’s found that despite demanding flexibility, energy and compliance, companies have no further interest in their employee’s well-being, which is de-motivating, and in turn, reflects frontline employees’ interaction with customers. With nothing more than a paycheck, that usually just barely covers living costs, to show for their work, why should employees bother? 

It’s proven that emotionally engaged employees pay forward to emotionally engage customers, who are 3x more likely to recommend a product and purchase again. It’s an employee’s enthusiasm, attitude and how they’re treated that makes customers loyal to a brand – not saving money.

These results show just how critical it is for a company to recognise employees as their greatest asset and to invest in their well-being. 

How to get started on a new generation of happy employees?

  • Engaged
  • Not engaged

Did you know?

Only 13% of employees are engaged worldwide

That’s just about the same percentage of Americans who believe there’s a small chance of a zombie apocalypse. Although, with these numbers, it could be argued the zombies are amongst us already.

Don’t forget The Rules. 

Game it so and see 90% more productivity 

How else can you invest in the well-being of your employees? Get an intranet platform with built-in gamification features for another level of engagement.   

This isn’t about playing games at work, it’s about motivation. Gamification is a dynamic way to influence and motivate the behaviour of those you want to engage, like your employees. Gamification is so compelling that employees are 90% more productive when game dynamics are added to their daily workday. 

Gamification encourages participation through responsive elements on your company intranet, creating a multi-layered employee experience based around content.    

Games are designed to be entertaining and stimulate our brains. Every time we are rewarded, whether it’s something physical or virtual, our brain floods with dopamine, the feel-good hormone. Which is why gamification is an incredibly powerful tool in employee engagement. Using gameplay makes activities and tasks, things seen as an obligation before, into something fun and challenging that stimulates positive emotions. We learn best through positive reinforcement and providing a reward to employees who participate in encourages them to become active and constant contributors to an intranet.  

With a motivation + reward system, employees find more layers of engagement as they participate that satisfies basic human desires for competition, rewards and achievements. Methods of gameplay include:  

  • Likes 

The play:  Receiving kudos for a great post is a fantastic motivator, especially when it comes from peers. When an employee shares a link or makes a witty observation and their colleagues give a thumbs up, that employee is encouraged to contribute more.   

The reward: Employees receive recognition, status as a positive influence and have a medium for self-expression.  


  • Challenges 

The play:  Your intranet homepage is a great place to have weekly trivia quizzes, t-shirt design contents, office scavenger hunt, and plenty more. Basically, whatever tickles their pickle and create an engaging challenge for employees. Exciting prizes, like an Amazon Echo or donation to their charity of choice, make challenges more competitive and fun.  

The reward: Entire teams, even departments are able to compete against one another for a prize. Teamwork improves as people are working together towards a common goal that isn’t just work. There is also a collaborative sense of altruism when competing to benefit a favourite charity.  


  • Community Spaces 

The play: Encourage employees to form clubs by opening a social hub so similar-minded people are able to interact with people they usually wouldn’t get to meet. Who knows, maybe having a Glazed Pasty Enthusiasts hub will encourage members to bring their favourite baked desserts to work sometime. 

The reward: Employees have a way to connect and express themselves in alternative ways from work and feel rewarded when they get to know other people outside their department, or even in another country.   


Play into people’s fundamental desires for achievement, reward, and self-expression (among many others). These motivations are universally felt across all manner of people – from interns to the CEO – everyone is motivated in some way or form that just needs to be engaged. By using an intranet that supports a motivation + reward system, work culture and employee engagement will improve drastically.  

Give them all you got, Cap’n! 

Elect team representatives, aka Content Captains, to take charge of and make engagement a daily priority, especially on your intranet. One main thing to know is that it’s difficult for employees to engage if they don’t trust their bosses, so, it’s imperative Content Captains are respected, well-liked members of their department passionate about creating healthy and happy teams.  

Here are three tips to effectively support your Content Captains: 

  • Allow Content Captains to succeed by training them on how to lead constructive, honest discussions. They’ll learn to handle sensitive topics, how to interact, and actively engage with team members. 
  • Give Content Captains authority to decide on the right course of action so they can problem-solve with their team. They’ll be able to quickly address issues and communicate back the outcomes to their team.  
  • Be receptive to constant, anonymous feedback. An effective way to hear what employees are thinking is through monthly, short and anonymous surveys. Employees will have the confidence to bring up issues or concerns without the fear of reprisal, and Content Captains are given an honest and better understanding of team dynamics. But it all goes to waste if Content Captains are unable to bring up issues to higher-ups.   

Companies tend to put immense effort, time and expense into perking up employee engagement with underwhelming results. With resources such as Glassdoor and LinkedIn, it’s easy to find out from current and past employees about a company’s working culture. And, companies who don’t invest in their employees will haemorrhage talent and scare off qualified people.  

Join the new age of the work and open the dialogue between employer and employee. Get teams to take charge of their engagement, trust in your people and provide the support they need to succeed.

To find out more about gamification and your intranet, contact us for more information or book a demo. We’re happy to help.  

Your employees and success are your priority. Your triumph and glory are ours. Oak is there to make that happen. 

Photo by David Calderón on Unsplash

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