Day two of the SBC Digital Summit sees industry leaders speak about leadership in these challenging COVID-19 times and how the industry has moved against the trends of others and continues to prosper.
Delivering the opening day-two keynote at the SBC Digital Summit, Jesper Kärrbrink, co-founder and chairman of Green Jade Games, spoke about leadership during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Starting off the session, Kärrbrink talked about the “C-time” period, yet instead of COVID-19 times he’s labelled it “crazy times” with a situation which could have “come out of a Hollywood movie.”
Kärrbrink went on to ask the question, “Where is this heading?” He said: “I think if we look at this in a broadened setting, we are going from healthcare to wealth care.
“I really want to reach out to all these fantastic doctors, nurses and ambulance drivers etc working around the clock in war-zone conditions to really help with all the sick people, we know they are fighting in ways they haven’t been fighting before.
“Wave two is about saving as many jobs as we possibly can. We see that this crisis will have a huge impact on the world economy hopefully, I doubt it but hopefully, politicians and bankers will work as focused and committed as doctors and nurses.
Kärrbrink went onto claim that the igaming industry had strayed onto the lucky side of the current pandemic due to being a “young industry with young employees” and from his own experience, “very few people in the critical category.”
The chairman of Green Jade also stressed that the sustainability of the industry in these challenging times comes with added responsibility. He stated: “We know there are always people looking at this industry and today is probably the most important time to promote responsible gaming to the top of the agenda.
“We’ve seen what happened in Latvia, temporarily suspending gaming licences. We’ve seen the measures in Belgium and Portugal, last week the Swedish government came out with enforced regulations on deposit levels. This is happening, the more money we are making the easier it will be for them to implement restrictions like this.
“This is a perfect opportunity to put responsible gaming on top of the agenda to show that we care, to show that we take our responsibility and that we, at some point, look back on in a couple of years and see things we missed and what put us in this situation and that is very important.”
Kärrbrink went on to express the “amazing ability” of companies to adapt, with people moving from working in an office to working at home, game release kept on schedule even with people working from home and product development continuing as it previously was.
Yet, Kärrbrink went on to express the struggles industries find themselves in, he said: “The largest challenge in leadership is to always find balance. Balancing between investing and saving, pushing and holding back a bit, driving your workforce very hard and still having them to enjoy their lives and this is a new way of finding balance and the largest challenge is actually managing and leading people. Seeing people without actually seeing them.
Kärrbrink spoke about his personal challenge in adapting the way he worked. From the usual walking around the office and praising people with their work, he now claims praising people directly over phone calls now feels more “intrusive.” Yet he believes communication is imperative in the current climate. He continued: “Communication is key. I think sending emails, texts, WhatsApp etc has exploded.
“I think we need communication like this. Leaders need to stand up and speak to their employees and congratulate them. It’s more important now to over communicate than under communicate.”
Concluding, Kärrbrink believed that the current situation could potentially lead to an new method of working due to increased efficiency in work being produced. He said: “Is this the beginning of a new way of working? Yes I think so.
“Why have expensive offices for 200 people when I know that for most one day or two days working from home will work perfectly? It will increase efficiency, it will improve the work-life balance and we are also given more responsibility to our employees working from home but as a manager you have to give more responsibility. There are studies that show efficiency has peaked dramatically.
“At home you go from breakfast to work, you don’t go to breakfast to commute, to chatting with colleagues, to getting your coffee and then 45 minutes later you actually turn on your computer. It’s breakfast to turn your computer on. We are more efficient.
“I’m not saying we shouldn’t meet or we should close offices but we should find a sounder balance.
“It’s our responsibility as managers and leaders to embrace change, to take the positive parts of this crisis with us in the post crisis era. We need to see how we can improve from this, and the one industry that I can see as doing this is the igaming industry.”
The SBC Digital Summit runs from 27 April to 1 May 2020 and features seven conference tracks, a virtual exhibition and virtual networking lounges, attracting an estimated 10,000 delegates logging in from around the world.
There is still time to register for the event, with company discounts available: https://sbcevents.com/sbc-digital-summit/tickets/