Games are serious business at Cedar Falls-based Phantom EFX LLC, part of Chicago-based Williams Interactive. But that doesn’t mean the company’s 125 employees don’t enjoy their work.
“We have a culture here unlike any other, with flexible work hours, casual attire and office fun,” Marketing Director Brad Flanagan said in nominating the company as an Employer of Choice. “Whether it’s a Nerf gun fight at lunch or a monthly event like paintball, game night or beach day, we all like to work hard and play hard together.”
Established with the acquisition of Phantom EFX in 2012, Williams Interactive’s SoCaMo (social, casual, mobile) group has seen a number of successes, from the launch of top WMS Gaming titles in the mobile space to the development of Jackpot Party Social Casino, consistently in the top five casino apps on Facebook and in the top 10 across mobile platforms with a combined 800,000 daily active users, according to the company. Flanagan said the company also works hard to attract and keep talented employees.
“We have corporate-sponsored training available and different groups that get together monthly to share their skills and help each other grow,” Flanagan said. Employee recognition is a regular feature.
“We also have monthly all-staff meetings, where we give out ‘Jackpot’ and ‘Rockstar’ awards that are chosen by employees and come with a month-long parking spot, as well as ‘Awesome’ awards that are staff recognitions made by our peers read aloud to the whole company,” Flanagan said. “All in all, this is a company that makes the individual feel valued and fosters creativity.” A serious belief in a corporate culture has a not-so-serious side, to everyone’s benefit, said Aaron Schurman, vice president of social gaming with Williams Interactive.
“Culture is No. 1 for us, led by the first rule to simply have fun,” Schurman said. “We make games, and you simply can’t make appealing games unless you have fun doing it.” It’s a relaxed work environment, Schurman said. “We keep it easygoing and ensure every person we work with feels our passion to the product and for the company. Each day we work hard to ensure each employee feels ownership and helps cultivate the awesome environment here. It’s quite an honor to see the tremendous growth and happiness of the team.”
The philosophy works, employee Daneita Harmon said. “This is the funnest and funniest place I have ever worked,” Harmon said. “Great people. Great environment. Wonderful atmosphere and supportive of families and growing strong within the company.”
Zack Jones agreed, calling it an “amazing” place to work. “Everyone is super-nice, and there is always stuff to learn,” Jones said. “People are recognized often and even earn prizes.”
There are other rewards, too, Flanagan said. “Phantom EFX not only offers competitive salaries, 401(k) and great insurance, but they also offer two different incentive programs, depending on the job function, on top of annual bonuses,” he said.