People who go into the gaming industry are passionate about what they do, but as a result they are at high risk of burnout. Nitro Games is aware of this, and invests plentiful resources in employee well-being and problem prevention. “Auntie is excellent for this. Investing in prevention is much less costly than long periods of sick leave,” says Director of PeopleOps Milka Tarkiainen.
Founded in 2007, Nitro Games specialises in the development of mobile games. It also offers its services to selected customers and has developed several successful projects for leading mobile games companies. Games developed by Nitro Games include Raids of Glory, winner of the Best Social Game Award in 2015, and Medals of War, and Heroes of Warland.
“Even if just one extended period of sick leave can be avoided, we’re doing well. The importance of Auntie in particular is reflected in our employer image and staff engagement. Using Auntie tells our staff we care about them.”
Milka Tarkiainen, Director of PeopleOps, Nitro Games
“The mobile games market has grown tremendously in recent years with the development of mobile devices. This is the niche Nitro Games is targeting also,” says Milka. “We currently have about 40 employees, half of whom work in Kotka and half in Helsinki, with a few more working abroad. Just under half of our employees are developers, and the rest work in support functions.”
All things in moderation
“It’s easy for employees in the gaming industry to get hooked on what they do – this job is a passion for many. But people in this field can easily forget their own limits, and end up having to accept that they’re still mere mortals. A lot of our staff are young people who don’t mind being tired, hungry or under pressure as long as they get to do what they love. But being young is not a superpower, of course – we have to look after our employees, and protect them from themselves if need be,” says Milka.
“As I see it, certain types of people are more prone to pushing themselves to the limit than others, and that vulnerability comes to the surface even more in this industry because of the hectic schedules, high pressure, fierce competition and the enormous need to do something amazing and unique.”
Nitro Games pays a lot of attention to well-being at work, and to problem prevention in particular. “We provide our staff with various means of helping them prevent overwhelming stress and burnout that can easily go unnoticed. One of these is Auntie. People tend to only wake up to exhaustion when their body gives in.”
“Far from glorifying self-sacrifice on the altar of work, we emphasise the importance of investing in oneself. If someone needs a day off or a holiday, it’s never a problem. We stress the importance of life outside work and offer a range of well-being benefits that can be used for these purposes.”
One of the company’s core values is the life-life balance. Life is always more important than work. Every Friday, employees take a Mentimeter pulse survey about the best and hardest moments of the week. There is a section in the survey for telling us what values you have represented this week, and how. In many cases, the answers highlight choices that are made to maintain the life-life balance, such as taking a nap or a day off.
A user-friendly means of prevention
Milka had already come across Auntie on LinkedIn, but when she was contacted by Auntie to suggest a meeting she was eager to take up the offer.
“I thought this was really promising – we had already made big investments in well-being at work. I felt that Auntie would be a good addition to that. It goes without saying that investing in prevention is always less costly than long periods of sick leave.”
“The advantage of Auntie for us is that our employees are used to doing everything via social media, by computer, and generally having everything in digital form. We have a lot of introverts working here, and many might find it intimidating to have to go to the occupational health services to talk about problems they’re having. So this kind of low-threshold online service suits us really well.”
About a third of Nitro Games’ employees are foreigners, and the working language is English. The fact that the service is also available in English lowers the barrier even further. Although only a small proportion of employees have used the service so far, the feedback has been good.
“I didn’t expect everyone to adopt it straight away. I think that even just having Auntie available to our employees tells them we care about them and are prepared to invest in their well-being. I regularly tell people about Auntie, for example in all job interviews and to new recruits.”
Pays for itself a thousandfold
Auntie has also contributed to the readiness at Nitro Games to openly discuss mental well-being. When employers adopt and invest in systems and practices that focus on mental health and emotional well-being, it reflects the company’s priorities.
“I warmly recommend Auntie to other companies. In these times, you can’t over-emphasise the importance of cognitive ergonomics. We’re really pleased with Auntie, and we’ll continue to promote it to our own staff. I’m really impressed with how easy to use and customisable Auntie is.”
“Investments in well-being are repaid a thousandfold in the benefits they bring. Even if just one extended period of sick leave can be avoided, we’re doing well. The importance of Auntie is particularly evident in employer perception, staff engagement, and the peace of mind employees feel from knowing it’s there for them. They know their employer cares about them and wants to promote their well-being,” says Milka.
Nitro Games is a Finnish developer and publisher of free-to-play mobile games for the midcore audience. The company focuses on creating games with a high production value and revenue potential for smartphones and tablets. Nitro Games specialises in the shooter game category, and can determine if there is a demand for a particular new game in the target market already at the development stage using the company’s powerful NG Platform technology and its proprietary minimum viable product process. Nitro Games has developed the following games, among others: Heroes of Warland, Medals of War, Raids of Glory, East India Company, Commander: Conquest of the Americas, and Pirates of Black Cove. Nitro Games is listed on the Nasdaq First North Growth Stockholm exchange.
More about Nitro Games here.