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The Untapped Power of Interdependence: Transforming CX Workforce Engagement Through Gamification

May 29, 2024

The Challenge of Interdependence in CX Organizations

Organizations in the customer experience (CX) industry face a critical challenge: fostering engagement, collaboration, and shared purpose among their workforce. Despite the inherent alignment of goals across different roles and levels within CX teams, traditional organizational barriers often hinder direct interaction, trust, and accountability (Widianto et al., 2022). According to Gallup's latest findings, employee engagement in the U.S. has dropped to its lowest level in more than a decade, with only 30% of employees reporting being highly engaged in their work and workplace during the first quarter of 2024 (Harter, 2024). This decline represents 4.8 million fewer engaged employees compared to the previous year, underscoring the growing disconnect between workers and their organizations.

The consequences of this disengagement are severe, with Gallup's research linking low engagement to decreased productivity, profitability, and job growth (Harter, 2024). Moreover, the rapid shift to remote work, which was already emerging pre-lockdown but has since become prevalent, has further exacerbated these challenges. With team members physically dispersed, the barriers to collaboration, trust-building, and accountability have only heightened (Buffer, 2021). In this context, the lack of interdependence can have an even more profound impact on morale, service performance, and, ultimately, the customer experience.

Notably, the recent drops in employee engagement have been most pronounced among younger employees, particularly Generation Z, and those working in remote or hybrid settings (Harter, 2024). This highlights the urgent need for CX organizations to adapt their strategies and prioritize interventions that foster interdependence, engagement, and a shared sense of purpose across their workforce.

The A-GAME Leagues Approach

TouchPoint One's A-GAME Leagues platform exemplifies the transformative potential of gamification in activating interdependence within CX organizations. This innovative approach leverages the power of play to create a dynamic environment where agents, supervisors, and senior leaders can directly interact, collaborate, and support each other's success.

A recent survey by TalentLMS found that 89% of employees believe they would be more productive if their work incorporated more gamified elements (TalentLMS, 2019). This finding underscores the growing recognition among employees that gamification can positively impact their work experience and output.

At the core of A-GAME Leagues is the Xtreme league, where senior executives and company leaders draft teams comprised of front-line customer service agents. This unorthodox composition immediately creates a sense of interdependence – the leaders' success hinges on actively supporting and developing the agents on their "fantasy-style" drafted teams.

The Xtreme league draft process requires team owners to select agents from different performance tiers, ensuring that their teams mirror the natural performance distribution found in standard teams. By managing teams that resemble real-world performance dynamics, Xtreme team owners gain a more authentic experience of the challenges and opportunities involved in leading and developing diverse talent (Widianto et al., 2022).

Real-World Transformation

A recent deployment of A-GAME Leagues at a Fortune 50 healthcare company powerfully demonstrated the progressive impact of these interdependent team structures. Agents who actively participated in both standard and Xtreme teams exhibited a 200% increase in balanced score performance compared to non-participants. The gap between non-participants and agents participating in standard teams reached 144%, showcasing the untapped potential of interdependence (TouchPoint One, 2024).

Similarly, the implementation of A-GAME Leagues in a global Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) organization yielded remarkable results. Agents who were part of both standard and Xtreme teams showed a substantial 54% improvement in balanced score performance compared to their colleagues who did not participate in the program. Furthermore, even agents who only participated in standard teams outperformed non-participants by 21%, highlighting the significant impact of fostering interdependence and collaboration (TouchPoint One, 2024).

At a major receivables management provider, implementing A-GAME Leagues helped address key challenges around employee retention, maintaining quality/compliance standards, hitting performance targets, and managing remote/hybrid teams.

The results were dramatic:

  • 76% drop in employee attrition
  • 28% boost in balanced scores
  • 64% increase in dollars collected per hour
  • 11% increase in quality metrics
  • 61% increase in total dollars collected

The gamification solution enabled seamless performance tracking across multiple data sources, establishing clear goals for employees to strive towards in an engaging way. Crucially, it fostered collaboration and supportive bonds between teams distributed across locations.

Results also included:

  • Increased employee morale and focus on business metrics
  • Stronger connections between remote teams
  • A more people-centric environment for teams to thrive
  • Alignment between fun incentives and core operational strategies

“A-GAME Leagues has been a game-changer for our organization, not only in terms of the impressive business results it has delivered but also in the way it has transformed the relationship between our senior leadership and frontline teams. As an executive with more years of experience than I care to admit, I can confidently say that participating in A-GAME Leagues has been one of the most personally fulfilling experiences of my career.

This innovative program provided a much-needed platform for our executive team to connect with the heart and soul of our operation – our frontline agents. It allowed us to step out of our traditional roles and leverage our years of experience, skills, and passion for supporting and empowering our team members in a truly meaningful way.

Through the Xtreme league, we had the opportunity to draft, mentor, and collaborate with agents from across the organization, fostering a sense of unity, purpose, and shared success. The energy, enthusiasm, and dedication displayed by our agents were truly inspiring, and it reinforced our belief in the untapped potential of our workforce.

A-GAME Leagues not only broke down silos and hierarchies but also created a culture of collaboration, trust, and mutual respect. It provided a fun and engaging outlet for our leadership team to reconnect with the day-to-day challenges and triumphs of our frontline staff, deepening our understanding and appreciation for the critical role they play in our success.

I am incredibly proud of the results we've achieved through A-GAME Leagues, but I am even more grateful for the opportunity it has given us to build stronger, more meaningful relationships with our frontline teams. This experience has reinforced our commitment to creating a people-centric culture that values and empowers every member of our organization, from the executive suite to the agent desktop.

