How Gamification Can Impact Your Bottom Line

Intro to Gamification

For those who are not familiar with the process, gamification is the application of game-playing elements to other areas, like marketing apps or websites, for training and engagement purposes.

Exponentially rising in popularity since the early 2000s, gamification has become a favorite avenue for companies looking to encourage employees to adhere to certain policies or learn new skills.

Gamifying policies or education takes game elements like point scoring, competition and leaderboards, and “rules” and applies them to online or mobile platforms that can be customized for various businesses. The desired outcome here is changing behavior of large groups, through “games”.

Many businesses use gamification to improve sales or for B2C communications to encourage purchasing. However, businesses have also begun to use gamification internally, as a type of training tool.

Areas like corporate policy, with specific regard to Corporate Travel Management and Budget Management, use gamification to encourage employees to adopt better behavior and increase compliance to policy.

Increasing compliance in the second largest controllable expense can have a massive impact on the bottom line of an organization.

As it is often the case that business travelers’ priorities don’t always align with those of their employer’s. In fact, it’s likely your employees are increasing their spending intentionally to use the entire “per diem” or allocated budget that the company provides, even if they don’t need to.

As you might imagine, this practice can lead to overspending by up to 30%.

Adding the almost guaranteed act of overspending to the many tools related to travel expense tracking for receipts, meals, flights, car rentals, and more, leads to a lack of visibility over T&E spending and business traveler behavior.

Gamification of the corporate travel management practice may just save your company hundreds of thousands of dollars.

What is Gamification and what problems does it solve?

Gamification is the act of taking game-like elements and applying them to non-game scenarios, like corporate travel management. This practice is commonly used to enforce company policies and to help employees adopt new habits with regard to specific areas of the business.

When it comes to corporate travel management, specifically, gamification can also help reduce overspend in this area in order to protect the financial interests of your business. For many companies, this step is crucial in maintaining the overall budget and enables organizations to have more visibility over travelers’ habits.

Companies that use gamification internally as a motivation or compliance tool for employees often see a reduction in overspend and the uptake of good habits amongst their employees.

The importance of Gamification/Socializing Performance in large enterprise.

Companies use gamification as an internal tool in order to change the behaviors of their employees. It is also a useful tool when it comes to education with regards to best practices and company policies.

Using scenario-based assignments (another element of gamification) allows employees to learn and retain more knowledge. In fact, according to a recent study:

Participants remembered 10 percent of what they read, 20 percent of what they heard, 30 percent of what they were taught if visuals were also included, and 50 percent of what they were taught if they also saw someone performing the tasks.  However, they remembered 90 percent of what they learned if they did the task themselves—even in simulated conditions.

This fact makes a strong case towards the implementation of gamification in the workplace. In fact, 80% of US workers believe gamification is more effective for learning.

But then how is gamification applicable to corporate travel spend management?

Some organizations using gamification in travel spend management will encourage travelers to save money while booking a trip and will share the gains with the travelers via gift cards or other rewards.

At Zii, we decided to take a different approach which we call social influence.

1. Full Visibility

Zii provides full visibility on every employee’s travel performance. When booking a trip, the traveler is assisted with the travel policy widget which highlights the options that fall within policy and the ones that don’t. Every booking decision made has an impact on their travel performance.

Their travel performance is not only visible to them but also to their manager and the financial executive. This increased visibility makes it easier for managers to detect outliers or unusually high spenders.

The real-time visibility that Zii provides on compliance and the cost of non-compliance drives behavior towards improved performance. Real-time visibility – Zii not only encourages compliance by employees, but it enables managers to take direct and almost instant action. Visibility is in real-time, its relevant and personalized.

Employee compliance is turned into a performance score and is compared at the peer level and at the department level.  Rankings tell the story. Healthy competition is the result that translates into lower costs.  Reporting is no longer required. Self-directed improvements become the norm.

Zii makes for personalized, real-time, and effective use of travel spend analytics.

2. Self-Accountability

Zii provides every employee with smart scorecards that aligned with your company policy. The intelligent scoring algorithm takes into account the company policies, traveler type, profile, and purpose of trips.

Zii incorporates a cognitive-behavioral approach that translates into self-accountability.  The My Score feature tracks performance and compels the now more informed traveler to pay attention to the cost drivers.  Planning improves, buying choices are aligned with best practice and all this translates into cost reduction of up to 30%.

In a case study on how Accenture uses gamification in their corporate travel, the company requires employees to check a box acknowledging whether the booking is compliant. The situation is escalated if there is non-compliance, encouraging employees to only reserve complaint bookings. This practice helps avoid unnecessary administrative work by encouraging compliance from the start of the booking process.

3. Social Influence

Employees can see how their score compares against peers, managers can see how their departments compare against other departments and executive leadership access a dashboard that compares department performance and highlights costs from non-compliance.  Drillable down to the most granular level – the information is curated to showcase what needs to be improved and the dollar value of that improvement.

Each user easily recognizes the opportunity for improvement but more importantly, it is peer performance, or what we call socialized performance, that drives compliance. Compliance can even be factored into performance assessments or bonified.

Zii uses socialized performance to encourage your employees to be compliant with company policies while providing them features to easily manage, book, and get approval on business trips.

There are very good use cases for implementing a gamification system for your corporate travel management program. In fact, Google achieved almost 100% employee compliance through its gamified Travel Expense System.

Conclusion

The data on gamification is clear. It works.

Whether you’ll be using gamification on the customer side, the employee side, or both, it’s clear that a gamified process can impart knowledge, encourage friendly competition, and help users to self-serve, no matter what the industry.

And when it comes to corporate travel management, Zii is the most advanced travel management tool that incorporates gamification to reduce cost.

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Zii is an all-in-one platform with tools and insights to make travel management easy for you. Zii provides a unique solution that enhances the travelers’ experience while having a real impact on your bottom line.

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