Warehouse Workers Embracing Gamification

Introducing game mechanics into everyday tasks is attractive to 84% of warehouse workers

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Treating the workplace like a game is driving engagement in the warehouse, as employee retention and attraction continue to be a top priority for warehouse managers nationwide. Warehouse and storage employment hit its lowest point in December since November 2021, falling to 1.85 million workers, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The data shows that companies are increasingly shifting focus from hiring to creating more efficient supply chains.

A study from Lucas Systems found that implementing game mechanics, such as competitions for incentives like bonus pay, prizes, or recognition, is growing as one such strategy that can keep employees engaged with the bonus of increased productivity if done right. The study, which polled 750 U.S. and UK on-floor warehouse workers, found that 84% of warehouse employees would be more likely to stay with a company that developed a program featuring competition in the workplace.

Getting onsite engagement

“The workforce is a big asset for warehouse operators,” said Ken Ramoutar, chief marketing officer, Lucas Systems. “Keeping a steady and engaged workforce is worth a lot in terms of consistent business performance.”

Competitions can be set up with individual workers or in teams such as a shift vs shift competition. Leaderboards that show how individuals or teams are performing can also be motivating. The info can be displayed as a ranking or include specific metrics like pick rates. The study found that 88% of respondents are very or generally comfortable with day-to-day performance measures being shown to other employees.

Incentives are another great tool. These can be hourly pay bonuses, prizes like an Amazon gift card, or recognition. More than 91% of survey respondents would definitely or probably participate in workplace competitions for company recognition

“When it comes to hiring and retention, workers have choices, and anything warehouse operators can do to give them an edge in attracting talent has a large impact on the warehouse performance,” said Ramoutar. “Operators can increase pay and benefits only so much. They are all looking for new ways to engage the workforce.”

Effective gamification efforts should center around employee needs

Implementing warehouse gamification can be an effective strategy for keeping employees engaged, lowering turnover, and providing an advantage when it comes to hiring warehouse workers. However, if employees don’t buy into the program it can fall flat.

“Don’t judge gamification at face value because it’s all in how it’s implemented, and we learned from the survey and interviews that there are wrongs and rights on how to do it,” said Ramoutar. “It’s important to keep the focus on gamification being a solution for employee engagement. Therefore, employee needs have to be the center of the efforts.”


Gamification is helping warehouse operators maintain an engaged and healthy workforce. (Photo: Getty Images)
Gamification is helping warehouse operators maintain an engaged and healthy workforce. (Photo: Getty Images)
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About the Author

Amy Wunderlin, Site Contributor
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Amy Wunderlin is a freelance supply chain and technology writer. She has written for several weekly and daily newspapers, in addition to trade publications such as Supply & Demand Chain Executive, Food Logistics and Building Operating Management, among others. She is a 2013 graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, where she earned her B.A. in journalism.

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