Propose one of your help desk employees a $50 supermarket coupon for logging every Monday all his weekend activities and all his meals and drinks in your ticket system.

We can assume that he will probably refuse your generous offer, because hardly anyone will give insight into his private life for such a puny voucher. But platforms like Facebook or Foursquare bring their user to check in regularly at their locations, documenting what they make there, and what they eat and drink. And they didn’t even receive a voucher. How can these platforms move the masses to join in?

The secret lies in the shift of an extrinsic motivation down to an intrinsic motivation. We speak of an extrinsic motivation, if the driver comes from outside of the respective activity, such as for example the $50 coupon. We speak of intrinsic motivation, if the driver is the activity itself.

Exactly here lies the strength of games. Often we play because the game itself is fun, not because we want to achieve a goal. The activity itself is the reward.

With gamification, playful elements are integrated in non-game applications to increase the attractiveness and to initiate certain kinds of activities by the performer. This makes it even more fun, and leads in contrast for the coupon to a sustained engagement.

Foursquare achieves this by collecting awards and points and the continuous comparison with the friends. Who registered the most often in a place awarded the Mayor. Such a competition motivates and incites. For Facebooks Places even gamification isn’t necessary. The intrinsic motivation to share everything with your friends and to tell where you are, and what you do, eat and drink, is completely sufficient.

To come back to ITSM:
How do you see you configuration management is working? Very simple: Whenever someone queries information from your CMS system, then the return should be valid! How to achieve that? Every time you change a configuration item (CI), as for example within a change or release process, you should automatically update the respective information. Have you ever thought to honor the employee who made the most of these updates?

If you want to increase the initial problem-solving skills of your team, then this can be achieved by transferring know-how (knowledge management). So how about a “Solution Sharer-of-the-week”?
Or wouldn’t it be great if your users could push a like-button for each of your help desk agents?

Do you have ideas on how you could intrinsically motivate your ITSM employees? Then please leave a comment!
The best comments will get no coupons but high recognition in our community 😆

Martin Pscheidl has 30 years of experience en IT business and 15 years in ITSM. He is Engineer, MSC, MBA - all in IT. ITIL Expert, Distinguished Professional in Service Management (DPSM), Chair of itSMF Austria. You can find him at Linkedin.