We believe our success lies with our people. We are dedicated to diversifying both our workforce and audience, and we promote equal opportunities and inclusion for everyone – regardless of gender, age, nationality, race, religion or political opinion. If something isn’t what it should be, we empower our employees to speak up. We are committed to providing a safe, healthy, dynamic and fun working environment that makes our people proud to be part of MTG.
Jennie Jacobs, Head of Human Resources at MTG UK
Jennie, MTG conducts an employee survey every year. Why?
Our employee survey is an opportunity for us to say what’s working well (and what can be improved) at MTG. It complements the conversations that take place across the organization throughout the year, and it’s a great way to get a holistic view of what’s on people’s minds and to make sure we’re setting the right priorities.
All responses are confidential, and the survey is managed by an independent partner. In 2017, we were able to benchmark MTG’s results against our external peers for the first time. This benchmark includes 500,000 responses over 200 organisations, both in the Nordic region and internationally, and helps us put our figures in a meaningful context.
What were the 2017 survey highlights?
The energy and commitment of MTG’s people comes through very clearly. Of all our employees, 84% think it’s fun to go to work, 88% are proud to be at MTG and an amazing 94% say they are willing to make an extra effort to make us more successful.
It’s a similar story when it comes to leadership, where we outperformed the benchmark. The survey divides leadership into several sub-categories, and amongst other questions asks employees whether they feel respected by their manager. We scored highly on this specific question, which reflects well on the working environment and culture at MTG.
The survey response rate was 87% for the Nordic businesses and 76% for MTG overall. This gives extra weight to the results and underlines that we have a lot to be proud of together.
Where do we need to improve most?
The survey shows that we can do even more in terms of diversity and internal mobility. MTG’s Human Resources teams already have ongoing initiatives in both these areas and we’re committed to making further progress in 2018.
In addition, I see the need for clarity as a key theme in the survey responses. The media industry is continuously changing, and MTG is on a very exciting journey to become a global digital entertainer. It’s important that everyone at our company knows how their day to day activities support MTG’s strategy and drive the performance of the business.
How will we achieve this?
I think continuous dialogue, especially at the local level, is the key. Regular discussion between managers and employees, whether it’s team meetings, one-on-one catch-ups or just taking a coffee together, can help us connect our roles to the big picture. That’s how we can fully harness the incredible energy of the people at MTG – and the best thing is that we can do it any time of the year.
Andreas Karlsson, Lead Recruiter
Andreas, what attracts people to MTG?
As the lead recruiter for MTG in Sweden, I meet people every day who are really excited about the idea of working with us. Many talents see us as a company that shares their ambition and entrepreneurial spirit, and they perceive MTG as a leader. Visible, innovative brands like DreamHack and Viaplay play a big part in that. Everybody knows the media business is transforming fast, and companies that embrace this change, like MTG, are the places people aspire to be.
Could we become more attractive?
Employer branding is a big focus for us. We want even more people to know that this is a great company. You can really feel our values – smart, bold, fun and engaging – in the atmosphere here, and we have a culture that’s both dynamic and supportive. That’s reflected in everything from our internal mobility policy (in Sweden and Finland, 28% of recruitment in 2017 were made internally) to our commitment to a healthy work-life balance.
I also think MTG can become an even more diverse workplace. We’re making progress – our gender split at recruitment is almost equal today, for example – but we can do more. There’s so much evidence to show that teams who mix genders, backgrounds and ages are more creative, sustainable and successful. That’s better for our business, and much more fun, too!
Which practical steps are we taking to increase diversity?
We’re now posting most of our job ads in English, and we’ve also refined the way we write them to make sure we’re engaging a diverse and global audience. A good ad creates interest and gives you reasons to apply, rather than putting up barriers.
In addition, we use third-party tools that assess candidates’ problem-solving capabilities, personal strengths and other relevant factors. It’s an insightful complement to the information we get from a resumé, and of course from face-to-face interviews, and helps us ensure we’re always recruiting solely on talent and potential.
What’s the aim of our management trainee program?
Our management trainees spend 12 months working closely with MTG’s senior management on a wide range of strategic projects. It’s an opportunity to learn about our business in a very intense, hands-on way, and many trainees go on to successful careers with us. We had nine trainees in 2017, and the number of applications we received, coming from all over the world, exceeded our expectations for the 2018 program.
Why are people so important to the success of MTG?
