Did we spark it up?

Oscar Wilde said:

Every good storyteller nowadays starts with the end, and then goes on to the beginning, and concludes with the middle.

Well, let's see if we are good storytellers.

We haven't dreamed of Sparky, but we did think about sparking up our everyday work by injecting some fun and bringing some good old competition back into work.

It all started with a small idea and a huge impact

Sparky, in a nutshell, is a gamification platform that thus far serves one purpose, to add fun to your daily work by bringing people together regardless of where they are placed in the world. You undertake various activities, gather points, compete against your fellow Teammates and win prizes. Sparky has its Leader Board in which you rank yourself against the other most active employees, pushing the buttons of even the least competitive by nature employees to start kicking some goals.

Behind the scenes of the name, we came up with it during the internal vote for the best name idea competition among our fellow employees. So, yes, that's simple!

While we have already started a varied range of cyclical internal initiatives such as DevTalks, QA Talks, Product Talks, and Coffee Breaks, during which everyone can share their knowledge, passion, or hobby, we thought to give it an extra layer through 'Sparky' by allowing people to earn points for any of those activities and turn them into real prizes using the App.

Those activities support various company areas like Learning and Development, Knowledge Sharing, EB, Brand Awareness, Work-Life Balance, and Well-being. Our internal Teams actively collaborate to co-create new activities that earn you points. We also appreciate the physical activity, and during our annual sports competition, we ride a bike, run or hike, collecting points and receiving more prizes.

Also read: Role of effective onboarding. How and why is it the key to success?

Gamification stimulates remote growth

This whole idea became even more crucial when our Team grew and spread across the country, and remote work became our new normal, despite having offices in Poznań, Poland. We were aware of the challenges that come with the growing business and its impact on the phenomenon of quiet quitting. Another reason was the well-known and closely watched Gallup Institute's State of the Global Workplace study, which showed that Europeans' engagement and job satisfaction are declining yearly. We knew the remote distance wouldn't do us any favors.

As an organization, we wanted to act proactively to minimize risks in these areas. Since our daily work evolved around creating advanced software and web solutions and applications for our clients, we knew this would interest our employees. The idea to create a gamification platform appeared in the minds of our programmers back in 2021 when they undertook activities aimed at designing an initiative employee activity points, and it grew in participants shortly after being claimed as Sparky.

We felt lucky as this was created by our talented developer — Kamil, for everyone else in the business, from us for us, and it came to life in 5 days.

Ok, so what we added to the Sparky App?

Sparky's functionalities naturally surround user and admin view, in which the first can see and use the following functions:

  • Tasks — a list of various activities that can be performed
  • Reporting the completion of tasks (with the option of attaching it)
  • Rewards — a list of available rewards
  • User points (Volts)
  • Leaderboard — ranking of points earned by all people within the company
Worth checking: Virtual mentoring – 9 essential principles you must know

While the admin can see all of that and:

  • add activities with possible points [which we call Volts] to earn,
  • add and remove rewards,
  • manually add points for specific users,
  • request the purchase of rewards.

Bringing Sparky to work, what benefits do we already indulge in?

While many organizations work on improving the rules of remote cooperation and maintaining the proper well-being of employees, the growing level of stress, difficulties related to reconciling work and private life (ref. Work-Life Balance, Blend or Integration) or increased postponing (procrastination) remain and the ability to individually adjust the benefits to the needs of the employee becomes significant.

Apps and platforms that enable such personalization are often cafeteria platforms with a wide range of services or applications based on gamification mechanics in their simpler form. Although they are becoming increasingly common and used regardless of the industry, they often focus on transferring a pool of points to the user's account or collecting them by performing certain actions or activities.

Oh… and there is so much more to explore!

Sparky allows you to use various elements, such as long-term challenges or one-time tasks, and they carry an overarching goal: mobilizing team members and increasing their involvement in, for example, the organization's life. These tasks often stimulate creativity, teach how to solve problems, or nurture relationships in group activities while allowing an organization to choose a personalized benefit as a reward. It also promotes a healthy lifestyle — sports activities and distance covered on a bike or a walk as a mandatory element of the challenge that can be implemented regardless of where we are, which is excellent for dispersed teams.

Might be interesting: Introverts at work – 12 reasons why your company needs them

Using such practices or a tool is a great way to select company ambassadors and strengthen the brand's image as an employer. Our employees involved in an organization's life are more likely to recommend it, identify with it more strongly, and are often more motivated to carry out their daily duties. The well-being of employees, their physical or mental health, a sense of stability, the constant development of skills, or the ability to choose what they consider appropriate at a given moment becomes the leading topic in discussions which makes the implementation of such tools even more adequate.

Tools like Sparky can be implemented to help promote appropriate behavior, support a healthy lifestyle, or give instruments to implement ideas and develop skills through practice.

Sparky encourages our employees to share their knowledge, actively participate in events we organize, and be physically active in the spirit of good competition.

Focusing on these types of activities makes a positive impact on the whole organization and strengthens our sense of belonging, all while having fun and feeling the wind of competition in our hair.

Have we sparked IT up for you enough to start a healthy competition within your organization? 🫶