Easter Eggs Want to Be Found: Using Easter Eggs to Motivate Employees

Easter Eggs Want to Be Found: Using Easter Eggs to Motivate Employees

The Easter Egg I Never Found, But Could Have

When you think of Easter Eggs, you probably first think of colorful eggs hiding around the house or your backyard, carefully hidden by your parents.

Almost everybody who has looked for these hidden eggs, can still recall these experiences years, even decades, later. Easter Eggs create fun, creativity and friendly competition.

Many games incorporate Easter Egg techniques in their designs. Here is one:


Training Oneself to Look for Easter Eggs

The Witness is a game by Jonathan Blow which taught players how to be attentive of their surroundings.

The gameplay experience of The Witness worked so well that players started seeing patterns outside of the game.

This is an example of incredible habit formation. It’s an example of a game which succeeded in one fascinating way: how to form habits through Easter Eggs.

This is all well in good in a game, but how do we use Easter Eggs in serious business settings? And can it help Innovation? How can we make employees more engaged?


Letting Employees Plant the Seeds of Innovation

Some companies pay extravagant amounts of money for consulting on everything from strategy, process, to innovation.

But what if you could design into your culture a way to reward employees for insights into innovation?

What if innovation seeds could be planted?

Noticing and Building a Collaborative List of Problems (And Working Toward Solutions)

Employees notice problems in the business every day. But I bet many of your employees keep these problems to themselves.

Some employees aren’t assertive. Others are worried about speaking out. Some, when they do offer solutions, get discouraged when you don’t apply every single suggestion.

But what if employees were trained to look at problems as Easter Eggs? To look out for them with curiosity and pleasure? And to share them with the team and the leadership regularly? (Just like a child shows her mom and dad all the eggs she found!)

Before designing Easter Eggs, let’s review how we look at them from a gamification lens.

Sudden Rewards (Easter Eggs)

Octalysis has build up a large body of knowledge about rewards. With regards their context as well as the Core Drive motivation connected with it (The Six Contextual Types of Rewards in Gamification). Let’s look at some rewards that drive curiosity.

Sudden Rewards are rewards that are not advertised and that the user doesn’t expect to receive for taking a specific action. In other words, whereas Random Rewards are unexpected rewards based on a certain expected Trigger, Sudden Rewards are rewards based on unexpected Triggers.

Participants get the element of surprise and an emotionally positive boost. This unexpected reward can lead to repeated behavior in the seeking of the elusive and unexpected reward.

Two reasons why Sudden Rewards work:

  • They get great word-of-mouth because everybody loves to share something exciting that happened to them that day. They’ll tell their friends about what they got and their friends will want to participate in the hopes that they’ll get an Easter egg as well.
  • They cause speculation if done correctly, yes even obsessive behavior. If sudden rewards seem random, participants will wonder how they can replicate the experience for hack the system. They will start to develop theories about why they won, and other participants will be interested in testing these theories to either prove or disprove that the Easter Egg is real.

They can also lead to Core Drive 3: Empowerment of Creativity & Feedback when users try to test and replicate the experience but  in different ways.

Help Your Employees Find More Easter Eggs

The Octalysis Group loves helping companies think about how to better engage their employees. The people working for you matter and they will make your business thrive if you motivate them correctly.

Give us the chance to help design unforgettable experiences for your employees.

Contact Joris@OctalysisGroup.com



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