Pokémon Go has grown so quickly, and its fandom has become so instantly devoted, that one cannot help but ask, "What are human motivation lessons from Pokémon Go that we can learn? And can those lessons also be applied in the workplace?"
Pokémon Go is a mobile game app that uses augmented reality to allow players to explore real-life streets using the camera and map technology on smartphones and to find, catch and train digital Pokémon characters. This simple premise has led to over 100 million downloads in its first month on Google Play, the Android mobile app store, as reported by Gadgets 360. The average time users spend per day on the Pokémon Go is almost 44 minutes, which is more than popular mobile apps like WhatsApp, Instagram and Snapchat, according to data from SimilarWeb.
The Psychology of Tech Adoption
People have so quickly become addicted to this game that it's hard to not think about the human motivation lessons from Pokémon Go that can be re-purposed and applied to the workplace.
One of the best ways to understand the motivating factors behind the success of Pokémon Go is through a framework developed by Nir Eyal, author of the book, "Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products." The basic premise behind Eyal's hooked model is that technology is designed to be addicting, and therefore designed to influence human behavior.
The makers of these technologies do this in four distinct stages:
The trigger causes an action to be taken. It could be an external motivator like a fear of missing out (FOMO) or an internal motivator, as in the case of someone using Pokémon Go as a means for exercising and staying healthy.
The next step in the hooked model is the action. According to Eyal, the action needs to be as easy as possible to perform. In Pokémon Go, the action is simply starting the app and holding the phone while you walk around.
3. Variable Reward
The key to prompting people to take that action over and over is variable rewards. When you use the app you may see a Pokémon or you may not. You may see one you have not seen before. The key is in the variability of the outcome. You never know what will happen next.
The last phase of the hook model is when the user is asked to do a bit of work, and that work needs to motivate people to continue using the app. That could take the form of inviting friends to play, sharing pictures of captured Pokémon or tracking scores on a leaderboard.
This model could also be applied to your workforce to help you shape human capital strategies that will truly resonate with employees.
Here are a few lessons to consider:
Gamifying Your Workplace
Not in the sense of playing games, but gamification, or the introduction of game-like elements to workflows, could be an interesting way to leverage the "trigger" aspect of technology described above. For example, CIO.com reports that Omnicare, the maker of pharmacy management software, uses the principles of gamification in its support organization to more fully engage its workforce. Adding these elements has led to some serious results for the organization, with queue times cut in half, increased customer satisfaction and improved employee happiness overall.
Encouraging Employee Wellness
People of all ages are playing Pokémon Go and using it as a motivating factor to get outside and exercise because chasing Pokémon requires a fair amount of walking around, according to US News & World Report. This same idea can be applied to your workforce. By providing your employees with incentives to stay healthy and making wellness initiatives fun, you should be able to inspire them to get up, get out and get moving.
Enhancing Onboarding With Mobile Apps
According to an ADP onboarding study, "more than 50% of companies either have no formal onboarding solution or use a home-grown solution that has not been built for the competitive digital age." But imagine if organizations used similar virtual reality technology as Pokémon Go to update and improve the onboarding process. Organizations could send new employees on Pokémon Go-style scavenger hunts looking for people, conference rooms and work tools around the office to help orient new employees and truly engage them right from the start of their first day.
Pokémon Go is not just a crazy game that is seemingly being played everywhere you look. It is a also a craftily designed technology meant to engage the audience over and over again. Finance leaders can use this model to their advantage, and use it as means to connect with employees and motivate them in ways that they wouldn't expect while at work.
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