Building your team: when, why, and how — business tips
Just like any other business, gambling companies need structure and organization. Every manager wants to be surrounded by productive professionals who contribute to the company's growth. This article provides business tips about recruitment, team building, corporate culture, tracking, and creating an HR brand.
Why invest time and money in building a team?
The internet is filled with thought pieces on the importance of positive workspaces, modern companies dedicate huge portions of their budget to team-building, and social media platforms like LinkedIn are overflowing with posts praising corporations that build the right culture and bemoaning those that don’t.
But why spend the time and the money? As long as people need to work to live, you’ll be able to throw together a passable team, won’t you?
Not exactly. When you dive into it, in order to maintain — or even improve — the quality of their products, services, and reputation, both online and offline operators need professional teams to handle the problems that inevitably arise. Otherwise, daily operations are constantly disrupted by poor training and high employee turnover while revenues eventually dwindle down to nothing.
Let’s take a close look at a few reasons to take team-building seriously
It’s an old business adage that it’s cheaper to keep an old customer than to find a new one.
The same goes for your employees.
Once you invest in recruiting and onboarding a new professional, you will hardly want to go through the whole process again in a couple of months — it is simply cheaper to find a good match, keep the new hire motivated, and foster their loyalty to your company to hang on to them long-term.
Another important thing to keep in mind is the results your team can bring if you work with people properly: better teamwork breeds increased productivity, and more effective teams spur faster company growth. Simply put, the more cohesive and loyal your team is, the higher your revenues will be. This is called ROR, return on relationships — or, in other words, the effect of intangible investments generating tangible earnings.
Many businesses find that investing in building their team is beneficial for the speed and quality of their daily operations.
Startups normally start out with a small team, but once the project starts growing, the initial management team hires more employees to make more time for strategic planning. This way the company grows instead of getting bogged down by daily tasks — having professionals in their places will make operations more effective, and ensuring these professionals have a single vision of the company will only contribute to it.
Instead of wasting time ironing out every wrinkle in your daily operations, free up time for planning, strategizing, and development by gathering people who can handle daily processes and problem-solving for you.
The importance of public image can’t be overstated. There are many facets to brand awareness, including the way you as an employer are perceived. Seeing you — and your team — grow and prosper while more and more qualified professionals want to work in your company is a sign of a successful business and a potentially valuable partner.
When the company reaches a certain size, it starts releasing annual reports, where corporate culture and team make an important chapter. Having a happy, loyal, and productive team conveys your company’s stability, a huge plus in the eyes of potential investors.
When is the right time to grow your team?
Several obvious operational changes may lead to a need for new team members. Business development normally stimulates team growth as the overall workload increases. There are two main directions of business growth.
Horizontal company growth
Horizontal business development is the strategy of expanding into new markets or transitioning to a new business domain (for example, if a retail company adds a delivery direction). A new office in a different country will logically have to be filled with new specialists, also speaking other languages if it’s necessary for operation.
Vertical company growth
Adding new products or services to your offer can also require you to expand your team.
Vertical growth means offering new products and services — or new features and variations — to an existing market and product range, sometimes complementing current products and services.
If existing employees start to struggle with meeting their deadlines, this might indicate that the company is growing faster than the team. Delegation and distribution of work are keys to effective operation: some people focus on strategic planning while others work on tasks they are best at.
However, business growth and changes don’t always mean it’s time for a team to expand. Some business goals require new people but some plans are possible to execute with the existing number of employees — it might be enough to optimize and automate processes to free up resources or let employees develop and learn new skills within their position.
What categories of workers do you need?
Start-ups can consist of a minimum of people — sometimes just the founder — but with time, every area will need a responsible professional. Let’s have a look at different levels of employees.
Gambling organizers, business owners, and investors normally delegate the daily management of their project to C-level executives. Top management is responsible for the development of the whole company and makes decisions in the owners’ interests. Highly experienced C-level professionals are necessary to keep the business running, as they coordinate all the different teams that make up a project to achieve the business’s goals. These are the main responsibilities of a top-level manager:
- Development and fulfillment of company-wide policies.
- Setting policies for customer service management.
- Cooperation with the finance department to ensure regulatory compliance and financial reporting.
- Creation of partnerships with third parties such as game developers and payment system providers.
- Monitoring competitors.
- Analyzing players’ preferences.
- Cooperation with marketing and advertising specialists.
Management and team leads
Chief officers and directors collect data from the company’s management and communicate with managers directly to discuss plans and set goals. Managers and team leads, in their turn, organize their subordinates’ workflow around achieving those goals. They take responsibility for their teams, assign tasks, and provide oversight. Managers make sure their teams work as efficiently and productively as possible.
These professionals execute routine tasks, constantly maintaining high standards of quality. If players have complaints, if transactions are interrupted, if connections are broken, if you need to add new games to your platform, or if you need to promote your project in a new market — one of the team members you hire will handle it. Like the turning gears that keep a watch ticking, every team member in a gambling project matters.
Some tasks are too small to justify hiring a full-time employee but too big to fit on anyone’s plate. They might be a one-off assignment or a regular responsibility, but either way, you might turn to external assistance — outsourcing. Some common candidates for outsourcing include freelance designers, videomakers, copywriters, website developers, etc.
