Heard it through the grapevine: The über-cool culture at NetEnt
In the gaming world, much like everywhere else, the grapevine is well alive and kicking. Getting to know which company is making the grade as the employer ‘du jour’ is a doddle. The latest to hit our radar in a big way, is none other than NetEnt, with everyone raving about the cool culture they’ve adopted over there. We managed to track down NetEnt’s man in the know, Trevor Westacott, to tell us all about it.
“NetEnt is a space where innovation and technology come together, propped up by a large number of creative people. Our culture is very open to individuals who like to challenge the status quo. We believe in being in the driver seat, and in order to do that we must be the best at all we do. We are passionate people who are not afraid to take risks and learn to do new things … or old things in a new way,” Trevor says.
And where does Trevor feature in all this? He replies passionately, “I am the marketing manager and my role is to steer and develop the marketing team. Together we set goals and make plans on how to best achieve them. My day-to-day work is extremely varied as my team handles anything, from graphics to trade shows, ‘launch’ events to promotions, as well as advertising and employer branding. I am, of course, also part of the management team for our Malta operation and in that capacity my central focus is making NetEnt a better business partner to all our customers.”
With such a passionate mindset within the company, who would be a NetEnt employee and what would be a common trait to all staff? “In order to succeed at NetEnt, you need to be someone who is open to many different ideas, cultures and ways of working. You need to be ambitious and willing to work in a fast-paced, ever-changing environment among some of the best people in their field,” Trevor says, before continuing, “The one common trait is that we are all challengers. Being a challenger in our sense is to be the kind of person that is not afraid to question decisions, challenge old ideas, and put themselves out there on the front line of innovation. We are passionate about our work.”
There has been an evolution from NetEnt’s tagline ‘Better Gaming’ to ‘Better Mondays’ … Trevor explains, “The big evolution was from ‘Better Games’ to ‘Better Gaming’. NetEnt is a provider that offers more than just great games and we wanted to reflect that in our updated tag line. ‘Better Mondays’ is an offshoot from the same concept. We strive to do everything better, including offering a better work environment. Our challenge is to ensure that coming to work on Monday is something to look forward too. So far so good!”
In the past, the company has managed to come up with some snazzy plans for its employees, what were they like? “We have a lot of initiatives at NetEnt that are intended to encourage a challenging, innovative and fun culture. Code in the Dark, Innovation Week, NetEnt X and NetEnt Den have been going on for a few years. This year we wanted to create something that would really redefine how employer branding is done – and the Challenge was born,” he says enthusiastically.
But how do these ideas come about and what is the company’s goal in choosing a particular ‘adventure’? Trevor explains, “Most of our ideas come from us, the employees. We have different forums that offer to showcase our talents and new ideas, such as Innovation Week, NetEnt Den and NetEnt X. These forums offer us all a space to showcase our talents and new ideas. NetEnt X gives us the opportunity to showcase our ideas to our colleagues and get feedback in order to grow our ideas. During Innovation Week at NetEnt Den, those refined ideas along with new ones are presented to company directors and senior management. Many of these ideas are implemented. Last year, we had over 75 submissions for new ideas at NetEnt Den. I guess a fully paid trip to Vegas is a good motivator!”
It seems that NetEnt is now taking it up a notch…Four employees climbing the Alps and NetEnt’s flag on the top of a mountain. How did this idea finally come about and how was the selection process? “The challenge is a complex initiative that combines employer branding and core values. The selection process was very open. Everyone could nominate and be nominated. There were video submissions, interviews and then a selection committee that chose a diverse team with different skills required for a mountain team. We wanted to put our core values to the test and see if we could reach, for example, the top of a very high mountain. The challenge however is not about these four people alone; everyone worked together through a gamification app in which we all collected items to help the mountain team reach the summit. Every week for 13 weeks we got missions to solve that in some way were connected to our core values. I guess ‘Together We Win’,” Trevor says.
And now what’s the way forward? Any other projects in the pipeline? What can NetEnt employees expect in the coming months? “Of course, for as long as there are NetEnt employees, there will be employee initiatives! Our next big event will be NetEnt Day where we all gather to celebrate our achievements over the last year and prepare for the upcoming year. Our plans for that, however, are a well-kept secret, and the only way to find out is to join us and become a NetEnter,” Trevor says with a laugh.
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