Pretty Technical

Building an Inclusive Industry

It was our CEO Emma’s privilege to contribute as a panelist at this year’s ICE VOX Beyond DEI stream session ‘Beyond the image: Building an inclusive industry attractive for the workforce of the future’. For those who missed it, we’ve distilled some of the key components of the discussion in this article. 

Industry Image

The iGaming industry is a significant contributor to the entertainment industry, with the lines between different forms of entertainment becoming increasingly blurred. Because technology is such a key enabler for our industry, we can attract talent looking to engage in fun and innovative technology based careers. Our industry is embracing AI, Web3.0, the potential of data and other emerging tech at pace, and that’s attractive to prospective employees.

Attracting the next generation of players & employees

Whilst we have those fun innovative roles, we need to work at attracting the next generation. This applies to both the customer demographic and employees. ‘Gen Z’ will make up 75% of the population by 2030 and the industry currently doesn’t have enough employees from this demographic. They are gender neutral, don’t believe in stereotypes and are led by influencers and role models. If we don’t have this audience represented in our workforce then we can’t possibly understand them and create product that’s relevant.

How do we attract Gen Z?

Being inclusive and investing in young people and their practical skills is an important way of making our industry more accessible to them. They are digital natives, learn quickly and can add value. We can work with education providers to expose young people to new technologies and opportunities, even if they’re too young for our product, they can learn about business and put their extensive social media experience to real-world use! Universities are also always looking for placement opportunities, and can be a great hot-bed of new talent. Embracing Gen Z into our workforce  means that we can actually build a technical team that represent the target customer base and will understand how we can progress our product to be more relevant to their peers. 

Is the industry capable of diversity?

The industry has a problem, because society has a problem! We have an issue with the definition of diversity itself, which is often too narrow to be helpful. It’s too often an HR or CSR tick box exercise that has no reality in our workplace culture. Policies, practice and measurement need to work hand in hand to really see lasting results in this area. Only through clear communication of the benefits, value and purpose of DEI will we achieve adoption throughout our businesses. 

What are the dangers?

A lot of organisations have hiring policies that centre on ‘cultural fit’. That can be a truly damaging selection criteria. It often indicates that an organisation is hiring ‘like minded’ people rather than people who bring the richness of diverse approaches, sharing the common ground of values. These hiring practices need to be challenged! Having said that, there is also the danger of the ‘token hire’, or inclusivity creating entitlement which we need to avoid. A better approach is just to treat everyone in the way you’d like to be treated, it’s a simple matter of respect.

What makes a company unattractive?

A 2021 McKinsey study, ‘Great Attrition or Great Attraction’, addressed the myths around the so-called ‘Great Resignation’. Instead of leaving jobs for more pay, better benefits, greater flexibility or more aspirational causes, the study found that in over 50% of cases employees were leaving because they didn’t feel valued by their manager or organisation and didn’t feel that they belonged.

Cultivating a Culture of Belonging

If we can build businesses where people feel valued and have a sense of belonging and community then we have a more realistic chance of building and maintaining a diverse workforce. Providing purposeful work enables colleagues to feel that they matter, are adding value and have a right to belong to the workplace community. These components are essential to the success of inclusive future work.

Role models & mentors

Role models and mentors are vitally important to achieving a diverse workforce. They demonstrate what’s possible, provide support and gather communities around themselves. Sometimes role models organically rise up and we just need to support that, other times, we need to be looking for that potential and empower them to realise it. Pairing mentors and mentees can often provide an opportunity to be intentional in introducing a diversity element in that relationship, mentorship is often a two-way street.

Engaging people

Engaging your workforce is so important, particularly with remote working cultures where it can be all too easy for people to exist in a vacuum devoid of human contact. Engaging our remote-first global team is  something we’re particularly proud of at Pretty Technical where we have colleagues in 6 nations. We have people that are particularly passionate about certain things and so we create space for their colleagues to learn from them. We also make a habit of regular colleague recognition and enjoy celebrating colleagues that embody our values through our annual awards. 

Inclusive cultures

All of The Rokker Network businesses are people-first businesses, with communities that encourage colleagues to be their best selves. The culture of belonging is literally in our DNA and our people are our best talent attraction and retention strategy! We also feel that it’s important to demonstrate the value you place in your talent by prioritising time for them to invest in professional development and training. We appreciate that not every business is built on similar cultural values, and retro-fitting them can be much more challenging. Jim Marshall, Head of Rokker People Consultancy, generally encourages organisations with a cultural challenge to accentuate the positives, whilst chipping away at the negatives!

In conclusion

DEI isn’t just an industry or workplace problem, it’s society’s problem. We have a long road ahead, but awareness is certainly improving and more people are striving to embrace DEI in a way that is authentic and enables our world to be better. So the signs are positive, but we aren’t there yet and there aren’t any short cuts!

Big thanks to our chair Camilla Wright (Red Knot Communications), fellow panelists; Christina Thakor-Rankin (All-in Diversity Project & 1710 Gaming) and Robin MacDonald (Rubik Talent) and Ewa Bakun for coordinating this important conversation.

If you’d like to talk about our experience of cultivating a culture of belonging across a global remote-first team, or even how augmenting your team with ours works from a cultural perspective, we’d love to hear from you. Simply email [email protected]

Inclusive hand stack