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By Verónica Miñano, Head of Talent Acquisition at Kwalee

When I joined Kwalee back in 2016, I had to build our talent acquisition department from scratch.

Back then we were a company of only 23 employees; we are now up to 90 and growing fast, firmly established as the UK’s biggest hyper-casual mobile games company.

But when you’re growing at this rate, it’s very easy to change the fabric of the company in ways you did not anticipate, and to lose things that were previously important to your working environment.

This is especially true if you are making big changes like opening new offices, establishing new departments and creating more opportunities for remote working.

So here are my biggest pieces of advice on building a company culture that is resilient to these kinds of changes and that can survive even the most dramatic upheaval – including the events of 2020!

Identify and celebrate the pillars of your company culture

Company culture does not, and cannot, appear out of nothing. The first step is to identify what makes your company a great place to work and what employees already love about it, before enshrining these things as core values.

For Kwalee when I joined in 2016, the obvious example was how creatively everyone worked and the freedom people had to pursue their own ideas.

The clear way to develop this was to formalise this process to make it not only a fundamental influence in the company’s success going forward, but also something that could be used to embody our values as a company and set the standard for how we work.

Creative Wednesdays are now a weekly institution, encouraging employees of all roles and experience levels to pitch their own game ideas to the rest of the company. Those that find favour with the team have a chance to be made, and this approach has been behind nearly all of our global hits!

Not only does this approach filter through to every other area of the company in terms of encouraging new ideas and experimentation, it shows everyone that their ideas are valued highly – and that goes for prospective new employees too, who can see straight away from this that we are serious about these principles.

Our lunchtime pool, table tennis and Smash Bros. sessions are great, but these aren’t the things that build culture; it’s important to develop more lasting practices that can define your workplace no matter how much circumstances change.

Consider culture fit just as much as talent

We all want the most talented people to be part of our companies, but if you’re serious about building a company culture you need to consider how well an individual will fit into your team first and foremost.

An applicant could have the perfect range of skills that you’re looking for, but not be the best fit for the culture you have built. It’s easy to overlook this but a culture can begin to shift very quickly and it’s crucial to maintain this as you grow by hiring the right people.

Establish continuity to ease transition

Kwalee will soon be establishing our first overseas studio in Bangalore, India, and the first decision we made was that this will be the extension of our Leamington Spa headquarters in every way. While the official opening has been delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we are already hiring in the region and will be opening as soon as it is safe to do so.

The two will collaborate as a single entity, with departments and teams made up of members from both Leamington and Bangalore, and the look and feel of the Bangalore studio will mirror that of our headquarters as much as possible.

Crucially, all employees, whether in Leamington Spa, Bangalore or working from home, will be eligible for participation in Creative Wednesdays and our generous profit share scheme. This consistency is key when attempting to scale a company, everyone will be happier knowing that the team is aligned, and it will be far easier to replicate success from an established blueprint.

These are just a small selection of tips, but the truth is that building and maintaining your culture should be a daily consideration! And if you like the sound of ours, our team at Kwalee is growing all the time and you can find all our open positions here.

About the author

With more than a decade of HR and recruitment experience, first in the engineering industry and more recently in gaming, Verónica Miñano has built Kwalee’s Talent Acquisition team from scratch and has overseen the company more than tripling in size in less than four years. She is passionate about how different personalities and skill-sets can be best combined to create a harmonious and creative working environment.

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