It’s not fun to be locked out, even if you have a dream job as a game developer. that’s why Blind squirrel games, a game development services company in Orange County, California, does more to keep its employees entertained.
CEO Brad Hendricks and Kitty Mach, Senior Community Director at Blind squirrel games, increased entertainment for employees to boost morale during the pandemic. Blind Squirrel Games has made it one of the top priorities of the 110 employees in the name of their motivation and their enthusiasm for collaborating.
The management team is grateful to have been able to function almost normally with all their strength and wishes to ensure that it does everything in its power to create positive interactions and commitments with employees.
They have created social spaces such as digital clubs for employees. Using the company platform, employees can create clubs and discussion groups based on common interests such as comics and books, pets, cooking, video games, clubs. coding and board games. Employees can search for clubs, find information on where they can socialize, search for scheduled digital meetings, or schedule their own.
The company has also set up a directory where employees can find other employees’ live broadcast channels, social groups outside of BSG’s channels, the identifiers of the players they want to share so they can play together and social networks. Before the homework mandate, the company organized weekly social gatherings on Friday, and these are continuing. They organize sweepstakes to give employees digital gift cards for the grocery store or other store of their choice.
I talked about it with Hendricks and Mach. Here is a revised transcript of our interview.
GamesBeat: Did you understand how to have fun?
Brad Hendricks: Yeah I think so. We identified very early, psychologically, this will pose a significant problem for some people in the company. Obviously, we have – game developers are usually single. Not always. We also have families. But we knew that a fairly large segment of our population lived at home, perhaps alone. We wanted to make sure that we addressed what we thought at the time, it was just going to last four weeks, and then we turned into something much longer. We were happy to be one step ahead.
I tapped Katie, our community manager, who also does a ton of other things. She helped us, along with others in the organization, to develop a plan to hire employees and keep them enthusiastic and motivated and give them the tools to deal with the problems we knew were going to arise. We just didn’t know how they were going to manifest or anything like that. We just thought that the best way to keep people busy was to give them things to do outside of work. When you cannot meet, the form we are in now is the only way we could have done it. We have developed many different types of programs to keep people involved all the time.
GamesBeat: Has it been measured in a certain way, the right way?
Hendricks: I’m sure Katie has data. It is she who is responsible. For example, one of the things we do that seems to be one of the most popular – I don’t know if it’s really the most popular. But the beer on Friday, which is going to happen today at five o’clock – basically, we made it at the office normally. We went at five o’clock and turned on the taps. We have taps in the office. We would all have a beer. We decided to continue. We have a virtual beer on Friday at five o’clock, and everyone is riding Zoom. We also have teams and other types of technology, but we thought Zoom was the best way to do it, because we can do fun things with Zoom, like giving prizes and things like that.
GamesBeat: How have you been adventurous with this? Have you thought about sending beer to employees?
Hendricks: We did not do it. I guess we were a little concerned about the liability there. We thought people could have their own beer. We have sent gift packages. In fact, I think it was last week. We sent snacks to everyone in the company, wherever they were. We have remote employees who are in other states. It included healthy snacks and stuff like that. And then during Beer Friday every – I think it’s twice during Beer Friday, we’re going to spin the wheel and everyone’s name at the event, we’ll give a prize . It’s funny.
Kitty Mach: In fact, we started our social evening on Friday in March. Brad was awesome – immediately when we left at a distance, we needed an option to keep people engaged and give them a place to socialize. We have found a way to make regular beer Fridays digitally. We put it in place and we do it every Friday. We have collected feedback from employees, which they would like to see. We have organized raffles where, if you show up, we will give you your choice of digital gift card for any service. We all order things online now because a lot of people can’t get out.
Tonight we are even doing a pub quiz where we do anecdotes and people can participate in fun categories. We also offer prices. We’ve been doing it every Friday since the end of March, and it’s getting more and more popular. More people came. Now is a great time for people to step down from work, come, say hello and show what they are doing. We like to leave it open so people can come and go as they would at the office.