There seems to be a reluctance to release the performance review handcuffs in the HR world. Let's be honest: we conduct performance reviews so that we have legally binding documentation in the event we need to fire someone.
In reality, effective performance management requirements are directly in-line with Tom Chatfield's 7 Ways that Games Reward The Brain:
1. Multiple Long & Short Term Aims
2. Rapid, Frequent, Clear Feedback
3. Reward for Effort and Achievement
4. Continual Progress Management
5. Elements of Chance and Uncertainty
6. Windows of Enhanced Attention
7. Collective Emotion - Other People
When Tom Chatfield was writing Fun Inc., he may not have realized he was composing the perfect formula for performance management (or maybe he did).
Many HR leaders take issue with the concept of Gamification. The very word Gamification will always prompt a spell check and the definition does not exist in Webster. Not to mention, we HR intellectuals may be resistant to believe that the groundwork for a video game could replace our legally astute process. Fair enough.
The behavioral economics of game mechanics have been in place longer than the human existence of anyone reading this post. Leaderboards, loyalty raffles, and promotional campaigns have accentuated the relevance of game mechanics since the proliferation of the corporation.
So we are not talking about a video game concept to engage Generation Y, nor are we asking you to replace your precious "reasons to fire me" document.
- People will accelerate their effort if they are aware of their progress on a daily basis!
- People will perform more consistently if they are awarded quarterly vs. annually!
- Presenting fresh initiatives on a frequent basis increases the degree of engagement!
- Motivation is driven by emotion and emotion is provoked through collective effort!
We must be willing to admit that performance reviews are an administrative stop gap (not a performance management strategy). The true path to engagement lies not in the ultimate cost of failure, but in the value of achievement. If we are proactive in our goal setting, the aforementioned document becomes irrelevant.
Wouldn't it be nice if our time was spent rewarding not punishing?