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How one gaming company is going out of its way to keep its employees happy (guest post)

It’s vital that we, as a gaming software company, attract and retain talented and dynamic individuals.

For companies that rely on highly creative staff in order to maintain a competitive edge, an inventive recruitment and retention ethos is paramount. It’s also their duty to nurture a vibrant and eclectic working environment, empowering employees through job satisfaction and quality of life. We seek out candidates who are open-minded and compelling, with a strong sense of curiosity and the ability to think critically. We highly value their initiative and decisiveness, although it is hugely important to us that these skills be balanced with a good sense of humor and a playful side, because this helps to promote harmony, teamwork, and morale.

Tech start-ups, in particular, need to secure the best talent, and there is an array of ways of doing this, from the obvious to the innovative. Companies can, for example, offer private healthcare, a pension plan, options in the company, and of course, allow an employee their own choice of hardware. On top of that, we encourage social activities through regular pool tournaments for charity, board game nights, video games, a pool table, foosball, regular company parties, and so on. We also recognize the importance of simple details, such as a well-stocked kitchen, with weekly food and drink deliveries providing us with everything we need to enjoy our games nights and socializing on our small roof terrace.

An example of one of the less common methods we employ is our “Workshop Fridays.” This is time reserved bi-weekly, specifically for personal development and learning. “Work” stops, and we focus on areas which will benefit us each personally — and thus all of us professionally and the company holistically. This is, of course, followed by a catered lunch and an all-hands meeting where the company performance is discussed with complete transparency.

We make it clear to our team members that we value and encourage their decision-making and their ideas, recognizing that invention thrives with autonomy. There are no gatekeepers here: Anyone can push production anytime, and we even have our own engineering blog, to which our team members are free to contribute.

We have also developed sophisticated tools and technology that allow employees to develop and realize their own ideas. These include:

Continuous delivery system: Each change runs through an automated test suite and is delivered directly to a playable environment. This is true also for our mobile app. From there, it can be immediately promoted to production when the engineer chooses.

Canary deployment system: Each new change is first deployed to a percentage of the userbase, so we can monitor effects on the system before deploying it fully. With this and other system designs, we have achieved 100% uptime.

A/B testing system: We have constant A/B tests in progress in both web and mobile products.

In our two-year company lifetime, we have only had one engineer choose to leave us. Through regular one-to-one feedback sessions and monthly peer feedback, we have seen and heard that job satisfaction and quality of life are high. The relationships which exist within the company extend well beyond the office walls, and the teamsocializes in their own time. Thebottom line is that, particularly in the creative tech space, it is vital that work should enrich the lives of employees rather than stultify it, because it is this that allows highly creative people to thrive.

Plumbee logoEstablished in 2011, Plumbee is a technology-led start-up based at Silicon Roundabout in London. It creates high-quality games that are available to play on both Facebook and mobile, with currently 1 million monthly active users and 300,000 daily active users.

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