Our people are our company – #wearemtg! Businesses come alive when employees thrive, and I think MTG is very good at giving everyone a mandate to explore, innovate and push boundaries. We all have a role to play. That’s what attracted me to the company two years ago, and it’s great that so many people want to be part of it today.
Diversity and equality
Sophie Gratadoux, Global Mobility & Diversity Manager
Sophie, what’s it like to be MTG’s first ever global mobility and diversity manager?
I joined MTG in March 2017 and it’s been a fantastic experience so far. MTG is an international company with people from so many different backgrounds, so working with mobility and diversity gives me an opportunity to make a direct impact on our business. From day one I’ve been given a lot of responsibility to drive activities and to challenge our ways of thinking.
Why is diversity so important for our business?
Diverse companies have been shown to be more creative, innovative and competitive than other companies. That means we aim to understand, respect and value each other’s differences, and that we’re committed to equal opportunities for everyone. When it comes to recruitment, promotion and training at MTG, what counts is competence, experience and performance. It’s about being the most successful business – and the best workplace – we can be.
How diverse is MTG today – and what are our targets for the future?
Today, 59 nationalities are represented at MTG, and our recruitment gender split is 48% women and 52% men in Sweden and Finland. However, we’re less diverse at the management and executive levels. Overall at MTG 32% of new hires are women and 68% are men.
Our diversity work is currently focused on three priorities. Firstly, we’ve set the target of a 50/50 gender split in our executive team by 2020. Secondly, we want to increase female representation in the media and tech industries. And in general, we’re looking to broaden the scope of diversity at MTG, particularly when it comes to inclusion. After all, even if you have diverse and equal teams, you can’t trigger the benefits of diversity if people don’t feel included.
Which actions are we taking to reach these targets?
In 2017, MTG’s Human Resources department in Sweden commissioned a report on gender diversity from McKinsey, who presented their findings to the MTG Sweden management team. This research then formed the basis for a workshop where our Human Resources leaders from Scandinavia and the UK came together with MTG’s Corporate Responsibility team to to develop a gender bias training. I’m now localising this training and delivering it across the company – by the end of 2017, we’d already reached a total of 41 people.
How does the gender bias training work?
The training starts by introducing diversity and why it’s important, and then explores the effects of unconscious bias. The aim is to encourage participants to reflect on how they make decisions, in relation to others and to themselves, and the feedback has been very positive.
There’s one thing in particular that often surprises people. We show a ripple effect simulation that reveals how even the smallest action can have positive consequences. It’s something I think about in my own work too – if that’s the power of small actions, just imagine what big ones can do for our business and our people.
Veronica Sjöstrand, VP Human Resources at MTG Sweden
Veronica, what’s the most rewarding aspect of working with human resources at MTG?
I think it’s the fact that human resources themes are so high on the agenda across the whole organization. I work with MTG in Sweden and Finland, along with Splay Networks and DreamHack, and I have a remit to create a more integrated environment where we share resources, policies and cultures (while respecting the diversity of our companies, of course). Our managers are very supportive and that allows us to be ambitious. I love having this opportunity to build something that benefits our employees and business so directly.
Why is the ongoing #metoo movement so significant?
For too long, some people in the media industry (and elsewhere) have had the power to treat other people badly, simply because of a culture of silence. When that silence is broken, so is the power. That’s what makes #metoo important, and I hope it leads to long term change for the better. Today, we can have more open discussions about sexual harassment in particular and bullying in general – both at an industry level and as an employer too.
How has #metoo impacted MTG?
First, it’s vital to emphasize that MTG has a Code of Conduct that all employees are required to read and sign. We always investigate any reported violations of this Code, with support from external partners if necessary.
In 2017, there were no investigations related to sexual harassment at MTG. During the year, we conducted two larger investigations into claims of bullying. As a result of these investigations, we chose not to renew the contract of one individual and issued a written reprimand to another.
How will we do better in the future?
In addition to MTG’s Code of Conduct, we have a local policy in Sweden relating to victimization. We conduct mandatory training for all managers in Sweden that covers both documents, and we’re now extending this training to everyone employed by MTG in Sweden. By the end of 2017, we’d already trained 45% of our managers and the feedback has been really positive – in particular, people tell us they understand their responsibilities more clearly.
