08 Apr Values can make heroes of us all
How MadeYou Think helped Hero Gaming to identify their company culture and values and the difference this has made to their business.
Figures from Malta Gaming Authority show that in June 2017 Malta had no less than 275 gaming firms operating from the island, the smallest, yet most densely populated country in the European Union.
In 2015 Swedish owned Hero Gaming became the latest firm to open an office in Malta, joining a truly burgeoning industry and extremely competitive marketplace. From its creation by Georg Westin in 2013 Hero had gone from 0 to 100 plus employees split between its offices in Malmo, Sweden, and the 24/7 tourist mecca that is Malta’s St Julian’s area.
When we, myself and Luke Todd from MadeYou Think, first started working with them their workforce comprised of individuals of no less than 23 nationalities looking after four innovative igaming brands – Casino Heroes, CasiTabi, Betser and Speedy Casino – innovative because they combine casino gaming with gamification, imagery, narratives and other features found in non-gambling games.
Ask anyone in Malta where the money is to be made and a job in igaming – whether it is in programming, content, legal, finance, marketing, you name it – will sure to be featured in their answer. So when Tomas Backman took over as CEO at Hero in 2018 he knew that if Hero was to continue to attract and, crucially, retain the very best talent that the island could either offer, or attract, to sustain the exponential growth and success of Hero Gaming, then something special was needed to make Hero stand out from the crowd.
Tomas knew that he was facing a number of challenges, including:
- the need for better communication, and collaboration, between Hero’s multi-national, multi-cultural teams based 3,000km and several hours of sunshine per day apart from each other in Malmo, on the Baltic Sea, and St Julian’s in the Mediterranean
- how to make Hero the company of choice to work for when it was up against 274 competitor businesses concentrated in a central pocket around Sliema on an island which itself measures only 316km2 in its entirety.
- a high rate of staff attrition – after initial glorious bursts he knew that a number of star employees were losing their sparkle, and, some leaving the company altogether
Company culture – the personality of your business or organisation
A very – and I emphasize here, very – quick Google search and the earliest I can find reference to the phrase ‘company culture’ is in ‘The Management of Innovation’ by T Burns and G M Stalker, 1961, London: Tavistock.
If anyone reading this does know of earlier utterances or iterations of this phrase then a) huge apologies for my ignorance and b) please share your knowledge.
I think we pretty much all know what ‘company culture’ means. In a nutshell, it’s the personality of your business or organization. But why is it important? And what happens when you don’t have a clearly defined company culture? Does it really matter at all?
Through the steady demand we have for MadeYou Think’s services, we know that it does matter very much. Firstly, because your company culture and your values are at the core of your brand. Think of it this way – certainly your first, and maybe all subsequent, conversations with someone who rides a Harley and listens to thrash metal are probably going to be a bit different so those you have with someone who eschews all form of animal products and whose favourite weekend activity is a climate change protest.
So when your company has clear values and a culture that embraces and reflects these, then everyone who interacts with your company knows what to expect – and, those within your company know what is expected of them when carrying out such interactions.
Secondly your values and your culture are super-important when it comes to taking on new team members, and, retaining them. Because with a clearly identifiable company culture which is, in turn, is communicated consistently and well (and consistently well!), then you can expect to a) gain interest from the right sort of potential employees for your business because they will naturally be attracted to your company precisely because your values and culture resonate with, them and b) you will be more able to identify those applicants who, well qualified on paper though they may be, are less likely to be able to fit in with, embrace and promulgate, your company values and culture.
What MadeYou Think did with Hero
Luke and I met with Hero’s Chief Human Resources Officer Marie and CEO Tomas and together we agreed the following format to help set the business culture:
- We held two one day workshops with the C- level executive team to understand the core values of the business and its purpose.
- We then held a one day workshop with the extended leadership team to review and refine the output from our previous two days with the executive team. This helped to get their buy-in from the outset of the whole project.
- MadeYou Think then attended the company’s annual summer event to run a workshop with the whole business (130 people) to roll-out the values.
- We then followed this up with a full day with all Hero’s managers to help them understand how they can incorporate the company’s values into their day-to-day operations and help their team members live and breathe those values in their work.
- Then six months later we held another workshop with the C-Level and extended leadership team to revisit their experiences. This helped them to talk about successes and challenges they’d experienced and to understand how to move forwards embracing the company culture and values
How this improved outcomes for all Hero’s heroes
So how has this translated into better outcomes for Hero Gaming? Well, since we held our MadeYou Think workshops with Hero’s workforce Tomas has told us that Hero Gaming has experienced a ‘super-positive change in the dynamics across the business’ and that:
- across the company everyone is now openly embracing its core values
- communication between Hero employees and teams across the company’s two geographic locations has significantly improved
- as a direct result of better communication across the company, cross-functional collaboration has also improved.
- And last, but not least, employee branding also sky-rocketed with Hero Gaming now seen as the place to work with the net result that there has been a marked reduction in staff attrition
Hero’s leadership team had the willingness to make the necessary changes in the way they work to strengthen Hero’s culture, and, crucially, took full accountability for doing so. And as a result of what surfaced through the workshops, including:
- a change in process
- in the way Hero employees communicate and give each other feedback
- in the way Hero’s leadership team give recognition
a strategic plan has been put in place and executed to make these changes happen. Because if a company wants to take its culture seriously its leaders need to take what comes out of our work with them – whether its in the form of workshops, coaching sessions, or feedback – and do something about it.
So company culture and values are important and do make a difference. And if you’d like to find out more about how MadeYou Think could help you and your business then please get in touch any time.
Thank you for reading – and have a good week.