by Chris Whitlow

High turnover rates are a problem that hotel owners face every day and finding solutions to keep hospitality employees is just as challenging. In 2016, the turnover rate for employees in the hospitality sector was more than 70 percent, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Job Openings and Labor Turnover (JOLTS) program. To counter this and improve employee retention rates, hotel owners should consider utilizing gamification to engage and inspire employees.

If you’re unfamiliar with gamification, it’s the application of game elements into other settings. Many companies are already using gamification for their customers, but it can be a big benefit for their employees as well. Successful gamification tactics in the workplace include using job simulation activities for recruiting and employee onboarding, holding engagement contests when implementing a new technology, and awarding points and rewards for typically mundane tasks.

Increasing employee engagement with gamification

Gamification functions so well in the hospitality industry because it creates an engaging environment for employees and ultimately improves a hotel company’s culture. Adding playful elements like rewards to humdrum tasks leads to increased rates of engagement as employees feel incentivized to participate.

Many hospitality employees are stuck in front of a desk or monitoring the floor, helping customers stay happy but not staying engaged themselves. However, an engaged employee is a happy employee.

This same concept applies to employee benefits. Hotel employers should strive to create engagement around their benefit offerings via gamification. Employees who take full advantage of their benefits to address personal stressors reap the pros of working for that specific company and feel more fulfilled.

Increasing motivation and productivity

Gamification is more than offering an occasional contest. Rather, it’s about energizing employees through engagement. Gamification also shifts an employee’s view of a task without changing the fundamental nature of the task. Employees feel excited about their workplace while completing the same tasks they were before. Additionally, positive feedback and recognition motivates users and increases satisfaction.

Motivated employees are in turn are more engaged, loyal, and productive—in return, they are more likely to stay with their current company.

Gamification as a part of overall culture

Company culture affects an employee’s opinion of the company and is a strong component in employees’ decisions to leave a company or stay. Gamification promotes a positive and rewarding company culture. Hotel employees are often scattered throughout the workplace and focus on different tasks. Gamification allows employees to work on projects in different departments and spread the culture. It helps create a sense of belonging for workers and reminds them of common goals and values found throughout the organization.

It’s time for hotel owners to utilize gamification for their employees—not just their customers. Games are fun, but gamification is a robust business-oriented solution that will improve employees’ experiences and increase retention rates.