The benefits and sheer value of infusing gamification with the workforce became evident to Jimmy Chebat, Founder and CEO of ZIZO Technologies, early on in his career. He recalls, “I’ve been into gaming for my entire life. Many years ago, when my son was just a few years old, I began giving him a game controller that wasn’t plugged in, and letting him pretend to play video games while he sat next to me and watched me play. One day, while I was playing the Lego Batman game, I decided to plug in his controller for the first time to see what happened. I was amazed when he completely knew how to play!” Chebat reckons this moment as a significant turning point for him in the way he viewed gaming and technology in the future. Watching his son play made him realize the importance of involving technology in the workplace, especially as the younger generation enters the workforce. Today, his company, ZIZO Technologies, is recognized as a pioneer of gamification and business intelligence in the workplace to simplify management and increase a company’s productivity by creating an environment that drives employees to perform in a fun and engaging way. The Early Chapters
The vision of forming ZIZO stemmed from the response to the problems Chebat was facing while managing his workforce as a call center owner over ten years ago. As his company grew over, he understood that accountability and engagement, along with a high level of attrition, were only a few of the problems that came with fast growth. It was a bit of a culture shock for Chebat to be surrounded by a workforce that lacked the ‘professionalism’ he was accustomed to servicing his C-level clients. By identifying the problem, he assessed the existing tools and built a solution using them, along with new tools.
In 2010, Chebat set out to build a solution that would allow him to build a culture of accountability. The idea came to him while copying the contents from a dry-erase board from the previous day’s production. A summary of each deal would be written on the board, signifying the deal’s characteristics, and managers would be able to identify the top performers and quickly assess the day’s success or lack thereof.
“I realized in that moment that if I was able to harvest that data, I would be able to get important information that can help me and my managers efficiently rebut any excuses and help build reports to effectively manage the workforce. So, I started building the first iteration of what is now ZIZO and what I called then the eWhiteboard,” Chebat recollects. Eventually, the traditional whiteboard was replaced with TVs that displayed a slideshow of leaderboards and daily activity and provided recognition for individual successes. He adds, “Additionally, we began to build low-level gamification features into the application. While most contests and tournaments were managed outside of the software, the data used to drive them came from within it. We began building a ranking system that was tied to expectations.”
An avatar feature helped drive personalization to the recognition aspect of the application, and the Public Display Boards (TVs) took on a whole new level of design and recognition. While the application resulted in immediate success with sales, it had to be shelved because of manual data entry issues.
Chebat and his team set out to find a solution to integrate with the systems used for the day-to-day management of the collections floor, including phone and collections software. As an answer to this, ZIZO was established in 2020 with a re-engineered and re-branded solution. ZIZO, which stands for Zoom In Zoom Out, has created a three-pronged solution— Defragmentation of Data, 360-degree Business Intelligence, and Gamification.
Up Your Data Game
The revolutionary software platform, ZIZO, takes the stress out of management and helps an organization retain employees, motivate and engage teams, and easily manage data. As a three-pronged gamification solution, ZIZO enables defragmentation and centralization of all organizational systems. The company integrates multiple systems, including phones, CRM, compliance, time and attendance, and payroll, into a typical data warehouse where the data is mapped and optimized to provide meaningful insights.
With the help of business intelligence, the platform eliminates the need to log into multiple systems, extract reports, and build Excel spreadsheets to establish relationships between data. ZIZO provides a 360-degree view of all the data with custom dashboards that allow users to zoom in and zoom out of their data. With multiple platforms and an abundance of data, managers and business owners are often left drowning in numbers, trying to make sense of what they mean. This is where ZIZO makes a difference by equipping them with the ability to Zoom Out above the trees to “see the forest” to manage from a high level, or Zoom In to get “in the weeds” and work from the ground floor. “Customer dashboards are developed for each enterprise to provide efficient access to their data and KPIs that drive business objectives. We then take the identified KPIs, and gamify them in our revolutionary gamification platform,” Chebat notes.
Lastly, backed by research and studies on popular video games and mobile game applications, the platform’s gamification feature creates an actual gaming experience for employees so that they enjoy a customized game environment at their desks while striving to reach goals and earn rewards. The gamification platform enables employees with direct interaction to engaging challenges, contests, and performance data. Automated daily, weekly, and monthly challenges push employees to accomplish business goals while providing recognition and micro rewards to encourage a focus on the tasks at hand. The gamification can be taken further with manually arranged contests and tournaments to give employees the extra push toward hitting a business goal. “The gamification features of our platform are based on games that the new generation of workforce has grown accustomed to. We have incorporated various elements such as avatars, badging systems, rank and level systems, and rewards in various currencies to keep employees motivated and engaged,” explains Chebat.
Nobody Does it Like ZIZO!
ZIZO’s flexible and scalable nature makes it an easy fit within any industry and business model. Instead of setting up and modifying KPIs for every industry, ZIZO uses a unique algorithm that takes a company’s KPI and automates the entire process. “Our platform works within the client’s incentive budget, with their set of KPIs, and delivers relevant information with KPIs to drive their overall business objectives. We also have an in-depth onboarding and business discovery process where we educate our customers on how to prioritize KPIs to help them achieve their business goals,” says Chebat, before adding that he has created a ranks and levels system, which provides an equitable starting point for every employee as well as a clear roadmap of how to improve and receive better rewards.
This creates equal opportunity for all of the employees to shine, while still providing incentive opportunities for top performers. This concept underpins the company’s SAPS model, which stands for Status, Access, Power and Stuff. The model represents the different types of incentives which motivate people and better appeals to the entire team and reward them in meaningful ways.
We have incorporated various elements such as avatars, badging systems, rank and level systems, and rewards in various currencies to keep employees motivated and engaged
ZIZO’s technology stack is completely state of the art, utilizing some of the latest and greatest programming languages to bring the highest innovation level to our product. The platform uses artificial intelligence and machine learning to provide automated and actionable insights about a business’s data, which provides even more accessible and more precise access to the information decision-makers need. ZIZO’s unique and proprietary algorithm automates the entire gamification process and reduces the amount of time spent managing multiple operating systems. This creates more time for managers to focus on keeping the workplace fun and engaging.
ZIZO sets itself apart in the market by providing a complete gaming experience. Chebat mentions, “We want our users to feel like their playing while they are at work by providing multiple gamification principles around every turn. Our team has performed deep research into the psychological impacts of gamification and how it is used in other industries such as education, retail, fitness, and most importantly video games.” Also, ZIZO’s automation is a notch above other gamification solutions on the market. The platform can be trusted to create and distribute rewards fairly and equitably across an entire workforce, eliminating concerns some have when implementing gamification.
At the heart of ZIZO’s success lies its tight-knit team driven by five core pillars—communication, accountability, professionalism, trust, and agility. With a small yet potent team, ZIZO is squarely focused on delivering the best possible solution and going the extra mile for its clients. “You can feel our passion for what we do from the first conversation you have with us all the way through the platform. We’ve built something that we believe in and that translates all the way through to our end user,” Chebat says.
Looking at the Future Through the Gamification Lens Looking at the Future Through the Gamification Lens
Although a young company, there is a lot in store for ZIZO! The main goal for ZIZO is to revolutionize the role of managers in the enterprise. Besides developing a platform as a solution to user engagement, the company is also creating toolsets for managers to do their job in the new management style effectively. ZIZO has a vision of what a manager’s job should be, and as the company grows, it will shift its focus from the individual employees to management. “We intend to gamify the manager’s role as well and continue changing the way the world works from the bottom up,” concludes Chebat.