We’re aware that specific challenges can sometimes arise in production environments, so we’ve also renewed our Supplier Code of Conduct. This clearly sets out the high standards we expect from all our partners, who starting from November 2017 were required to sign the Code before starting work on any production.
Overall, I think MTG’s management teams have done a good job in communicating the importance of what we’re doing here. Leadership by example is essential in this context, and I’m happy to say that our management understands that an equal and respectful workplace is not negotiable.
What are your other priorities for 2018?
We’re focused on continuously improving our human resources tools and structures to support the continued success of MTG and our people. There’s so much that’s good about our company, but we want to make MTG an even more innovative, stimulating and above all fun place to work – for all our employees.
Women in esports
Yvette Martinez, Chief Operating Officer, ESL US
Yvette, how did you get involved in the esports industry?
I came to ESL two years ago with over a decade’s experience from the tech sector, and I’ve never felt so excited about an industry’s potential! Millions of fans around the world, passionate employees and great young companies ready to take the next step – esports is everything I look for. My role is to bring structure and scale to ESL’s increasingly complex and dynamic business, and everybody has been incredibly supportive, even though I don’t have a gaming background.
How would you assess the current levels of female engagement in esports?
My view is that the landscape is nuanced. It’s great to see so many female streamers, some of whom are role models for millions of followers. In fact, women now account for 40% of gamers in the USA and that’s probably an underestimate, since many play under androgynous names online.
On the other hand, fewer than 15% of esports competitors and fans are female. Things are improving, but ESL, the industry and the community can all work harder to nurture diversity and bring those two numbers closer together. It’s a mistake to assume that women aren’t interested in watching, playing and attending esports events.
What is ESL doing to encourage more women into esports?
In 2015, we partnered with Intel to launch AnyKey, an advocacy organization dedicated to supporting diverse participation in esports. AnyKey focuses on research to build greater understanding of diversity challenges and on initiatives to address those challenges. One very visible example is the diversity and inclusion pledge that we ask everyone participating in ESL’s events – whether online or in person – to sign. So far 273,235 individuals have signed the pledge.
At our biggest event of the year, Intel Extreme Masters Katowice 2017, we hosted an all-female tournament where the world’s best women’s ‘Counter-Strike’ teams battled for a USD $30,000 prize pool. The action was so incredible we did it again in 2018, this time with USD $50,000 on the line.
Are all-female tournaments more effective in promoting diversity than mixed tournaments?
With equal levels of investment and training, there’s no reason why women can’t compete directly against men. There’s no relevant physical difference that requires separate competitions. But for that to happen, I think we need to start much earlier – by teaching our daughters and the young women in our lives that competitive gaming is a positive activity, and by supporting their participation at the casual and amateur levels. We also need to do a better job telling the stories of females competing, casting, managing teams and working in the industry.
How about ESL as a business?
We are proud that we have increased the representation of female employees in the US from 14% (2016) to 24% (2017). One simple but effective step was changing the way we advertise for new colleagues: we no longer post jobs for esports project managers, for instance, simply for project managers. Focusing purely on skillsets makes us a more accessible employer, as I’ve personally experienced. I may have a very relevant tech background, but just before coming to ESL I was COO of a luxury beauty start-up. That’s a very different world from esports – although helping ESL take our vision forward in an inclusive way has a beauty of its own too.
Women in gaming
Julia Salomon, Product Manager Elvenar at InnoGames
Julia, what’s the idea behind ‘Elvenar’?
‘Elvenar’ is a browser game with a fantasy theme. The aim is to build cities, develop strategies and interact with players on a big world map. We want to bring cool gaming experiences to a mainstream audience as well as our hardcore fans, and when creating ‘Elvenar’ we gave a lot of thought to designing visually attractive characters, and to ensuring the game is easy to play yet complex enough to hold your attention.
Who plays the game?
We expected a gender split of 75% male and 25% female, in line with our previous games. It’s turned out to be 52% male and 48% female, and their behavior is really interesting – our players usually fall into one of four categories, and 61% of female ‘Elvenar’ players (by far the largest category) are ‘Peaceful Explorers’. That means they’re motivated more by socialising and immersion in the story than by action and competition. Of course, you can still play in a competitive way if that’s what you enjoy!
Does InnoGames support female developers as well as female gamers?
Absolutely – my colleague Ulrike Kunkel and I are both Elvenar product managers and we have female colleagues in most areas of game development. We hope these numbers increase in the coming years, and we’re working to accelerate this through initiatives such as the annual Girls & Boys Day in Germany, where we invite young students to our offices to show them just how awesome it can be to create games for a living.
