Seven floors and two esports tournament broadcasting studios — photo essay about the WePlay Holding office

Ukrainian esports tournament organizer WePlay Holding has been operating since 2012. During this time, it has become a media holding company that has held 22 international events, paid $2.6 million in prize money, and opened the first European esports arena in Kyiv — the WePlay Esports Arena Kyiv. As of 2021, WePlay Holding has five sales offices: in Los Angeles, London, Kyiv, Moscow, and Beijing. In addition, the media holding company is completing the construction of its esports arena in Los Angeles.

AIN.UA’s journalist visited WePlay Holding’s Kyiv office and did a photo report. The CEO Oleh Humeniuk showed and told her how it works and also shared some tips on how to become part of the media holding company team.

Oleh Humeniuk, WePlay Holding CEO

How the WePlay Holding office works

The office of WePlay Holding occupies seven floors in a building at 21 Dniprovska embankment. The total area of the space is 2,900 sq. m. The team moved here in 2018, only taking one floor, but soon, it started to expand. The previous office was also located on the capital’s Left Bank. This location was chosen based on the management’s and employees’ preferences. 

In 2021, the company has 348 employees. To give you some perspective, 32 people were working for WePlay Holding during the same period in 2018, 202 in 2019, and 308 in the middle of the pandemic in 2020. The team works in a sprawling open-plan office, with the option to pre-book a workstation online. The office is open 24/7, even though the standard work hours are from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. WePlay Holding provides all the facilities for those who need to stay late, including a shower. 

All photos in this feature: Olha Zakrevska 

The WePlay Holding office was designed by Partner Design. The company also has its own design department, which oversees all the repairs. In 2021, the company is refurbishing the third floor. The total investment into outfitting the office is about $500,000. 

As of August 2021, WePlay Holding has 18 departments. They include Broadcast Solutions, Tournament Platform, R&D, Business Development, Communications, Content and SMM, Design, Finance, Marketing, the Studio team, and many others. 

Oleh Humeniuk explains that the company is experimenting with the number of departments and its internal structure. In addition to media products, the holding company is producing a large number of software solutions, which requires creating optimal and comfortable conditions for all employees. 

One of the main features of the WePlay Holding office is that it houses two studios for broadcasting the holding company’s esports tournaments in two languages — Russian and English. They are equipped with cutting-edge filming equipment, including that which makes it possible to integrate augmented reality elements into broadcasts right during live streaming. Studios are easily transformable and can be redecorated by designers for any league. 

In addition, on the sixth floor, there is a lounge area with beanbag chairs, board games, and a space that resembles a treehouse. Here, employees can spend their free time and relax. When tournaments are held, the floor becomes a dressing room for the talents. 

How work is organized

Before the pandemic, all company employees were conditionally divided into those who worked from the office and those who worked remotely — from other countries and cities. 

When the coronavirus pandemic began, the entire office was moved online to minimize contacts and reduce the risk of spreading the virus. If necessary, an employee could come to the office, but in that case, they had to get tested for COVID-19.

As soon as the situation started to get better, the work format changed to hybrid, which is still in place today: employees can choose at their discretion whether to come to the office or not. The only exception is when the physical presence of an employee is required at the office. For example, studio team employees cannot organize event broadcasts while at home. 

Employee benefits

All WePlay Holding employees are provided with medical insurance after passing the probation period, usually three months. Also, the company offers an opportunity to get the coronavirus vaccine. 

In addition, members of the WePlay Holding team get:

  • childbirth, marriage, and bereavement benefits
  • paid time off for donating blood
  • a 50% compensation of the cost of training
  • the opportunity to attend English courses with a native speaker in the office free of charge

The company provides everyone with either macOS- or Windows-based work equipment (at the employee’s discretion). Everyone can get additional work equipment upon request. When choosing furniture, WePlay Holding lets the team test it for several days first. To be selected, chairs and tables must be comfortable, durable, and high-quality.

Corporate culture

The components of WePlay Holding’s corporate culture are its vision, mission, and values, Oleh Humeniuk points out:

“Our vision is to make esports a mainstream culture that brings people from all over the world together.

Our mission is to be a world-leading esports media holding company through the development of a unique ecosystem. We create and distribute premium products and services that help everyone immerse themselves in esports, grow in it, and have memorable experiences.

WePlay Esports’s values are responsibility, esports evangelism, teamwork, initiative.” 

How to get a job at WePlay Holding

Every candidate has to do several rounds of interviews, including bar-raising. Bar-raising is one of the final stages when the candidate is interviewed by a person from the company who is not directly interested in filling this position. The company notes that this stage is needed to assess to what extent the candidate shares its culture and values and will successfully complement the team. It’s an honor to be a bar raiser.

If all the rounds of interviews are completed successfully, the candidate signs the job offer. Before their first working day, our new employee receives a New Hire Package, which describes in detail what their first day will be like. 

“Our ideal candidate is an engaged, proactive, and energetic professional who shares our interest in our company’s area of activity and values and is ready for new challenges and summits.”

As of August 2021, WePlay Holding has six job openings. The team is looking for a Corporate Communications Lead, Product Designer, DevOps Middle+/Senior, PR Writer, PPC Specialist, Business Analyst & Project Manager | Tournament Platform. 

Performance review 

The company conducts a performance review with each employee personally on a regular basis. These meetings are attended by the employee’s direct manager and the People Partner assigned to them. Meetings are usually held every four or six months, depending on the specifics of each department’s work. 

Before the review, a 360-degree feedback collection is done (the employee themselves, their manager, and colleagues all share their assessment). To do this, they use WePlay Holding’s internal tool — Lattice. During the performance review itself, both the employee and the manager share their feedback aloud, analyze colleagues’ anonymous responses, evaluate how well the goals set for the previous period were met, and identify the next steps.

As a result of the meeting, both sides understand what’s next and what the expectations are for the following period. The goals are fixed in Lattice so one can check their implementation status at any time. The company also has a culture of regular one-on-one meetings between an employee and their line manager.