Alina Dandörfer, co-founder at Apparat Gaming, says that effectiveness and efficiency are more important than fruit bowls and yoga mats when it comes to company culture.

Company culture is a hot topic right now, and so it should be. The culture of an organisation acts as a mirror, reflecting the ambitions, processes, communication and ultimately the identity of the business back to those who work for and with it.

Of course, companies have had cultures for many years and the culture that exists today is often the result of past frameworks and decisions, and that’s why it’s important to embrace evolution and not shy away from what you once were.

Just like people, companies mature and change, and so does the context and environment in which the business is being run. That said, it’s important to have a company culture that aligns with current expectations as well as the goals and aspirations of the business.

Before talking more about how we have shaped our culture and how that trickles down into the games we develop, it’s important to define what we actually mean by a company culture.

For me, it is a set of official (and unofficial) rules followed by new and existing employees. While these rules can at first appear to be the same at most companies, only when you start working for the organisation do you get to understand what makes its culture unique.

That is why it’s important for applicants to understand their own expectations before applying for a job with a company so that they can be sure they align. Smart candidates will also enquire about the specifics of a company’s culture while going for the role – if they don’t align, there’s not much point in putting themselves forward.

The frameworks that form a company culture are there to allow employees to reach their full potential, which in turn makes the company succeed. It holds everyone to account and to the same standards, acting as a uniting force for the entire organisation.

Yoga mats and fruit bowls

A significant aspect of any company culture is how it allows employees to strike the right product-market-fit. While some organisations look to fruit bowls and yoga sessions, at Apparat Gaming, we take a German approach and focus on effectiveness and efficiency.

I sincerely believe that tangible effectiveness is the best way to spread everyone’s wings as there is no better motivator than seeing one’s own ideas and work take off and fly, especially when the finished product hits the market successfully.

The main aim of our actions is to create an environment of responsible action, trust, shared values and appreciation. Motivating employees behind a common goal, honestly addressing challenges and issues, being transparent and learning from failure is in our DNA.

Of course, the health and well-being of employees are vital and that’s why a lot of organisations have adopted different working practices and hours in recent years – some of which have been driven by the pandemic and the shift to remote working.

Less work, more play

In terms of working hours, we have seen plenty of companies embrace the Scandinavian model of six-hour workdays.

Elsewhere, studies have shown that changing to a four-day week has a positive effect on employee well-being, which in turn has many benefits for the company.

Employees were less stressed and had reduced levels of burnout. Likewise, levels of anxiety, fatigue and sleep issues decreased while mental and physical health both improved. Employees were able to strike a better balance with their home life, with leisure and family activities being more compatible with their work schedules.

This in turn meant organisations could offer greater equality and access to more talent as they were able to allow employees to have a successful family and work life.

This had a significant impact on the business and interestingly, company revenues remained the same despite staff working one day a week less. Staff turnover also declined while occupational health was improved leading to less absenteeism.

Of course, deploying a four-day workweek does present some challenges for the organisation and creativity is required to come up with solutions that work for both the business and its employees.

But there’s no doubt that businesses that offer shorter working hours or four-day weeks are incredibly attractive to top talent.

It’s actually reverse: our aspiration of game development influences the company’s culture

At Apparat Gaming, we develop slots with a German accent. And this means bringing core German characteristics – solid engineering, augenweide (eye candy) and our deadpan sense of humour into the slots we produce.

If we did not have a strong idea, vision in place, and a team of people that align, our games would lack the special touch that makes them truly different and stand out in operator lobbies.

That is why a company’s DNA is so important to slot studios. It is the magnet that draws in talent that aligns with the organisation’s goals and that enjoys how that company goes about achieving them.

We are a relatively new company, but our culture has evolved over the years based on the lessons we have learned and the changing landscape in which we are developing and launching slots and casino games.

And it will continue to change but at its core will always be the values we have held from day one underpinned by our passion for online casino and our magnificent home country of Germany.

This is what makes our culture unique, and what makes us appeal to certain people more than others. When it comes to it, that’s the primary purpose of a company’s culture – to establish its identity and attract the best people in the industry while providing them with the right environment to achieve their full potential.