How did you start your career in this field?
It was quite an unexpected direction for me – I studied nutritional science and began working with a small studio developing an educational title for the Nintendo DS. Straight away, I liked the friendly atmosphere and the constantly evolving challenges of the games industry, and I’ve been involved ever since. I like the fact that it’s possible to take unconventional routes into this business, which can definitely help us create experiences that appeal to a wider and more diverse audience.
Safety and security
Thibaut Minguet, Head of Risk and Resilience
Thibaut, what’s the role of the Risk & Security team at MTG?
We aim to protect, respond and enable. MTG’s data, infrastructure and (most importantly) our people are essential to the company’s success, and the work of the Risk & Security team is all about making sure everyone here can focus 100% on what they do best. In 2017, we created a new enterprise risk framework to help achieve this in the most effective and structured way possible.
What does this framework include?
The framework has seven workstreams – Information Security, IT Security, Regulatory, People, Resilience, Security Operations and Content Protection – with a lead expert assigned to each stream. In each one, we want to identify, control and address as many relevant risks as possible.
Governance of the framework rests with MTG’s ENABLER committee, which is chaired by MTG’s CFO and gathers representatives from the whole business. Every month, the committee meets to set priorities and assign resources for risk management activities, and to address issues encountered by the work stream experts. It’s a holistic approach that ensures we have an accurate group-level picture of our risk exposure as well as a clear escalation process for each work stream.
Were there additional developments in 2017?
Yes – 2017 was a busy year for the Risk & Security team. We recruited MTG’s first ever Chief Information Security Officer, who has now completed a cyber-maturity assessment of many MTG businesses. We supported our esports companies with event security and reviewed physical security at some of our critical locations. In addition, we’re making it simpler for employees to report incidents through an online portal and we’ve launched information security e-learnings.
On an industry level, we continued our engagement with the Audiovisual Anti-Piracy Alliance and Nordic Content Protection organizations through quarterly meetings where we share intelligence and best practices.
How do we engage employees around risk and security issues?
We’re here for our people – and the more our people are there for us, the better we can be!
We ask all MTG employees to use our tools, take our trainings and speak up if something doesn’t seem right. We’ve also appointed 45 Security Champions across the organisation to be our local voices, to help implement initiatives, and to be our first point of contact when we engage with different parts of MTG. We have a monthly virtual catch-up and meet once a year for a workshop. All this helps us get closer to the business, align our priorities and make MTG an even safer and more fun place to be.
Reach for Change
MTG is a co-founder of Reach for Change, together with Kinnevik, Millicom, Tele2 and the Stenbeck Foundation.
Reach for Change is a foundation that helps social entrepreneurs develop solutions to pressing issues for children and youth. Since launching in 2010, Reach for Change has expanded to 18 countries and supported more than 900 social entrepreneurs, who in turn have positively impacted the lives of more than 3 million children.
In addition to its co-founder role, MTG runs the Game Changers initiative together with Reach for Change, where MTG’s brands use their platforms to find and highlight social entrepreneurs working locally to improve children’s lives.
In 2017, Reach for Change and MTG partnered to support 100 social entrepreneurs, who in turn positively impacted the lives of more than 142,000 children. This contributed towards the realisation of 10 of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (1-8, 10 and 16). We activated the partnership in several ways, including:
- Responsible content: In Bulgaria, NOVA TV broadcast a day of content raising awareness about children’s issues and the work of the Game Changers. In Sweden, Viaplay and the social entrepreneur Rosie Linder created ‘Peppy Pals’, an original series designed to strengthen children’s EQ development.
- Co-worker engagement: A total of 164 co-workers engaged with Reach for Change, including as mentors to entrepreneurs, as selection jury members and as communication ambassadors. In Denmark, the former Chelsea football player Jakob Kjeldbjerg promoted Reach for Change in social media and hosted the selection event for this year’s winners.
- Public engagement and advocacy: In Bulgaria, NOVA TV invited its viewers to participate in selecting the 2017 Game Changer, which generated an all-time high of more than 62,000 votes. In Sweden, Reach for Change gathered opinion leaders at the annual Almedalen event for a high-profile discussion on integration, with MTG Sweden CEO Anders Jensen opening the discussion and promoting it in social media.