We pride ourselves on creating  a fantastic place to work. We encourage employees to ‘have fun, making fun’ but always within the parameters of acting in a responsible and respectful way.

The major business change we  saw this year was the uniting of Gamesys Holdings and JPJ Group, and consequently our employee numbers increased from 322 at the end of 2018 to 1,453 in 2019. We’re fortunate that the pre-acquisition cultures of Gamesys Holdings and JPJ Group were already akin, and coupled with the complementary nature of the companies’ activities, this has resulted in a smooth integration with minimal resource-related cost reductions. Positively, there has been no increase in voluntary attrition rates since the acquisition, which was 16.5% for the year. 

The integration process started immediately post-acquisition with the combining of Group services teams (Finance, Legal, HR and IT), shortly followed by the launch of a new Company purpose, ‘Crafting entertainment with care’ and new Company values, the ‘Gamesys DNA’. These were developed following extensive employee engagement conducted in conjunction with an independent third party and including structured interviews with all the senior leadership team. The resulting new DNA is both a combination and evolution of the old Gamesys Holdings and JPJ Group values. Training to enable employees to internalise and articulate what the DNA means to them has been successfully piloted and will be rolled out in the coming year. The DNA has also been integrated into the employee bonus review process and will be integrated into the employee appraisal and recruitment procedures.

Work to streamline people-related procedures has commenced. The focus in 2019 was on standardising employee appraisal and bonus schemes, and terms and conditions for employees in jurisdictions where offices from both legacy organisations were present. The rest of the procedural framework will be aligned in the coming year, with the general approach being to utilise the best of the two businesses. Where Group policies do not yet exist, pre-acquisition policies apply to the respective employee base, allowing us to maintain a robust people-related procedural framework at all times. All our policies apply globally but are adapted locally to reflect community and cultural needs as necessary.

Effective engagement

Happy employees make for happy players, so we put a lot of emphasis on employee engagement and making sure we understand and respond to our employees’ views. Whilst the vast majority of Gamesys Group’s work is conducted by our directly employed staff, we also use contractors as needed, which in 2019 accounted for 10.2% of our workforce.

The key ways that we engage with our employees are as follows:

  • Employee engagement survey: A comprehensive annual employee engagement survey is conducted. Emerging themes, both positive and negative, are communicated to the entire workforce and responding actions are published and put into effect. The survey question set is being refreshed to reflect the united business and the new Gamesys DNA, and the first post-acquisition survey will be run during spring 2020. We also run bi-weekly mini-surveys to capture employee sentiment in real time. Scores over the year for the JPJ Group population demonstrated high levels of engagement, with team spirit rated as 8.1 out of ten, and job satisfaction as 7.6 out of ten.
  • Quarterly CEO presentations: These take place off site, with the Directors and a number of senior executives presenting. They are also live streamed across all offices and available to download for employees who can’t be there or watch live. These provide updates on the progress being made on our strategic goals and our business performance, along with specific functional updates.
  • Employee Voice representative: Katie Vanneck-Smith, Non-Executive Director, has taken on the role of the Board’s Employee Voice Director. She will be hosting monthly meetings to gather employee perspectives from representative samples of employees across the business.
  • Employee suggestions: Business improvement ideas from our employees are actively encouraged. Historically, employees could raise ideas through a dedicated email address direct to the CEO. One example of this relates to the employee gym membership benefit. It was suggested that this money could be applied to other health and wellbeing related services/products and as a result the benefit was changed to a ‘wellbeing subsidy’ that accommodates such items. Following the acquisition, the process for raising improvement ideas has been evolved into the IDEAS hub, which was already working to great effect in Gamesys. Through the IDEAS hub all employees can submit business improvement ideas and there is a quarterly cash incentive for the best ideas. All employees are also still able and welcome to email the CEO directly at any time. 
  • Roundtables: Regular intra-department and intra-divisional meetings chaired by their respective senior leaders are held.
  • Performance development evaluation process: These formal twice-yearly reviews provide an opportunity for employees to share with their line managers general sentiments about the Company and their role.
  • One-to-one interviews: In addition to standard exit interviews, we interview employees immediately after recruitment and after probation periods end so that we can incorporate feedback on our induction and integration processes.
  • Direct communications: We have a wide range of tools that we use to communicate business information with employees, including emails from the CEO, the intranet and management cascades. In relation to the acquisition, extensive communications were made in advance of, and after, the combining with Gamesys, and all managers used the same presentation to cascade information locally to their teams. Integration of the two company intranets has been expedited and since February 2020, the whole Group has operated on the same HR system and will have full access to the new group intranet during 2020.

