Comment & Opinion

Diverse and independent teams are the key to connecting with global audiences

Rovio's head of HR Heini Kaihu on the benefits of a diverse workforce

Diverse and independent teams are the key to connecting with global audiences

This is a guest post from Rovio Entertainment head of HR Heini Kaihu.

Our games reach audiences around the world.

As a developer creating games and other entertainment for a global audience, cultural diversity is a huge asset at Rovio.

Our 450 Rovians come from over 47 nationalities, and that’s not by accident. What better way to create the best experiences for people around the globe than by having teams made up of people from around the globe as well?

That’s not to say that Finland isn’t bursting with talented people. The healthy mobile game industry in Finland is a testament to that. However, by actively seeking talent from outside of Finland, we have an opportunity to connect to our audiences in a unique way, and bring new perspectives to our work.

By fostering an inclusive working culture that puts the focus on creating diverse and autonomous teams, and by providing comprehensive support to anyone who relocates to one of our offices to work, we have created an environment that is welcoming to people from anywhere in the world. Currently around 50 per cent of our employees come from countries other than Finland.

First a bit about our working culture. We give our teams creative freedom and autonomy to work on their projects in the best way they see fit. This is true, not only in each of our studios but also from a project to project basis within studios. This means that creating diverse teams that work well together is of utmost importance. Succeeding in creating these teams hinges on finding people who will be the best fit for our values.

Craftsmanship, creativity, and passion

When a person decides to join the team, we make the transition as smooth as possible for all new joiners coming from outside of Finland.
Heini Kaihu

In order for our games to be successful, players must fall in love with them. To make that happen, our people must be technically proficient in their craft, but also have a passion for what they do. Everyone in the team must love what they are doing, bringing their expertise and passion to every project. Making games is a multiple-disciplinary undertaking requiring vastly different skill sets.

Striving for constant improvement

We have an unofficial motto within Rovio: ‘be the best at getting better’. Although we have experience with games that have risen to success seemingly overnight, the current free-to-play marketplace is such that incremental improvements can be the difference between success and failure in the long run. Therefore, we value people who are always striving to outdo themselves and have a vision to make their projects perform as well as they possibly can. A hunger to learn and openness to change is essential.

Embracing Innovation

Continual improvement can be a winding path. It might mean making unforeseen changes to the art style of a game for example, or thinking creatively to find new ways to connect to players. For this reason, innovation is at the core of our success. This extends to the work done on our games directly, and also to technical innovations that can streamline our work process or provide new data insights that allow our teams to make better games.

By outlining these values, and giving teams the power to do their work how they want to, we strive to create an environment where every member of the team is valued greatly, and all members can rally around making the best game possible.

When a person decides to join the team, we make the transition as smooth as possible for all new joiners coming from outside of Finland. We provide relocation services to assist in getting situated in a new apartment and make sure all-important paperwork is taken care of - in addition to helping new joiners set up a bank account, get a travel card, or whatever else they may need.

It is important for new joiners to have someone in their corner who can offer support with ever-changing, and sometimes complicated, immigration policies.

Once in Finland, we conduct in-depth one on ones with all new joiners who relocated to make sure they have all the information needed, provide a forum where they can ask detailed questions, confirm they’ve taken all the required actions, etcetera., especially since every single new joiner is in a different situation.

We are always looking for ways to make the relocation process more streamlined for those who decide to move to Finland to work at Rovio. This includes things we can do internally at Rovio, as well as how we work with our relocation agency.

In conclusion, through a diverse work environment that is open to everyone, we create an inviting proposition for talented people coming from outside of Finland. We do that by sticking to our values and hiring people who will be a good fit for our teams, regardless of where they come from. The result is stronger games that appeal to our global audience.

Rovio recently partnered with Duolingo for a crossover promotion partnership across the language-learning app and Angry Birds 2 regularly posts content from a variety of guest writers across the games industry. These encompass a wide range of topics and people from different backgrounds and diversities, sharing their opinion on the hottest trending topics, undiscovered gems and what the future of the business holds.