From Candy Crush to World of Warcraft and the most current craze, Pokemon Go, we’re surrounded by games. On TV, we have the perennial Wheel of Fortune and reality competitions like Survivor. Athletes are paid big bucks to play all kinds of sports. It goes on and on.
At Spireon, our Driver Performance Program uses gamification to help our enterprise fleet customers improve their entire operation. In the “game”, individual drivers and teams of drivers compete for rewards and recognition. Via mobile app, they can view their rankings and scores on their smartphones and identify where they need to improve their driver behavior to advance in the game.
The question is – why are we so connected to games? Sure, they’re fun, but it goes much deeper than that. If you look into the psychology of games and gamification, there are numerous reasons why they have so much appeal.
- Unleash Dopamine
In our brains, the chemical dopamine facilitates pleasure. When we experience pleasure, the chemical is released, giving us feelings of enjoyment and motivating us to seek out or continue that activity. It also helps us resist behaviors that keep us from achieving our goals. From leveling up in Candy Crush to being the driver with the highest score at the end of the work day, the reward triggers dopamine and prompts us to continue towards achieving objectives.
- Escape the Grind
When studying video game obsession, there’s a lot of talk that gaming provides an escape from everyday reality. Some games create a detailed fantasy world where gamers can slay monsters and become heroes. In Spireon’s program, even happy employees respond to the diversion of gamification and become more aware of their driving behavior. Suddenly, it’s not the same old route they drive day after day. It’s now an opportunity to focus on slaying unwanted behaviors like speeding and letting the truck idle too long.
- Find a Balance
One of the keys to keeping gamers hooked is to perfectly balance the challenge with the reward, which creates the ideal state of motivation. If it’s too challenging, the stress can drive a player to become frustrated and disengaged. If that happens, it’s game over. Anyone who’s gotten stuck on level 147 (or 377) in Candy Crush can attest to this. That’s why we made sure the challenges were relatively simple for our driver program. It’s focused on easily modified behaviors that only require drivers to be more mindful: not slamming on the brakes, turning the truck off instead of letting it idle, curbing fuel use and more.
- Meet the ABCs
According to Douglas Gentile, a top expert on the psychological effects of media on children, adolescents and adults, games meet the ABCs of our human needs: autonomy, belonging and the feeling of competence. Participating drivers are in complete control. They use the mobile app to see their scores and standings, then have the autonomy to affect their rankings. Whether played in teams or individually, enterprise fleet drivers no longer working in silos. They belong to a community of competitors. Plus, seeing that they’re performing well each day lets them know that they’re performing well – no wondering and no waiting for an annual review.
No matter what psychological factors come into play with gamification, the bottom line is that it can deliver real results. In extensive pilot programs, our customers experienced significant increases in driver productivity, efficiency and on-time deliveries. And all of these key factors contribute to equally significant improvements in a business’ bottom line. So what are you waiting for? Get your drivers’ motivated the right way to improve their safety and your bottom line.
Contact us today to learn about our Driver Scorecards, and let us show you how to increase efficiency and productivity while engaging your entire team in friendly competition.