Home office was common for many companies even before the pandemic, but the Covid years had a huge impact: hybrid and remote work have risen to the top of workers’ list of expectations. Your remote employees are on the same team as those in-office, but some additional effort is needed to make them feel like a part of the company. Maintaining the same standard of corporate culture for both remote and in-office team members will keep internal processes effective regardless of employee location.
What departments does an online casino need?
Any business needs lawyers — especially gambling businesses. Online casinos can face various challenges, and internal lawyers can wind up being very busy. A legal team is necessary to handle different partnerships and collaborations, and they will also take care of licensing and certification, deal with expansion into other countries, and solve disputes, protecting your platform’s good name. A highly professional and effective legal department is an absolute necessity for an online casino, especially taking into account the fact that your players are not physically present, which can bring some unique complications.
Accounting and finance
This department is responsible for all internal and external financial processes. Professional accountants and financial specialists track the company’s expenses and revenue. They also assess external deals and analyze the financial development of the online casino project. Accountants need specific knowledge and skills to work with banking and payment systems, as well as an understanding of the tax system and expertise in financial regulations.
Account managers communicate with gaming content developers — or, if a casino decides to make its life easier and get all its games from a single provider, aggregators. This means they keep an eye on new game releases and make sure these games are integrated into online casino platforms as soon as possible.
They also keep an eye out for updates and special offers, including tournaments and other events that are in the operator’s interest. Apart from game developers, this team also communicates with the platform software provider, if it was not created by an internal team of developers.
These experts ensure the website functions without any interruption, 24/7.
Technical support should always be available for troubleshooting: this team is responsible for all technical processes and equipment, including any software errors or any other mistakes at any stage of the player’s journey on your online casino platform. Players have high expectations for tech support; they must react immediately to any queries or complaints to maintain the platform’s reputation.
Operators should not allow any technical failure, whether it’s a payment transaction or gameplay itself, as these kinds of frustrations will quickly drive players away. It is also worth noting that many casinos choose not to develop the software themselves, but leave it to a software provider; in this case, the software provider offers non-stop technical support.
Player support & compliance
To some, the online format can call the legitimacy of a gambling platform into question. That’s why online casinos need to make players feel secure and taken care of, and nothing builds trust in the era of chatbots like having a real person handle a complaint. As a channel of direct contact and communication, player support is one of the most important departments in an online casino business.
The most crucial elements of great customer support are effectiveness and a positive attitude. Support staff should be able to provide answers to any questions or complaints that may arise and be ready to solve any problems and difficulties players may have; their main role is to leave players satisfied with the platform’s service, in turn maintaining the casino’s good reputation.
Compliance specialists also work to ensure a company’s transparency. They handle documentation, payments, and personal data, as well as ensuring the business’s day-to-day operations are in line with KYC and AML policies. Usually, there should be four customer support operators, with three team members each working eight-hour shifts, and one specialist handling emergency situations.
The more languages your customer support team speaks, the better. They should be able to communicate effectively in English, as it is the most commonly used international language, and other languages depending on the target audience and markets of operation.
Online casinos are dead in the water without effective promotion.
First of all, there should always be a clear, focused, and sophisticated marketing strategy. It is better to develop the strategy before launch, in order to set the targets you’ll be aiming for. Marketing specialists will take care of promotion, using various marketing techniques, such as affiliate programs, SEO optimization, email marketing, social media advertisement, etc.
The marketing team suggests which bonuses to offer players and comes up with ideas on how to improve player conversion and retention rates, which have a direct impact on a casino’s profitability. Online casino promotion is challenging, as the online environment is very competitive.
Sales & business development
The sales team also communicates with players directly. These people should have a professional attitude and experience. Sales agents aim to boost the company’s revenue, using tools provided by the marketing team, but shouldn’t discourage players by pressuring them too much. The sales department must be well-prepared for possible questions and agents must know the products and services offered, as well as speaking the languages of your players.
How do you find people?
There are several options on how to find new people. If you’re counting on steady growth, it might be more profitable to have an internal HR and recruitment team to take care of the whole process, starting from position description and labor market research to organizing interviews, hiring, and onboarding.
Smaller-scale businesses normally seek out recruitment agencies that solve all the issues mentioned above. It’s a great option to save time and effort, and would also cost less than a whole internal team of professionals.
If the recruitment process is something you can’t delegate, there are a few steps you can take:
- Write a detailed position description.
- Sign up to recruitment platforms and post your job offer.
- Visit the iGaming industry events and conferences to meet people and network.
- Research your competition — top management is often lured from other companies.
- Implement referral systems, as your employees are a live presentation of your company for potential team members.
Let’s think of it this way: if an employee doesn’t pass a trial period or leaves right after it, the company has to find, employ, and often train a new one, which, in turn, creates an additional (read: unwanted) cost. Avoiding staff turnover is simply cheaper. Besides, having one loyal employee who grows their skill set over time is far more efficient than hiring and training a new one a few times a year.
Proper onboarding and training help new hires successfully adapt to the team, which is key to building the employee’s loyalty. Companies who properly onboard their employees show a 50% higher recruit retention rate.