We use the feedback from these interactions to shape our approach and deliver on employees’ priorities – effective communication, learning and development, rewards and benefits, equality, diversity and inclusion, and health and wellbeing.

Learning and development

Our commitment to training our staff is set out in our training policy, which is available to all employees and conveys the process for requesting training. We operate a full learner journey of training opportunities, which includes induction, mandatory compliance training (in accordance with our regulatory training matrix), soft skills, role-specific, managerial and leadership training. Extensive learning resources and leadership coaching are also available. In 2019 we delivered 5,728 training sessions, which is an average of 7.6 per employee. 3,254 of these sessions related to compliance issues (data protection, information security, GDPR, anti-bribery/corruption, anti-money laundering and modern slavery). Feedback is sought after training courses and taken into consideration for future training sessions.

Career progression is encouraged and facilitated by our Gamesys performance review objectives (G PRO). This twice-yearly process includes goal setting and performance reviews, and provides an opportunity for training needs to be identified.

To facilitate the entry of new people to the industry we employ several apprentices and also operate a formal graduate training programme.

Rewards and benefits

We provide market-aligned rewards and benefits to our employees. Standardising bonus and benefit schemes across the Company has been a priority for 2019 and new schemes were launched in 2020. Benefits offered include, amongst other things, special leave for public duties and volunteering, and an all-employee share-incentive plan.

Equality, diversity and inclusion

Gamesys Group is committed to promoting equal opportunities in employment. Employees and job applicants receive equal treatment regardless of age, disability, gender reassignment, martial or civil partner status, pregnancy or maternity, race, colour, nationality, ethnic or national origin, religion or belief, sex or sexual orientation (Protected Characteristics).

Our Equal Opportunities Policy sets out our approach to equal opportunities and the avoidance of discrimination at work. It applies to all aspects of employment with us, including recruitment, pay and conditions, training, appraisals, promotion, conduct at work, disciplinary and grievance procedures, and termination of employment.

In terms of recruitment, we give full and fair consideration to job applications by all candidates, we strive to use gender-neutral job descriptions and the vast majority of managers, including members of the executive team, have received training on fair and bias-free selection. Once in the organisation we provide equal opportunities for training, pay and career progression, enhanced maternity/ paternity leave and flexible working. Employees are entitled to request to reduce or vary work hours, reduce or vary the days worked and to work from a different location, including from home. If an employee were to become disabled during their employment, we would strive to continue their employment. We also have a number of employee networks relating to specific diversity strands. We are working with the Royal National Institute of Blind People to provide two sight loss awareness training sessions in 2020.

Discrimination (direct, indirect, associative or by perception), harassment, victimisation and bullying are prohibited under Company policy. Employees found to be in breach of Company policy will be subject to the Gamesys Disciplinary Policy which may result in dismissal.

Despite a four-fold increase in employees, the proportion of women in our workplace has remained roughly constant (2019 = 37%; 2018 = 40%), but positively we are seeing more women in senior positions. The proportion of female senior managers has increased from 24% to 28% and two of our Board directors are women.

  Male Female Total
  2018 2019 2018 2019 2018 2019
Directors of the Company 8 (89%) 8 (80%) 1 (11%) 2 (20%) 9 10
Senior Managers 25 (76%) 77 (72%) 8 (24%) 30 (28%) 33 107
Employees (total) 194 (60%) 916 (63%) 128 (40%) 37%) 322 1,453

We’re committed to paying employees fairly and the Group’s first combined gender pay gap report has been published in advance of the April 2020 deadline. In line with The Equality Act 2010 (Gender Pay Gap Information) Regulations 2017 we reported figures for two entities. Gamesys Ltd had a mean pay gap of 16.4%, and Mice & Dice Ltd had a mean pay gap of 13.0%. This disparity reflects the challenge we face in attracting females to the gambling and technology industry, coupled with reduced representation of women at the most senior levels of our business. We’re striving to improve our gender balance and aspire to reduce this gap over time. 

Health and wellbeing

The safety and wellbeing of our employees and those who visit our premises is vitally important. As an office-based organisation our safety risks are relatively low.  We mitigate and manage our risks locally through policies, processes, structures as required by, and in accordance with, local legislation.  In 2019 there was only one reportable incident (0.2 reportable incidents per 200,000 working hours). 

Our commitment to promoting wellbeing is set out in our wellbeing policy. We see health and wellbeing as an increasingly important societal issue, and recognise it as of importance to our employees. We also recognise that problems with gambling can be associated with mental ill health.

Steps that we take to promote employee health and wellbeing include providing a wellbeing subsidy, training people to be mental health first aiders, the regular review of working practices and environment to minimize any factors that could cause mental health problems and providing confidential and anonymous mental health support services free of charge. Locally organised initiatives, such as a recent ‘doggy de-stress’ day in our London office, are also held. We do not discriminate against people with mental health problems.

In recognition of the importance of this issue, we are setting up a charitable foundation specifically focused on supporting mental health-related causes.

Anti-bribery and corruption

Gamesys Group is committed to countering corruption and bribery and it is Company policy to take a zero-tolerance approach to bribes and facilitation payments paid to or accepted from, either directly or indirectly, players, suppliers, other companies and public officials. This includes payments, gifts or hospitality made or received with the expectation or hope that a business advantage will be provided, or to reward a business advantage already given, or to "facilitate" or expedite a routine procedure.  Giving or receiving gifts and hospitality reasonable to the circumstances and not for any improper purpose is permitted, however Company policy guidelines and procedures on documentation and authorisation must be followed.  Our policies are available to all employees on the intranet and this is reinforced through the Code of Conduct. Suppliers must go through our due diligence process prior to being onboarded.

Employees can raise any suspected issues of bribery and corruption through our whistleblowing process.  This includes access to an independent, third-party-hosted, whistleblowing hotline for anonymous and confidential concerns. Threatening or retaliating against a colleague or third party who has refused to commit a bribery offence or who has raised concerns of bribery, corruption or another whistleblowing matter is prohibited under the Company policy. In 2019 no corruption or bribery-related non-compliance issues were raised or fines and penalties incurred. No staff were disciplined or dismissed due to anti-corruption and bribery policy non-compliance.

All employees from prior to the acquisition have received comprehensive anti-bribery and corruption training and this will be rolled out to the rest of the Group in 2020.

Conflicts of interest

We define a conflict of interest as a situation in which the personal interests of a Relevant Person (i.e. employee, director, non-executive director, agency worker, secondee, consultant or contractor) are at odds with, or appear to be at odds with, their duties to Gamesys Group, and to its customers.  It is Company policy for all Relevant Persons to take care to avoid conflicts of interest and where a conflict of interest arises, or where a Relevant Person becomes aware of a conflict of interest, the Relevant Person must declare the details in writing to his or her line manager or to the compliance officer.  

Potential conflicts of interest include, but are not limited to:

  • Working in any capacity for another individual or entity whilst employed by the Group in a way which may materially affect the Relevant Person’s ability to carry out his or her job function.
  • Competing (directly or indirectly) with the Group for the purchase or sale of property, services or other interests.
  • Having a financial interest in a transaction involving the Group, a customer, supplier, vendor or lender.
  • Receiving the benefit of a loan or guarantee from a business partner of the Group.
  • Directing business to a supplier, or giving preferential treatment to a customer, owned or managed by, or which employs, a close relative or friend.
  • Investments by Relevant Persons and their close relatives in competitors, vendors, suppliers or customers unless they are publicly quoted companies.
  • Taking (or directing a third party to take) advantage of a business opportunity through the use of corporate property, information or position.

The requirement to declare conflicts of interest applies to all Relevant Persons, who must also declare any conflicts of interest in relation to close family members (such as a spouse, civil or common-law partner, children, step-children and parents).

Share dealing

Dealing by directors and employees is covered by our internal governance arrangements with  insider dealing by directors and employees strictly prohibited. We have policies, processes and controls in place to help ensure that directors and those employees that have access to potential inside information are aware of their responsibilities in relation to the proper treatment of such information, if deemed inside information, and all employees are aware of the penalties for failure to comply with relevant legislation. This is supported by comprehensive procedures on dealing in the Company’s securities and a Disclosure Committee that is responsible for determining whether any information constitutes inside information. In addition, we have an insider management process for identifying and monitoring which employees have access to inside information as well as notifying them about periods when they are prohibited from trading in Company securities.