Plarium's Ronen Gross has told us about teams and organization at the company, shared what skills Plarium considers when hiring a new specialist, and discussed measures the studio undertakes to manage burnout.
I’m Ronen Gross, Vice President of Business Development at Plarium. I hold a BSc in economics and an MBA. I’ve been working at the company for the past 8.5 years, responsible for the company's business development platform relation strategies, as well as M&A, IPs and celebrity partnerships, and any other external strategic partnerships. My team includes 3 other specialists who assist me with these initiatives.
Teams and Organization at Plarium
The company has independent development studios with full creative autonomy and a centralized HQ that serves all studios such as marketing, analytics, business intelligence, research, business development, PR, finance, legal, HR, and more.
HQ has a really engaging and attentive relationship with each studio and we’re working to maximize studios' capabilities with this support. Communication between studios is also very strong because of collaboration/communication platforms that have made working together on projects easier than it has ever been. HQ also conducts offsite meetings where the goal is for studios to communicate their experiences and learn from each other.
Hiring a New Specialist
The skills I mostly consider are good business skills, great understanding of the gaming ecosystem, analytical skills, good presentation skills, relevant technical knowledge, great communication skills, and the ability to initiate and lead end-to-end processes.
Working with Beginners
The most important thing we do is set expectations that the first month at Plarium is about settling in and understanding the culture of our company. We have a very strict onboarding schedule so there is a little uncertainty as possible for the new employee. We also assign new employees a first-day buddy to help them not only learn the current processes of their role but also to share societal norms and other aspects of the job that help to make newcomers more comfortable. The best way for them to build a common understanding with other teammates is by learning through their peers. Fortunately, much of the work at Plarium is collaborative so there is a natural learn-as-you-work element.
First and foremost we make people truly understand that they are part of a big process and not just a cog in the wheel. A lack of fulfillment is a major catalyst for burnout. We share the goals in advance and emphasize the importance of their contribution to the project and how this project is important to the company and is aligned with the broader strategy.
They are all keen and super motivated to be part of it as they understand how important their contribution is. We also give feedback on their hard work. Sometimes it’s positive and other times constructive criticism but either way they understand we appreciate and take the time to value their work. Once the project is done we let them decompress before the next project.
We encourage our employees to think freely and outside the box. It’s the only way to stay innovative and ahead of the curve. Each idea is considered seriously by management and if we see the potential, it can definitely impact strategic decisions. Plarium is a firm believer that good ideas can come from any employee regardless of title. History shows that being close-minded in business is the wrong approach.
Team Dynamics During the COVID Situation
COVID brought a lot of confusion and uncertainties at the beginning, but we quickly adjusted to the situation. Like many others, we increased the frequency of virtual meetings to several times a week. We used the additional communication to check in on employee health – both physical and mental – and make sure all employees had the right work materials to accomplish their work tasks.
We cast a very wide net in terms of what equipment we would provide employees so they feel as comfortable as possible in these challenging times. The meetings were also used to align the scope of work, follow up on tasks, and make sure the transition to working from home goes as smoothly as possible. In the long term, we didn’t see any drop in productivity. On the contrary, it even improved productivity and flexibility which is important across multiple time zones.