In business terms, if the recruitment process was poor, onboarding presents the second chance to understand whether the new employee is a good fit and, if not, the first couple of months are enough to identify the problem in time.
However, if the recruitment was done properly, onboarding provides an opportunity to determine the new team member’s strengths and weaknesses, and sometimes even analyze the way the management communicates with the new employee and provide them feedback about interaction between the team and the leader.
We talked to the team at Talentgrator, one of iGaming’s leading recruitment agencies, to get some tips about effective onboarding, and here is what they recommend:
- A new employee should get detailed instructions about the company, the job position, benefits, and the internal rules.
- He or she should also get all the materials, documents, presentations, and accesses necessary to perform the job responsibilities.
- Introduce the team and its leader to the new member.
- Discuss the corporate culture and values of the company.
- Set the goals and KPIs for the productive tracking and evaluation.
It is always good to keep in contact with a new colleague, create group chats, and organize meetings to collect feedback and answer questions.
Keep in mind that managers take more time to adjust and get familiar with all the processes than team members; if an average adaptation can last up to six months, it can take management eight months to a year to start performing their tasks at the most productive level. However, a good onboarding process can reduce this period to only four months.
This is often reflected in applicable regulations, and top management officially has more time for trial — the range of responsibilities, knowledge and expertise is wider, and three months can’t be enough to perform results.
How to track performance
The bigger the team is, the more difficult it is to control it. Luckily there are common methods to evaluate employees' performance.
- Set clear and specific goals — it’s good to remember that goals are not only KPIs to track working progress, they also include employees personal growth: this can include either hard or soft skills (foreign languages for communication, time management, etc.), which can be a part of an annual review.
- Review the process at different stages by meeting or writing reports.
- Use a time and project management platform to help employees follow their own tasks and deadlines.
- Add a competition component to allow employees to compare their results.
Depending on their responsibilities, teams set Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), which may include Revenue per User, Sales per Channel, or Customer Lifetime Value. When it comes to the HR team’s performance, some examples include Employee Churn Rate, Revenue per Employee, or Time to Hire.
Description of internal business processes
Another useful tool for increasing productivity and avoiding time waste is a description of internal processes — simply put, the steps necessary to execute a certain task. Writing these descriptions will most probably take significant time, but it will save even more time and effort: new team members will know exactly what to do and have less questions, saving time on onboarding; and managers will know how to track performance and where to spot mistakes. This is especially important in case of positions occupied by one person — if there is no one else in the company doing this job, all the accesses, documents, information, contacts, and plans can be lost if the person leaves.
A typical example of the Business Process Modeling can be this:
- Go to the coffee machine.
- Check if the coffee machine is on.
- If it is off, turn it on.
- Check if there is coffee in the coffee machine.
- If not, add coffee grains to the container.
- Check if there is water in the coffee machine.
- If not, add water to the container.
- Put a cup on a coffee stand.
- Choose a type of coffee on a panel.
- Push a button with the chosen type of coffee.
Besides simple tracking, the internal processes will also be extremely helpful when it comes to improving or optimizing the working process, since they help identify weaknesses. And trust us, all successful companies invest time in producing these descriptions.
Making your team a brand
Corporate culture allows employees to identify with their employer. Employees who feel appreciated and work in a welcoming environment have higher levels of motivation and productivity, and are more likely to stay with the company.
Here are a few aspects of corporate culture:
- Caring, reliable relationships.
- Shared ideas, common vision, tolerance, and compassion.
- Opportunities to learn new skills and share creative ideas.
- Employees are driven by results, motivated to perform, and feel recognized for their achievements.
- Employees respect their leader but also believe their workplace is safe and stable.
- Employees cooperate and respect each other.
Corporate culture starts with a clear vision of the company’s present positioning and future plans, which come from shareholders or top management, and are then implemented by the HR team as a brand — the HR brand is as important as the business brand, since this is what new candidates research in the first place when considering the company. Statistically, employees prioritize their well-being, development, and professional goals over money.
The HR team seeks out candidates whose profiles they think would fit the company’s corporate culture. It also determines the future types of team building activities. Overall, a friendly, informal, and open environment encourages certain methods of communication, while a strict atmosphere with clear subordination stifles it.
It takes a lot of communication and interaction between the management and employees to unite the company with a corporate culture and HR brand. One of the most important parts of the process is fostering a culture of openness: no company can grow and develop unless management expects employees to treat each other with tolerance and respect.
Company events, welcoming offices, a clear structure, benefits, tolerance and respect towards each other, and fun (videos, games, chats, etc.) will make the office a place people want to go and spend time, not one they want to leave as soon as their working hours are done. It is also good to share the team’s life publicly to let others see how good it is to be a part of the company — this is especially important in the highly competitive iGaming industry where candidates are normally young.
When a company becomes a place where people want to apply, and the company is viewed as a great employer, it develops a better reputation among partners and competitors as well. The team becomes a brand.
If you still have questions about the topic, if you need to know details of any region regulation, or if you are evaluating benefits of attracting an external professional software developer, contact us and get a free consultation.
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