An open mindset, agility, flexibility; the rules for success and impact would appear to be simple, even self-evident.
But not so argues André Schneider, Senior Director of People & Culture at Bayes Esports, one of the world’s top esports data providers and progressive iGaming companies.
Believing in your staff and building a flat management hierarchy are key if you are to release, indeed unleash, their talent. People, not just systems, are the key determinant for market leadership, he believes.
And esports, as a relatively young and exciting off-shoot of the iGaming industry, is beautifully placed to exploit the positives.
What happens in Berlin, exemplified by Bayes, has progressive ramifications not just for esports but the whole of gaming, “uniting bright minds with fresh ideas under one roof”.
So Enjoy André Schneider’s fascinating take on the Role of People & Culture:
The esports industry has seen tremendous growth over the past decade. With millions of fans worldwide and a global revenue of over US$1 billion, esports has quickly become one of the most popular forms of sporting competition in the world.
With such growth comes an ever increasing interest in esports-related iGaming solutions. And with more and more US states looking to legalize online gambling as well, the iGaming industry can, at least in theory, look ahead to an exciting future.
But, as any operator who has ventured into the world of esports might already know, being able to offer engaging and successful esports solutions has not been quite as easy as one might initially think.
Understanding and reaching this new target group of esports fans–as well as having the expertise to be able to set up iGaming solutions that are flexible and agile enough to satisfy these fans–requires betting operators to rethink how they want to set themselves apart from their competitors – and build success.
For operators only looking to make a small profit from esports betting, the rethinking process might only need to start at what kind of solutions they want to be able to offer, and how they are going to present them.
Entities who want to establish themselves as true frontrunners and thought-leaders in the industry will, however, have to go back much further than that: to the core principles they base their talent management and acquisition processes on.
Into The Unknown
Both iGaming, and the esports industry itself, are venturing into unexplored territory. Yet while the potential for both seems endless, those looking for a blueprint on how to capture and realise that potential, are searching in vain. Unlike other more explored and “closed” industries, in which most avenues and options for success have been tried, dissected and studied, both esports and iGaming are in a state where these steps have yet to be taken.
With esports bringing-in an entirely different target group for betting operators, live game data enabling new and innovative opportunities to offer engaging betting solutions and the digital affinity of esports fans opening up new potential avenues for sportsbooks to present themselves, the time has come for new and fresh ideas of how to establish a market-ready iGaming offering.
As is the case with such unexplored and “open” industries, the development of iGaming is not just a question of how that successful and market-defining idea will look like, it is also about who is going to come up with that idea in the first place. Those who do will establish themselves as a market leader, while others will follow.
Specifically for operators, it’s a question of how they can enable themselves to be creative, innovative and progressive enough to emerge as that kind of leader.
An open mindset and the willingness to take risks and be explorative is the solution for thought- leaders in any industry.
At a deeper level, it is about establishing a state-of-art ‘People & Culture’ approach that is so flexible and agile that it allows for a different ‘product’ other than the one that eventually hits the market to lead the way, namely: the employees themselves.
Emerging On Top
Quality people and personnel are shaped by a progressive HR and People & Culture Department. Similar to any physical product, businesses need to try to get the most out of their staff in order to be successful. But, unlike other ‘products’, successfully managing personnel not only requires people in charge to be more sensitive but also requires that every single person is also willing to challenge themselves.
Becoming a leader in an industry means being mindful of these challenges, while maximising every individual’s potential. In order to do so, traditional approaches to human resources and very strict hierarchical corporate structures need to be jettisoned. Pigeonholing new staff into strict hierarchies, with limited responsibilities and expectations, will not allow the full potential of talent to be unlocked.
What should never be ignored, or under-appreciated, is that new hires often bring their very own attributes, ideas and skills of how to best unlock the potential of the iGaming industry.
Being understanding and appreciative of the input of employees can only give operators a better foundation on which to base their decisions. It can also be a great motivator for the eventual follow-through on those decisions. Innovations are not simply built on great ideas, but also on the passion and willingness of the people behind the scenes to go above and beyond.
Employee-centric approaches that focus on flat hierarchies and individualisation can help facilitate such innovative ideas and the passion employees feel for the projects they are working on. Crucially, this switches the focus for human resources from: What can an employee offer the company, to what can the company offer the employee to allow them to be the best possible help in the exploration and betterment of the industry. Flexible working hours and office conditions, as well as offering mental and physical health benefits, are just some of the ways companies can enable their employees.
Finding The Best
These benefits also have a knock-on effect on talent acquisition processes, as they can be great assets to have in the highly-competitive market for expertise.
Moreover, this approach also requires a restructuring of the overall talent acquisition process. As the focus in corporate culture switches to the qualities of each individual employee, so too must it measure during the hiring process.
Contrary to the more traditional approaches, modern employee-centric hiring practices do not simply look for someone to be able to fill the basic job requirements, but instead search for the right person to help accelerate the exploration and growth of the industry. This means moving away from traditional job listings, and, instead, taking a sales approach to headhunting, actively seeking-out and approaching talents best suited to drive the company forward – and subsequently allowing them to bring their full range of talents to whichever position they might be taking.
This is not to say this kind of approach does not come without its fair share of risks.
Allowing more individualisation on the side of the employees ultimately results in a concession of control from the side of the employer. And it can lead to ideas and ideals being expressed that do not mesh with the company’s overall vision, and risks being taken that don’t work out in the end. The onus remains on the employer to stay flexible and agile to react to any situation that might arise and keep the company headed in the right direction.
In Conclusion, Becoming The Best
If executed correctly, this human-first approach can lead to a company culture that allows for every employee to be able to contribute to the growth of the company and industry. It fosters the exchange of ideas and innovations that can drive the development of the industry and can help establish a newcomer as a leader. Players in the iGaming industry who are looking towards esports betting in particular are in a prime position to adopt this approach and emerge as true thought-leaders and trendsetters.
Having an open mindset–uniting bright minds with fresh ideas under one roof, and daring to allow every employee to express themselves and explore opportunities more conventional competitors deem impossible–has allowed us at Bayes Esports to grow from a small tech startup to the leading source for esports in-game live data.
It is an approach that not only defines us, but one that, by extension, can go on to define the entire esports industry and even iGaming itself.
About the Author: André Schneider is the Senior Director of People & Culture at Bayes Esports. He and his team not only ensure that the brightest minds come together at Bayes Esports, but also that our office in the heart of Berlin is the coolest workplace in the entire esports industry.