I wholeheartedly recommend A-GAME Leagues to any CX leader looking to unlock the full potential of their workforce and create a truly engaging, collaborative, and high-performing organization."

 — Lissa Love, Chief Client Officer, Aucera (formerly DialAmerica)


The A-GAME Leagues competitions referenced in this research brief were implemented at three customer contact organizations, ranging in size and industry. The participating companies included a Fortune 50 healthcare company, a global Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) organization, and a major receivables management provider. In total, approximately 1,500 employees, spanning roles from agent to C-level executive, participated in the competitions.

One unique aspect of the A-GAME Leagues approach is the inclusivity of the Xtreme league, where employees in management roles at or above the supervisor level, regardless of function or department, are eligible to draft teams. This includes managers from customer/partner organizations in the case of BPOs. The competitions typically ran for 8-12 weeks, providing sufficient time for participants to engage, collaborate, and drive meaningful results.

It is important to note that while the A-GAME Leagues competitions in this study were time-bound, the platform is designed to support perpetual play. However, to maintain high levels of engagement and mitigate potential fatigue, it is recommended that A-GAME Leagues be utilized as one component of a diversified portfolio of gamification solutions. Organizations may choose to run A-GAME Leagues competitions 2-3 times per year, interspersed with other engaging initiatives.

Implications for CX Organizations

The successful implementation of A-GAME Leagues aligns with broader trends in the impact of employee development on engagement and retention. A recent study by Right Management (2024) found a significant disconnect between leaders' perceptions and the reality of employee engagement, with 83% of leaders believing their workforce is fully engaged, while only 48% of employees consider themselves fully engaged. Notably, the research revealed that investing in employee development is crucial for driving engagement and retention, a challenge that is particularly acute at the agent level in CX organizations, where high turnover rates can have a detrimental impact on service quality and customer satisfaction.

Moreover, recent research by Mazzetti and Schaufeli (2022) demonstrates that engaging leadership can enhance both personal resources (e.g., psychological capital) and team resources (e.g., feedback, trust, communication, and participation), which in turn drive individual engagement and team effectiveness. These findings further highlight the transformative potential of the A-GAME Leagues approach, which leverages gamification to foster engaging leadership and activate the power of interdependence at multiple levels within CX organizations.

By leveraging gamification to activate interdependence, break down silos, and foster a culture of collaboration and shared purpose, CX leaders can tap into the untapped power of their teams (Widianto et al., 2022). The implications extend beyond individual performance metrics, with the potential to elevate service quality, customer satisfaction, and overall business outcomes.

The Power of Connection: Leveraging Gamification to Unite and Inspire CX Teams

The A-GAME Leagues case studies, supported by broader industry insights, make a strong case for the transformative potential of gamification in activating interdependence and driving CX workforce engagement and performance. As more organizations recognize the untapped power of their teams, the adoption of gamification strategies like A-GAME Leagues is poised to become a critical differentiator in the competitive CX landscape.

The importance of fostering interdependence and collaboration among CX teams has never been more pressing. With the rise of remote work, employee isolation, disengagement, and distrust have become pervasive issues that directly impact performance, profitability, and customer experience (Gallup, 2024). Moreover, the growing presence of AI and the associated fear of job displacement are likely to compound these challenges, further eroding employee morale and retention (McKinsey, 2021).

In this context, bringing people together and cultivating a strong sense of shared identity and purpose is the antidote to the disconnection and uncertainty plaguing the CX workforce. A-GAME Leagues offers a novel approach to achieving this by leveraging game mechanics to create an engaging, collaborative, and emotionally resonant experience for employees across all levels of the organization. The impact of this approach speaks for itself, with participating companies reporting significant improvements in employee engagement, performance, and retention (TouchPoint One, 2023, 2024).

By integrating insights from academic research, such as the work of Widianto et al. (2022) on the bottom-up relationship between individual-level task interdependence, team identity, and performance, this research brief demonstrates that the success of A-GAME Leagues is not an isolated incident but part of a broader trend supported by empirical evidence.

As CX organizations navigate the challenges of an increasingly complex and uncertain landscape, the untapped power of interdependence, activated through gamification, offers a promising path forward. By embracing strategies like A-GAME Leagues, CX leaders can not only mitigate the negative impacts of isolation, disengagement, and fear but also unlock the full potential of their workforce to drive success in the face of adversity.

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  1. Widianto, S., Sahib, H. A., & Rahman, M. F. W. (2022). Task interdependence, team identity and team performance: A bottom-up multilevel model. SAGE Open, 12(2), 1-18.
  2. References: TalentLMS. (2019). The 2019 Gamification at Work Survey.
  3. TouchPoint One. (2023 / 2024). Internal case study data.
  4. References: Buffer. (2021). The 2021 State of Remote Work.
  5. Harter, J. (2024). U.S. Engagement Hits 11-Year Low. Gallup.
  6. ManpowerGroup. (2024, May 16). New Research from Right Management Uncovers Alarming Employee-Employer Disconnect, Engagement Crisis
  7. Mazzetti, G., & Schaufeli, W. B. (2022). The impact of engaging leadership on employee engagement and team effectiveness: A longitudinal, multi-level study on the mediating role of personal- and team resources.
  8. McKinsey & Company. (2021). The future of work after COVID-19.
TouchPoint One, Acuity, Sidekick, and A-GAME are registered trademarks of TouchPoint One, LLC. All other registered or unregistered trademarks are the sole property of their respective owners. ©2023 TouchPoint One, LLC. All rights reserved.

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