Making gamification a buzzword in corporate circles
In dialogue with Ankush Malhotra
Making gamification a buzzword in corporate circles
Ankush Malhotra at the Everest Base Camp

Sportsman, gamification expert Ankush Malhotra wears many hats and for those who know him, say they sit very lightly on his head! An academic, hands-on tech guy, HR, outbound experiential trainer, motivational speaker, corporate communication and employee engagement professional are just not enough to define his work experience.

In fact, the coolest guy in town is Malhotra - he cannot be hurried, and makes sure his students, mentees, clients, team mates, colleagues, are also not in a hurry. It cuts the stress and interestingly cuts to the chase as well. And yet he is difficult to catch up with.

Corner.Network caught up with Malhotra for a chat, but first a brief intro on the Gamification expert.

It’s over 10 years since Malhotra has been using gamification as a tool to drive greater employee engagement and build a consistent corporate culture, well before it became a buzzword. His jobs in the IT-ITeS sector at MPhasis, WNS, BNYMellon have been the experimental grounds for sharpening the gamification tool and use it successfully in increasing individual and company performance. He even owns a copyright for a theory titled ‘Elevate your brand’.

What is IC Outsourced and what is its focus?

I launched IC Outsourced my own consulting company together with my brother Salil in 2015. However, it was only in 2018 that I quit BNYMellon to join IC Outsourced.

The focus of IC Outsourced is consulting on corporate communications, social media management, internal communications, strategy to drive employee engagement; we even help with execution of the strategy in case of manpower shortage. We suggest gamification to drive employee engagement. Some companies are evolved and they understand; so they can be taken straight to the gamification platform. In the Covid19 scenario, we focused on how we can help companies deliver engagement while they were working from home; and gamification helped.

Ankush and Salil Malhotra: The lean mean IC Outsourced team
Ankush and Salil Malhotra: The lean mean IC Outsourced team

IC Outsourced has two divisions: Streamkrida and live broadcasting services:

On Streamkrida we do live streaming for sporting events, national and international events/tournaments for football, basketball, badminton, and any other sport. We have an OTT platform where we use Youtube for live streaming of events. You want people to view live, we do that we have all equipment, cameras, live production equipment, processors, encoders, broadcast cameras, the works.

We offer streaming live broadcasting solutions, not a platform but services. If I am sitting at home and wants to do live conference chat, I can put them through and push out a live broadcast on Youtube, on any social media channel such as facebook or private networks even.

What is gamification according to you?

It is applying game theory to your everyday life to make tasks more interesting. The way gamification has been happening in companies is piecemeal. It has to be looked at holistically. Gamification has to be used to make a change in an organization.

If an organization’s culture has not been defined, the culture will develop inorganically in about 5-6 years. This culture tends to define the organization. Ideally a culture of an organization must be defined and driven the way the leadership team wants it. Gamification can help here. And that is where I come in.

How have you been using gamification?

I have been using it for over a decade, long before the term was coined.

What do you see the future of gamification in India? Esp post-Covid19?

People look at Covid19 as a phase; in truth it has changed something forever. People can’t sit in cafeterias or workstations, but need to work from home. A gamified platform can create a shared environment and inculcate a sense of togetherness to build camaraderie among employees.

You have had several interesting experiences with respect to gamification. Could you narrate a few?

My first gamification project was with WNS in 2006. ‘Living the Values’ where 20,000 employees were involved. The basic idea was to get employees to be more engaged with the values. But why make them learn the values? Should it not be a self-driven thing?

We devised a game linked to the values which people started playing. It became viral, and moved to all the offices of WNS across the country and abroad. The values were not only learnt but lived as well.

In another instance, while employees use resources, do they use them responsibly? For example, in a transport service for employees ‘no shows’ can cost the company. In a gamification environment you get negative points in case of no shows. Changes delivered made the company more agile, as there was more learning. A learning organization is a productive organization.

How have your initiatives changed organizations?

Two drivers of an organization’s culture are behavior and performance metrics. Gamification tools have been able to drive employees and teams to become more responsible, close-knit, high performance.

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Ankush Malhotra
Ankush Malhotra

Your coordinates? How could people get in touch with you?

I can be reached at ankush@icoutsourced.com Website: www.icoutsourced.com

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