To delve into a range of discussion points across a two part HR and working practices special are Kate Price, Interim HR director of Blueprint Gaming, Leila Goelz, Chief People and Transformation Office at Games Global, Maciej Biernat, HR Director at Kalamba Games, Katie Byers, SVP of People Capability at Light & Wonder – iGaming, Tonia Symington, Group HR Director at Sportingtech, and Anne Muscat Scerri, Chief People Officer at Videoslots.

CasinoBeats: The work landscape has changed dramatically in the last few years. Commentators say that the balance of power has shifted from employer to employee and hybrid working rules the roost. How has our industry adapted to the new conditions? 

Kate Price: Much as Blueprint stays ahead of the curve in game development, we have also been continuing to adapt to the changes that affect our people and where possible, have introduced flexi-time and hybrid working.

In order to also actively encourage some ‘team time’ in the office we have provided benefits such as free breakfast and lunch and company events to aid collaborative working and engagement.

To ensure that we are keeping up with standards and popular working practices we have reviewed and placed more emphasis on our 1-2-1s to ensure we are always gathering more regular feedback from our teams.

Maciej Biernat: As for the industry at large, it would seem that there’s a range of different practices and policies that have been used, but here at Kalamba, we’ve always been strong proponents of a hybrid work environment.

Even before all the recent changes in how we work, we had already set up procedures and policies that supported flexible work arrangements. So when the transition came, we didn’t face any major difficulties. That said, as an HR Director, I do like some face time with people every now and then.

CB: How has the working culture changed at your company? How have new policies impacted company performance if at all? 

Leila Goelz: Since Games Global’s launch in May 2022 we have been committed to putting people at the heart of our business. This is a key foundation of our company strategy, and we are on a mission to ignite our brand and create a framework that drives an engaging, inclusive, and supportive environment where everyone can thrive.

We’ve defined who we are as a business and created strong corporate values that resonate with our people to build a culture that everyone can relate to and feel a true sense of belonging, while staying true to our values of authenticity, boldness, togetherness and responsibility.

Katie Byers: We have changed dramatically following the rebrand to Light & Wonder – iGaming in the last couple of years. From an organisational standpoint we have divested our sports arm and have made a series of acquisitions.

We need to go above and beyond in terms of shifting our working culture accordingly. There is no way we can lead the way in the marketplace unless we have a distinct identity over who we are and how we operate and in igaming, it’s our talent and culture that sets us apart.

As part of the focus we have had on talent and culture, it’s become clear that we ‘create better together’. We have realised, along with other organisations, what we have been missing with people working remotely.

In-person connection is not only good for our people and their development, but also in turn the company and its innovation, pace of execution, alignment and inspiration.

That doesn’t take away from the fact we are a global business – we will always have to work across different time zones – but physically working beside colleagues helps us in our quest to create great experiences for our players.

Tonia Symington: Being here for only five months there hasn’t been any change, but it is great to see the company be so supportive of hybrid working, allowing staff to work remotely or from an office location to best suit each individual employee. Our policies aim to support a work-life balance as much as possible without impacting the performance of the business.

However, it is important to be aware that remote working can cause anxiety due to the lack of close contact, formation of trusting colleague relationships and a mutual reason for working on the tasks you are. Several employees I have dealt with have said that remote working was great initially, but over time they increasingly missed interaction with others in the office.

Anne Muscat Scerri: We obvioulsy respected the regulations of working from home throughout the pandemic, but we always felt that we would strive towards having our employees back in the office. We they, as well as our company, becomes stronger when we interact.

So, although we have some teams who are structured as remote teams, due to their international character, the majority of our employees work from the office.

As CPO, it is my focus to create the best possible experience for our employees, which we do with state-of-the-art offices as well as a very strong offering in benefits, including free breakfast and lunch every day.

KP: At Blueprint, we’re committed to promoting a positive workplace where everyone can thrive and continue to be engaged in what they do. This covers a variety of aspects of working life and while it’s difficult to measure performance against whether someone may work from home, for example, we always hold up our high staff retention rates as a barometer for how well we’re operating. We’re proud of the fact that few people move on from Blueprint too often and it clearly means we’re generally going about things the right way.

We promote an inclusive, open, collaborative, fun and social working environment while remaining incredibly tenacious and productive. ‘Family’ is an overused description in business but at Blueprint we feel we can genuinely claim that – we’ve cultivated a workplace where everyone can succeed, recognising the value to our business in removing glass ceilings and we’re reaping the rewards of that.

MB: Culture-wise, I like to think we’ve readily adapted to the post-pandemic environment – and I for one have noticed a greater sense of autonomy and accountability among the team. Giving them the freedom to choose how they work has made a big difference, and we’ve definitely seen a boost in both productivity and employee satisfaction.