“Growing People” inside the Company Is More Efficient in Terms of Investments,” Head of HR at Slotegrator Maryna Martynenko

“Growing People” inside the Company Is More Efficient in Terms of Investments,” Head of HR at Slotegrator Maryna Martynenko

What are the hiring principles at gambling venues? How do gambling business owners can solve the issue of staff shortage? Read in the interview with the speaker of Kyiv iGaming & Affiliate Conference – Maryna Martynenko from Slotegrator.

Maryna Martynenko is a human resources specialist that works in industries with socially negative stereotypes, in particular, gambling. She was involved in the formation of teams in Western and Eastern Europe, the CIS, China, and Turkey, and currently is Head of HR at Slotegrator.

Interviewer: Kyiv iGaming Affiliate Conference (KiAC)

Respondent: Maryna Martynenko (М.М.)

KiAC: Tell us about your experience in recruitment for iGaming. How did you start working in this niche? What are its peculiarities for HR specialists?

М.М.: For some time in my career, I was seeking for an opportunity to change the conservative corporation model with the traditional business for something more modern, dynamic, and preferably connected to the high-tech industry.

Frankly speaking, when I was accepting the offer of the iGaming service provider Slotegrator, I could not even imagine that it was a jackpot! Working for Slotegrator, I noted such a positive moment as the possibility to realize your ideas. The industry is abundant, and our management does not limit creative initiative: you can try out whatever you want, as inactivity is worse than possible mistakes.

What did I notice when I was immersing in the industry? There is a growing number of cases when business owners act as top managers of their businesses. In such a way, they are engaged in operational activity, which allows them to solve many issues quickly and timely. Including concerning recruiting.

KiAC: What are the most common problems when you hire people in the industry with socially negative stereotypes?

М.М.: Some of the main problems are the refusal of the applicant to consider the vacant position for moral reasons (gambling is a vicious entertainment), distrust of the industry (dishonest, filthy business), as well as religious reasons. The first two factors are the ones the professional recruiter has to handle.

How to eliminate the risk of the company being unfair to the future employee or customer? You have to understand what exactly bothers the applicant and prepare recruiters for clear argumentation of every objection. People that talk to applicants have to understand and be able to explain how the anti-money laundering principle works in the company, how websites are licensed at the state level.

It is also essential that they understand how the government regulates the activity in general, how random number generators are certified, how disputes between the operator and players are regulated, etc. The draft law that is being adopted eliminates the question about the legality of the company’s operations.

KiAC: How do you assess the prospects of labor market development after the legalization of the gambling business? What new job opportunities and workplaces will appear? Whom can they interest?

М.М.: The official sources and Ukrainian periodicals report the following data: after the adoption of the law banning the gambling business, around 10,000 gambling venues that provided 200,000 workplaces were closed. You will admit that it is a serious figure.

It is obvious that with the adoption of legislation about the legalization of the gambling business, the demand will appear for such casino specialists as croupiers, dealers, supervisors, security service representatives, hostesses, KYC specialists, marketing specialists. In the iGaming industry, the already huge demand for IT specialists, talented designers, artists will grow. Many people will find themselves in customer and technical support.

Taking into account that every company has its own specifics of work and individual software, young specialists will also find a workplace. Companies are ready to teach them, offering interesting conditions of work. The development of special zones should increase the number of workplaces for tourism specialists.

Whom will they interest? Graduates, professionals tired of conservative industries, looking for dynamics, flexibility in work, willing to travel. The keynote industry events take place in rather interesting locations – Malta, London, Macao, Amsterdam.

The legalization of the business will be a good opportunity for those obliged to work abroad to do their work of love. They will have the possibility to come back home. I believe that many Ukrainian companies will be ready to make lucrative offers to people with foreign expertise.

KiAC: Will the Ukrainian market face the shortage of hiring managers? How to solve this problem?

М.М.: Not only Ukraine but also many countries of the world will face a shortage of specialists. We will solve the problem in different ways: by attracting specialists from other countries, luring them from rivals, overpaying for their expertise.

Or we will teach people the standards and peculiarities of work at our company. We will stop being afraid to hire freelancers and will finally learn to work with them. We will have to become interesting for young specialists that require more freedom at their workplace and a more flexible corporate culture. We need their flexible brain, creativity, courage and easiness of thought.

The solution to the staff shortage problem is universal for any business – be interesting for your applicant. Answer yourself why the person has to leave his or her workplace (favorite business, or change the profession) and move to your company.

And my personal recommendation – stop picking over and searching for packaged solutions. At Slotegrator, we view applicants from the standpoint whether he/she can handle the work. We do not buy their past positions and conventional skills.

KiAC: How do European countries solve the issue of staff shortage in the gambling industry? Is their experience suitable for Ukraine?

М.М.: European companies were among the first to experience the lack of qualified workforce and started their journey of training and development a long time ago. They greatly differ from our thinking paradigms of the corporate culture. In Europe, businesses understood a long time ago that “growing people” inside the company is more efficient in terms of investments and the formation of the HR brand. For managers from the former Soviet Union, the advantages of learning and development are not so obvious yet.

KiAC: What successful examples of building teams in the gambling business can you mention from your practice?

М.М.: Undoubtedly, that’s the experience of Slotegrator: our team has grown more than twofold since 2018. We have created departments of marketing, sales, and our biggest pride – the development department. We were searching for talents all over the world, which helped us to build such an interesting multicultural team.

KiAC: In what cases is it better for gambling brands to hire personnel and to train specialists? Why?

If you want to attract new expertise, adopt new experience (for example, the approach to development, a new level of customer support) and understand that you do not have specialists with such expertise, feel free to “buy” and lure people. Stop thinking, “He will leave my company in the same way”. A person with unique knowledge can bring great use even in a year. Make him work together with the most inspired employee, and encourage the exchange of experience.

For the infrastructure that you are good at (for example, you have excellent croupiers, unique testers, talented recruiters), hire people with motivation to work, required skills, and of course, train them. Develop programs intended to grow and promote your employees inside the company if you want to build an HR brand.

KiAC: How should business owners start if they decide to train the personnel for their facilities?

М.М.: They need to understand their unique features, what they do really well. To hire people that have skills for this kind of work (most of the recruiters know how to interview by competences), make a plan of training.

KiAC: What will you tell the guests of Kyiv iGaming Affiliate Conference? Who will find this information especially useful?

М.М.: I will share how we handle the issue of hiring and retaining personnel at Slotegrator. I will also speak about general trends in staff development and recruitment in the industry.

For business owners and HR, my report may be interesting from the standpoint of understanding the problematics of employee development and retention in the company. It is old-fashioned to ignore modern trends of HR management, constantly change employees, and hope that the best applicant is waiting for you around the corner, who will come and save everyone.

Maryna Martynenko will make a presentation at Kyiv iGaming & Affiliate Conference on December 18.

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