In recent years, the international gaming industry has exploded, expected to surge to a staggering $179.7 billion in revenue in 2020, more than the global movie and North American sports industries combined. 

While a very lucrative industry, there are several challenges that HR leaders face, particularly regarding employee satisfaction, attrition, and retention, which need to be addressed and managed to create a workforce of happy, fulfilled employees. 

Let’s take a look at five of these challenges:

1. Managing distributed employees

Gaming companies are typically made up of distributed teams spread worldwide, with many employees working remotely. While this model enables gaming companies to hire the most talented individuals from anywhere in the world, it also presents many challenges.

It is difficult to manage teams working in different time zones and challenging to build a culture when teams can’t work face to face. HR also faces operational challenges, such as controlling the logistics of hiring employees from different countries with varying taxation laws, cost of living, and cultural differences.  

With this in mind, HR managers need to ensure that all employees, wherever they work, are well taken care of and feel part of the company.

2. Encouraging greater diversity

Creating a diverse and inclusive workforce where all employees feel comfortable and welcome is a common goal across today’s modern companies, including the gaming industry.

The gaming industry has been recognized for its lack of diversity and inclusion among employees, as shown in a recent census from the Association for UK Interactive Entertainment (UKIE), which revealed that the UK’s gaming industry is still overwhelmingly young, white, and male. An additional survey conducted in 2019 by the International Game Developers Association (IGDA) showed that only 2% of respondents identified as Black/African-American/African/Afro-Caribbean, and 7% identified as Hispanic/Latinx. 

This lack of diversity shapes the industry in many ways, including game design and production: the fact that the heroes in mainstream games are regularly represented as heterosexual white men and the predominantly male office culture found in many gaming companies. The industry has also been subject to several high-profile court cases filed by women regarding discrimination and harassment in the workplace. There is also a wide, proven gender pay gap in the sector

HR leaders in gaming companies need to confront this lack of diversity and inclusion by setting up programs for diversity hiring, creating an inclusive workplace where all employees feel welcome, and enabling them to contribute in a meaningful manner.

3. High burnout and employee turnover

Many industries require employees to work long hours, leading to burnout and high turnover rates. Gaming is no different. 

“Crunch” is a term associated with the gaming industry and refers to the periods of high stress that precede a games’ launch when employees have to work long hours under extreme pressure. 

According to the 2019 IGDA Developer Satisfaction Survey, 42% of respondents said that crunch time was expected at their workplaces, 19% reported working between 60 and 69 hours a week during crunch, and 34% said they received no extra compensation or overtime for crunch. 

These crunch periods can harm the industry’s employees, causing feelings of hopelessness, burnout, stress at work and home, and eventually leading to high employee turnover rates. 

HR leaders need to address the high levels of burnout and turnover and set policies that reward their employees and prioritize a healthy work-life balance.

4. Building a strong culture

Even when efforts are made to hire a more diverse workforce, the buck does not stop there. HR needs to create a company culture where all employees feel comfortable and welcome after being hired. In companies where employees suffer from burnout and a high employee turnover rate, building a strong culture is even more critical. 

Building an inclusive culture can be facilitated by creating a committee of underrepresented employees to hear how they view the company and pinpoint any issues. HR can also make small changes to the workplace that go a long way, such as allowing flexible work hours, rewarding employees for hard work (both through recognition and bonuses), and ensuring that employees have a healthy work-life balance.

5. Implementing a modern HRIS

Gaming companies need to start putting their people at the front and center. A modern HRIS helps HR leaders manage their processes and their people and incorporates all aspects of human resource management, such as culture, engagement, core HR processes, compensation management, and performance management. An HRIS can provide HR managers with insightful data about their employees, such as metrics on age, gender, ethnicity, pay gaps, and attrition, driving them to set up KPIs to hire more diverse teams and improve retention rates.  

An HRIS can also serve as the central source of communication within the company, helping to build a company culture and engage global teams wherever they work.

Conclusion

The gaming industry has suffered from high employee turnover rates and allegations regarding diversity and inclusion among its workforce. HR managers need to address these challenges and create an HR strategy that prioritizes diverse hiring and builds an inclusive and welcoming culture. A modern HRIS will help companies to put their people at the front and center. 


Ruth Stern

From Ruth Stern

Ruth is a content marketer at Hibob. When she isn’t working, she loves to spend her time planting flowers in her garden, baking cakes and playing the piano.