We caught up with Thomas Carlsson, Group HR Manager, to discuss this transitional period for the workplace and what the ‘new normal’ means for Relax Gaming employees.
Relax has been experiencing rapid growth, how has this impacted the internal culture and set up?
In 2017, we were a 7-year-old company consisting of 60 people focused on delivering poker and bingo to Kindred, as well as platform and game delivery services for a few key suppliers. The rapid expansion has set a transformational change of pace that has had a big impact on staff and HR support. At Relax, we’re proud to have an exceptionally low turn over of staff and we’ve maintained this whilst growing employee numbers by over 210%. We have no aspirations to become a huge company but have forecasted these new positions to support our growth on aggregation and proprietary casino products. We need to remain agile, implement smart and scalable tech solutions but, first and foremost, hire the right people and promote a healthy work-life balance. Maintaining a culture in such a rapidly expanding company has been paramount to our executive team and is not without its challenges, but Relax is a great place to work and we want to maintain that as we grow. It’s an exciting time for the company, and perhaps one of the main things that comes out of rapid growth is the sense amongst staff that they’re having a huge impact and are personally contributing to the success of the company.
What does life at Relax look like at the moment?
The Relax team is still being encouraged to work remotely, most communication happens over Slack and video calls. The teams use different channels to keep up their usual banter and pet-photo sharing, so the Relax culture is still very much alive.
Our employees' wellbeing has always been one of our main priorities, even more so now that we’re all working from home. We’ve introduced a long-term project through which we generate awareness about a variety of areas of wellbeing amongst our teams and try to inspire different methods of self-care. One such initiative takes the form of a new mobile application that allows our employees to record daily steps, exercise and even everyday chores in exchange for sporadic prizes and raffles. This instilled some healthy competition amongst our teams and has developed into a social media platform where photos and comments are shared.
The activity everyone looks forward to the most, however, has to be our internal tournaments, where employees play our latest casino, poker and bingo products for the chance to win great prizes, and more importantly, never-ending bragging rights.
Apart from all the fun and games, we keep all branches of the Relax team in the know about company happenings with presentations delivered by our CEO, Tommi Maijala, that are recorded and circulated by email every month. A Q&A session is later held on our chat group to ensure all queries are addressed and everyone still feels a part of ongoing changes that are taking place behind-the-scenes.
These initiatives are important, especially for new members of the team that may not have experienced life at Relax pre-covid. Since our hiring requirements haven’t slowed (quite the opposite), it’s critical that they have the opportunity to socialize with other teams and offices as well as getting to know their immediate colleagues.
How would you describe the Relax team?
The Relax team has truly shown their resilience across the past few months. A quality that has come to define the company as a whole. They’ve demonstrated constant growth, motivation, and maintained their warm approach to welcoming new recruits, even if just over a computer screen. These qualities go hand-in-hand with the diverse skillset and ambitious mindset that have always characterised the Relax group. We’ve often said that at Relax, we don’t refer to an innovative mindset because it’s just a part of who we are so it goes without saying. The people we hire are those that won’t settle for something being simply “good enough” and want to critique the way we do things as a company and as an industry to drive genuine change and improvements. The thrill is in delivering something unique, new and better than the status quo and as tech people at our core, there’s a challenge in everything and we want to push boundaries as a team and take pride in our subsequent successes. The team is still a close and supportive one, despite the numbers now being so much larger.
How are you keeping tabs on your employees’ job satisfaction levels?
Anonymous surveys are distributed every so often, serving as a comprehensive temperature check. Although the responses are anonymous, we’re able to group the surveys according to each department, this allows us to accurately locate where issues lie, whilst providing each individual enough privacy to give an honest report. Team leads and managers are involved in the survey analysis of their own teams and can, therefore, step in to identify and rectify the challenges facing their teams.
Also, our managers are going the extra mile to ensure our employees are having the support they need, whether they are home-schooling children while working or if they have their very first day at Relax starting from home.
What do you look for in an employee?
Our employees are the heart and soul of this company and we do our utmost to ensure our staff turnover rate remains incredibly low. We believe that the best way to do this is to select recruits who possess not only the best credentials for the role, but whose personalities will be a good cultural fit to both their team and the company.
Our ethos holds that the right talent and technology will help us reach new heights, so although the role requirements may vary, one thing is certain, we look for people who are interested in the industry and who have ambitions to thrive with like-minded individuals.
What roles are you currently looking to fill?
We’re always on the look-out for talent across the board, whether it’s in tech, business development, marketing or support teams. Even during these unprecedented times we’ve hired more than 30 people.
Just in the past year, Relax has almost doubled in size. Today our 205 employees are spread across our 5 offices in Estonia, Sweden, Malta, Finland and Serbia. If you’re interested in a career in gaming, take a look at our list of vacancies here or send an open application here - we never turn our back on good talent.
Get in touch today, let’s shape the next gaming era together!