If you turn the work process into a game, you will make your team happy and it’ll increase revenue, says Ryan Carson, CEO of the online technology school Treehouse. Humans want to advance and learn things. We also have a simple desire to game. One of the things you need to be happy is to feel in control -- and have control over your career. Also, you need to feel that you’re advancing and you’re doing something that matters,  Carson says, quoting Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos. Last year, I interviewed Carson about how he built his original company, Carsonified, using the same pipeline model that Zappos uses. One of the ways people can progress at his company is if they “level up,” which means taking on a project beyond their normal job duties. Prior to taking on the “level up” project, you already know what your raise will be when you complete the task. The key to this model is it gives the employee control of their career and the opportunity for advancement.


Carson and I also talked about trying to maintain culture as his business expands. In just one year, it's grown from five employees to 30, and he expects that number to double soon. He has found that keeping employees happy is a key to success. If you keep them happy, they will work hard because they’ll feel indebted to you and the company. Maintaining culture doesn’t just happen -- you have to work hard at it, says Carson, who has recently hired someone to just focus on Treehouse’s culture.