Making Player Research an Exceptional Place to Work
18 August 2022
At Player Research we want to ensure we’re maintaining a superb culture; one that is actively focused on being inclusive and supportive of diversity.
We recognise it’s human nature to want to be appreciated as an individual, while also desiring a sense of belonging in any shared social space.
We think it’s helpful to describe the actions we expect of our team. This helps to guide positive, empathetic, and respectful behaviour, and ensure any bias, discrimination, or hostile behaviour can be more easily named and avoided, across all social interactions.
‘Codes of conduct’ tend to focus on the basics of professional interactions in the workplace: ensuring a baseline of safe, discrimination and, harassment-free workplaces. Of course we commit to these foundations, yet there is so much more to a healthy workplace than these essentials.
We’ve put some commitments to paper to ensure that the accountability of creating an inclusive work culture does not fall on any one member of staff, but instead is shared among the whole company. We aim for these behaviours to create an inclusive environment experienced by all that interact with us, and that they take us beyond what’s just acceptable and toward exceptional.
Behaviours we Promote
- Speak Up – We encourage employees to feel empowered to speak their minds on all matters regardless of seniority or position. We proactively help others (taking care not to step on any toes), challenge others in small and big ways, and to respect one another’s’ opinions, ideas and expertise.
- Refer to Others Carefully and Respectfully – Be thoughtful about the language used when referring to others. We are respectful of people’s individual requests for how to be addressed; what works for one person may not work for another, so it’s always best to ask and use language that suits the individual. We are encouraged to take the time to educate ourselves on the inclusive language of communities and cultures that surround us, and whom we represent with our player-facing research.
- Support Each Other – Spend time lifting each other up. We give praise and feedback on actions and behaviours, celebrate each others’ achievements, we thank each other, and we’re open to graciously accepting feedback in return.
- Be Mindful – Show sensitivity, be empathetic, and keep in mind how other people may feel about the things we do and say. If there’s concern that someone could be upset by a conversation, take time to plan what you want to say and then take time to check in with them afterwards. We should take care to consider cultural and social differences between those we interact with; if someone suggests that you could do something to make them feel more comfortable, take note, reflect, and respect their wishes.
- Be your Best Self – We should constantly be reflecting upon our behaviours and biases, stay curious, and always be open to learning from other people about how to achieve that. We encourage active education about social issues that affect people and groups other than those we belong to ourselves.
- Be Accountable – We’re all trying to be better people, and as such we are likely to slip-up occasionally. We take responsibility for our actions and apologise sincerely when this happens, without trying to shift blame. We avoid jumping to defend ourselves, as this centres you instead of the person you’ve hurt; phrases such as ‘I’m sorry if you found my words upsetting” shifts the focus onto how the other person interpreted the event, whereas ‘I’m sorry I did that’ ensures you take ownership of your actions and their consequences.
- Don’t Make Assumptions – We don’t assume that we know things about people simply based on appearances; this can lead to the reinforcement of stereotypes and implicit biases.
- Diverse Backgrounds Define Us – We want to sustain a diverse team with a variety of backgrounds and expertise. We see individual differences as something to be valued, and an opportunity to explore creative solutions. Don’t see ‘knowledge gap’, see ‘knowledge elsewhere’.
- Don’t Shame Emotional Expressions – Everyone has ‘down days’, and some people can find it hard to express emotion at work for fear of judgement. For instance, women are battling against stereotypes of being “overly emotional”, while Black women can be unfairly and disproportionately labelled as angry when expressing emotions. We want to break down barriers that disproportionately affect people from marginalised groups expressing emotions at work.
- Actively Embody our Values – We actively treat coworkers with respect, dignity, and care in line with our documented cultural values. This goes beyond just talking about how to be good people, but actively putting this into practice every day where possible by looking for opportunities to be excellent to each other.
Our day-to-day work of conducting video game research means we’re constantly interacting with the general public, fellow game developers, and collaborating with colleagues internationally. We take pride in embodying these behaviours and values across all areas of our professional lives, including our office spaces, shared online spaces (Slack, Discord, email, etc.), social media posts, at conferences, and other events where we represent Player Research.
As always, our commitment and care for being an inclusive and equitable company to work at is ongoing and evolving over time.
Thanks to Buffer and Project Include for being great sources of helpful information and frameworks during our process of formalising our cultural values and behavioural code.
Here’s a couple of links to their work that we found highly valuable and influential: