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. 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. In 2020, despite the survey being conducted during the pandemic, we are proud to have achieved an even higher year-on-year engagement score of 92% (2019 = 89%). Ad hoc surveys on topical issues (for example the company’s response to Covid-19) are also issued.
  • Monthly company updates: Videos led by the CEO and CFO update employees on company commercial and financial progress.
  • Quarterly updates: These in-depth updates include video presentations from the Directors and other senior leaders of the business. Subjects covered include strategy, business and functional updates, as well as presentation of our G FORCE awards, which recognise employee contributions to the business. Each of the ten peer-nominated winners from across the business receive £1,000 plus a trophy.
  • Employee Voice representative: Katie Vanneck-Smith, Non-Executive Director, has taken on the role of the Board’s Employee Voice Director. Frequent meetings are held to gather employee perspectives from representative samples of employees across the business. Feedback is shared with the Directors of the business.
  • Employee networks. Our BAME (Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic), GLOW (Gamesys League of Women), LGBTQ+ and Parents communities provide forums for employees to share experiences and ideas on how to make the business more inclusive. These four networks also provide opportunities to raise awareness on key matters via internal campaigns and expert guest speakers.
  • 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.
  • Employee Representatives: We respect our employees’ right to freedom of association and collective bargaining, provide appropriate facilities and engage with employee representatives on reorganisations and other relevant matters. Worker representative groups are not commonplace as feedback channels have always been part of the organisation’s open-door culture, however we have a handful of employee representative groups in operation, representing around 1% of our employees, covering general employment conditions, our workplace environment aswell as wellbeing and culture initiatives.
  • Direct communications: We have a wide range of tools that we use to communicate business information with employees, including emails from the CEO, our streamlined and reinvigorated Group-wide intranet, internal social networking and management cascades. With the shift to home working resulting from Covid-19, communication has increased and adapted, with regular on-line team meetings, both for work and social purposes.

We use the feedback from these interactions to shape our approach, focus our effort on sustaining a high level of employee engagement 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 global regulatory training matrix), soft skills and role-specific training. Extensive learning resources and leadership coaching are also available.

In terms of soft-skills, we operate a number of long-term structured training programmes. All employees are eligible to participate in these level-specific schemes. The six programmes cover graduates, employees, aspiring managers, managers, leaders and senior leaders.

A number of significant enhancements have been made to our role-specific training this year, including the introduction of industry expert Academies. The Marketing Academy, launched in Q4 2020, provides role specific training to all marketing personnel and covers the full spectrum of role requirements including responsible marketing. Technical and Operational Academies are now in development.   

Feedback is sought following all training courses and taken into consideration for future training sessions.

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). Following our merger with Gamesys extensive work has been undertaken to streamline and centralise our training management and measuring systems, and we look forward to being able to report more extensive training metrics next year. Our training budget for 2020 is £650k, equivalent to 1.7% of spend on wages and 0.2% of turnover in 2019.

Career progression is encouraged and facilitated by our Gamesys performance review objectives (‘G PRO’). This twice-yearly process includes goal setting, performance reviews and career planning, and provides an opportunity for training needs to be identified. In August 2020 88% of all employees and 99% of eligible employees (post probation) completed this process. Employee bonus payments are directly related to both employee performance and company performance (assessed by G PRO rating and EBITDA respectively). Our career progression policy and framework includes:

  • Short- and long-term strategic workforce planning.
  • An internal jobs board, and commitment to advertise all positions internally for two weeks prior to any external advertising.
  • Communication of senior job opportunities to all personnel in the same department as the vacant role.
  • Personal career progression plans and tailored training. This is currently done through the G PRO process but a dedicated new tool is being rolled out. This product will empower employees to proactively explore career paths, assess readiness, and address gaps through targeted development plans.
  • Assessment of line manager performance in relation to human resources management via the annual employee survey.
  • Mapping of role/job to skill requirements in order to facilitate employee progression. 

We completed the integration of JPJ and Gamesys resource management systems in February 2020 and between then and the end of September, 147 employees were promoted and 21% have moved role internally.

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’re committed to providing market-aligned rewards and benefits to our employees.

Following the joining of Gamesys and JPJ in 2019, bonus schemes across the Company were standardised. Remuneration is linked to performance, as assessed through the bi-annual ‘G PRO’ process.

Employees receive a suite of benefits that are tailored to the local area and norms. Benefits offered may include special leave for public duties and volunteering, health insurance, life insurance, pension and a recently launched all-employee share-incentive plan.

Wherever possible we endeavour to provide stable employment for employees and minimise redundancies. In the twelve months since the joining of Gamesys and JPJ, less than 2% of the combined workforce have been made redundant. We manage redundancies responsibly and provide reasonable notice and meaningful financial compensation.

Equality, diversity and inclusion

At Gamesys Group, we take pride in the level of diversity across our employee base.

We are an international community that brings together many nationalities and ethnicities. At the end of September 2020 we employed people from 74 different nationalities in our 14 different offices. We foster a culture of mutual respect and inclusivity and our commitment is detailed in our Code of Conduct and within our Gamesys DNA. We are guided by those values in everything we do.

We are an equal opportunity employer

We are committed to promoting equal opportunities in employment. Employees and job applicants receive equal treatment regardless of race, colour, nationality, ethnic or national origin, age, disability, sex or sexual orientation, gender or gender reassignment, marital or civil partner status, pregnancy or maternity, religion or belief.

Our Equal Opportunities Policy sets out our approach to ensure we avoid 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.

We give full and fair consideration to job applications by all candidates, we prepare gender-neutral job descriptions and train our managers and members of the executive team, on fair and bias-free selection. Our employees are provided with equal opportunities for training, pay and career progression, as well as enhanced shared parental, maternity, paternity leave and flexible working. In all our countries of operation maternity pay meets or even exceeds legislative minimums.

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 make reasonable adjustments to continue their employment.

We’re committed to paying employees fairly. An employee’s reward package is set individually based on the role, level, knowledge and experience of the employee. We benchmark our pay internally to ensure internal consistency and comparability. We also conduct external benchmarking exercises to ensure fairness and objectivity in line with the relevant market. We pay equally where there are equal roles and performance.

The combined Group’s first gender pay gap report was 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 – these showed a mean pay gap of 16.4% for Gamesys Limited, and a mean pay gap of 13.0% for Mice & Dice Limited - see here.

This disparity reflects the challenge we face in attracting females to the gambling and technology sector, 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.

 

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%)

537

(37%)

322

1,453

We have zero tolerance for harassment or discrimination

Discrimination (direct, indirect, associative or by perception), harassment, victimisation and bullying are prohibited under the Company’s Anti Bullying and Harassment policy. Gamesys Group always takes serious breaches of this policy very seriously. Allegations regarding potential breaches of this policy will be treated in confidence and investigated in accordance with our Grievance Policy, or Whistleblowing Policy, as appropriate. Any employee who is found to have committed acts of discrimination or harassment will be subject to disciplinary action. Such behaviour may constitute gross misconduct and, as such, this may result in their dismissal.

Gamesys recognises that sometimes discrimination can be unintended, or more subtle – due to unconscious biases that may impact the decisions people make.  We do everything we can as an organisation to educate employees across the company about this, and our group-wide learning and development programme incorporates education to support our colleagues in this regard.

In addition, we check for unintended bias across employee ‘touchpoints’ to make sure we can say, hand on heart, that we are fair, respectful and actively mitigating against any possibility of discrimination.

We make sure our people have a voice

We don’t want our people to be afraid of speaking out about anything that they think isn’t right. Inclusion means giving everyone a voice and making sure it is heard, without fear or favour. We want to ensure that our people feel empowered to discuss any issues around diversity and inclusion, the freedom to speak up and call out poor behaviour, and the assurance to know that leaders and managers, as well as colleagues, will support them. 

