SlotGuru - Cecilia Paolino-Uboldi - The importance of industry diversity

SlotGuru - Cecilia Paolino-Uboldi - The importance of industry diversity

Monday, February 5, 2018 Posted by Joseph Streeter
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SlotGuru's Global Head of Commercial Affairs spoke to TotallyGaming after taking part in the ECA’s gender diversity initiative.

In December, Global Head of Commercial Affairs at SlotGuru Cecilia Paolino-Uboldi was part of the ECA’s (European Casino Association) gender diversity initiative, aimed at outlining plans and practises for increasing diversity within the gambling industry.

Key figures from the industry were at the event, which was headed by Per Jaldung, CEO of Casino Cosmopol and Chair of the ECA; Tracy Damestani, CEO of the National Casino Forum in the UK and Vice-Chair of the ECA, and Janny Wierda, Director of Security and Responsible Gaming from Holland Casino and Board member of the ECA.

Totally Gaming caught up with Paolino-Uboldi to discuss the importance of initiatives like the gender diversity initiative as well as what steps the gambling industry can take to increase diversity.

TotallyGaming: Last month you took part in the ECA’s gender diversity initiative workshop, can you reveal some of the big takeaways from the initiative?

CPU: The big takeaway is that even though we have seen some progress when it comes to embracing diversity and inclusion in the land-based casinos and the wider gambling industry, there is still a long way to go. Having a broad mix of diverse talent in casinos is imperative to the business and the broader society, it helps attract, retain and develop diverse professionals, which in turn will allow innovation to thrive, drive growth and sustain competitive advantage in the marketplace.

The outcome of the meeting was to establish a series of activities under the ECA gender diversity initiative, including awareness-raising, improving the industry image and providing a network for cooperation and mentorship.

TG: When it comes to improving diversity in the workforce how important is increasing transparency in the hiring process?

CPU: It is absolutely fundamental to increase transparency in the hiring process, in order to remove subconscious or hidden biases and prejudices that can influence perception, judgment, and action during recruitment.

We all need to recognise that there exists a natural human component of decision making. By driving awareness of the existence of subconscious bias and noting the behavioural changes needed to make the talent acquisition processes and systems as neutral and objective as possible, we can make swift and significant progress where diversity of talent acquisition is concerned. Thus, we can truly tackle the current external and internal barriers to achieving a more inclusive attraction of talent in a holistic way.

Acknowledgment of existing blind spots and being aware of what they are is the mere starting point, from which you can challenge them, change them and inspire others around you to do the same. We need to dramatically increase the awareness of these challenges around diversity to deliver meaningful & impactful change. Currently, most aren’t aware of this issue and if we aren't aware of it, we simply cannot know of how they may be limiting us and our ability to connect with the people around us.

TG: Could the integration of a process of measurability help increase diversity at all levels of the industry?  

CPU: Measurable criteria is at the very heart of all businesses and in many ways, gives true definition to success and provides the platform from which improvements are driven. Therefore, implementing a data driven approach is essential if we are to develop a successful diversity and inclusion program addressing the real barriers.  However, unless everybody in the organisation understands and believes in the many & precious benefits of diversity, the initiative will struggle to succeed.

It requires the inclusion of all employees at all levels of the organization to adopt and embrace the required cultural changes. Only then is it possible to implement clear KPI’s that align and facilitate the measurement of results and to amend where and when necessary to ensure ongoing progress.

That said, measuring doesn’t just need to be confined to the boundaries of your own organisation. In fact, sharing best practises with other organizations will lead to more active and consistent adoption across the industry.

TG: How much of an impact can Diversity and Inclusion do for progressing productivity in the industry?

CPU: Bringing together a diverse set of individuals with vastly different ranges of skills, talents, experiences, backgrounds and personalities is what every business seeks. It will give you a vibrant workforce of people who can comprehend challenges whilst delivering diverse and innovative solutions you would not otherwise be able to offer through a more one-dimensional approach.

With increased diversity in leadership and board positions, the organisation is tapping into a much broader range of leadership styles, experience and skills to manage the business with greater effectiveness. We already have many great examples of women leading successful businesses and therefore it is only a natural progression that more women be active participants on the boards of companies.

We know that when people from different backgrounds and with different points of view work together, we create the most value. To access these different viewpoints, we need a diverse talent base.

TG: What further steps can the industry as a whole take to improve diversity?

CPU: First and foremost, there must be recognition of the ongoing imbalance. Mobilising action is only possible where there exists a willingness and desire to change.

We must also recognise there is no ‘quick fix’ and that a concerted and prolonged focus will be imperative.

As with all successful cultural changes, delivery must be led at an executive level, delivered top down and infused across all employees. Broad inclusion is key for diversity to become part of the organizational DNA.

Those successful in bringing change to bear will be those who focus on the promotion of performance over presence.

TG: With the launch of initiatives like the All-in diversity project and the ECA confirming its commitment to connecting female employees to mentorship and networking opportunities, how positive is the future for diversity in the industry?

CPU: The casino industry has demonstrated many times over the years that it has an inherent ability to adapt and change. Whilst the issue of diversity is in many respects a more profound one than those addressed previously, the actions currently underway give rise to much hope and positivity going forward.

As with all projects that focus on driving true change, it will need time and also a change management approach of cultural and behavioural transformation to foster a more diverse and inclusive workplace culture in the gaming industry. I believe that change is very much on the horizon and that gaming will lead from the front as it has done so often.

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