4. Empowering all our colleagues with the understanding and skills to make a difference

Our colleagues come to work so that people can enjoy gambling and many spend time with customers up and down the country. We’re determined to harness our physical and virtual footprint and frontline interactions with customers by ensuring that each of us is empowered to do what it takes to make an impact.

Responsible gambling must run throughout all training for our colleagues.

Protecting customers has always been an important part of how we train new colleagues and it’s crucial that we continue to invest in that training.

For a long time, training on responsible gambling was limited to a module on compliance – and treated separately from the rest of the comprehensive training colleagues receive. For colleagues to be equipped to support customers who encounter problems, responsible gambling needs to be part of everything they do. We updated the training so that responsible gambling is embedded in every part of the onboarding training.

We’ve also learnt that it’s not enough for colleagues to read in a book about how to support customers experiencing problems. For colleagues to feel confident when they interact with customers at risk and give the right support, they need a different type of experience – both in-classroom training and working with people who have experienced problems with gambling themselves. By working with organisations that are on the frontline of supporting problem gamblers, we’re learning how to create more rounded and effective training.

Colleagues learn about the different types of harm from gambling

Gambling related harm

Frontline organisations are a key source of knowledge and skills for our colleagues.

Understanding the experience of people affected by gambling-related harm is key to providing effective support in our business. It’s the frontline organisations who work with gamblers every day who know how to provide that support best – and that’s who we want to learn from.

In 2015 we started working with Betknowmore UK in Islington to help train colleagues and refer high risk gamblers to the support services they need through a pilot called “Don’t Gamble with Health.” Betknowmore UK helped train 112 colleagues representing all betting shops in Islington to better understand gamblers who experience harm – and how William Hill can effectively intervene to prevent problems.

We’ve learned that in-person training is crucial to helping prevent problems. An evaluation of the pilot revealed that though many colleagues had already had training on responsible gambling, the in-person approach resulted in nearly all participants reporting improvements in their understanding of gambling-related harm and ability to recognise ‘red flags’ – and critically feeling more confident to assist people with gambling problems.

Quote from a participant in the pilot:

“Their approach doesn’t just look at the gambling problem, it looks at why people have got a gambling problem. It recognises that sometimes it isn’t a case of stopping [people gambling] altogether, but it’s a case of helping them control it, and it seems like they respond to people who need the help a lot quicker.”

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