We run regular listening forums and training interventions to continue to nurture this culture of openness and continuous education. We also have a number of employee networks relating to specific diversity strands. Employee networks enable colleague communities to have an ongoing voice to input into policy making and supporting information exchange, education and community events. They also provide a platform for mentoring and reverse mentoring, as well as a safe place for discussions to take place. 

We support our employees to ensure interactions with our players remain positive

We foster a trusted relationship between our players and our employees and this is central to our objective of delivering an entertaining and safe gaming experience.

On occasions however, our colleagues may be exposed to views they may find offensive, whether these are related to race or ethnicity, sexual orientation, age or gender, or any other commentary. In such scenario, we support their right to no longer engage with any player who might have offended them, however inadvertently.

Our employees are empowered to make the Gamesys Group’s position on this clear, which is that we ask our players not to discuss social or political issues, as this might lead to difficult conversations for our people and could unintentionally cause offence. We may then follow up with players to reinforce this point, depending on the nature of the comments. If a player continues to give offence, we will take further action, which may even result in us closing their account.

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 2020 there were no employee or contractor reportable incidents (reportable incident rate = 0; fatalities = 0).

We see health and wellbeing as an increasingly important societal issue encompassing more than the health and safety of individuals within our offices, but rather a holistic approach in caring for our people and their physical and mental well being; we recognise it as of importance to our employees.  We do not discriminate against people with mental health problems.

Steps that we take to promote employee health and wellbeing across are offices include:

  • Providing health and life insurance and a wellbeing or gym subsidy to all employees.
  • Training all managers to be mental health first aiders (currently being rolled out across the company).
  • The regular review of working practices and environment to minimize any factors that could cause mental health problems.
  • Monitoring absenteeism and other stress indicators, including use of Employee Assistance Programmes and feedback on employee opinion surveys. Our sickness related absence rate from February 2020 to October 2020 was 0.7%.

Locally organised initiatives, include the provision of confidential and anonymous mental health support services, wellbeing-related webinars, online fitness sessions and mental health sessions. 

The health of our employees has been a particular focus this year because of the Covid-19 pandemic. Employees across the globe have successfully transitioned to working from home in a very short space of time. We have made available £125 per employee to be spent on improving home working environments, and teams around the world have participated in the Virgin Global Challenge to keep active. Support sessions and activities specifically targeting at those ‘parenting whilst home working’ have also been held.

Anti-bribery and corruption

Gamesys Group is committed to countering corruption and bribery in all it’s forms.  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/or 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 Group-wide Anti-Bribery and Corruption Policy is available to all employees on the intranet and this is reinforced through our Employee Code of Conduct.

Suppliers must go through our due diligence process prior to being onboarded. This includes risk assessment by a comprehensive third-party screening tool and any incidents of Director corruption would be picked up through this process.

Compliance with our Anti-Bribery and Corruption Policy, along with all other Group policies, procedures and Code of Conduct, is periodically monitored by our internal audit function. An internal audit calendar is derived on a risk-based approach across business segments and processes, and executed accordingly. The risk of non-compliance with anti-bribery and corruption legislation, amongst other business risks, is captured and scored as part of our risk management processes and logged on a Group Risk Register.  The Group Risk Register is reviewed by the Group Risk Committee and the Audit and Risk Committee at board level. The activities of the internal audit and risk management function are overseen by the Audit and Risk Committee.

Employees can raise any suspected issues of bribery and corruption through our whistleblowing process. This includes access to an independent and 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, no staff were disciplined due to policy non-compliance, no external investigations of allegations occurred and no fines or penalties were incurred.

All employees receive training on bribery and corruption as part of the compliance induction process. Relevant roles also receive more in-depth targeted training. Our corruption related training was refreshed in Q4 2020 in-line with updates to the Group’s policy.

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.