Player Research’s Code for Inclusive Behaviour
18th August 2022
What is a Behavioural Code?
As part of an ongoing commitment to improving equity and inclusion within Player Research, we felt formalising our behavioural code would help serve as a transparent guide to make clear what actions we do and don’t encourage within our team.
Formalising our behavioural code ensures there are guidelines in place to facilitate our best possible working culture; one that is actively focused on being inclusive and supportive of diverse talent. This framework helps guide positive, empathetic, and respectful behaviour and prohibit the kind of bias, discrimination and hostile behaviour that can serve to suppress individual well-being and growth.
Additionally, it ensures that the accountability of creating an inclusive work culture does not purely lie with any one member of staff but is shared equally among the whole company. We all have a shared responsibility in developing and maintaining a culture that is safe, welcoming and supportive for everyone.
Using the Behavioural Code
These sets of behaviours are to be approached in the same way as our company’s cultural values. We expect everybody at Player Research to enact and contribute to these actions in as much of our day-to-day lives as possible.
The behavioural code applies to interactions with colleagues, playtesters and clients in various areas of our shared professional lives, including our office space, shared online spaces (Slack, email, etc.), social media posts (Twitter, Facebook, etc.), and conferences or other events where we represent Player Research.
Behaviours we Promote
- Speak Up – We encourage employees to feel empowered to speak their minds on all matters regardless of seniority, to proactively help others in small and big ways, and to respect each other’s opinions and suggestions. This environment is only possible if we take care to be respectful and mindful of the people we work and interact with.
- Use Language Carefully and Respectfully – Be thoughtful about the language you use; when appropriate use person-first language (e.g., person using a wheelchair not wheelchair-bound), but most importantly be 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. You are expected to use non-sexist, queer and gender-inclusive language in all situations.
- Support Each Other – Spend time lifting each other up emotionally; give praise and be open to graciously accepting feedback in return. Let’s make sure to celebrate your own and others’ achievements no matter how big or small. Give help proactively (taking care not to step on anyone’s toes) and feel confident in your ability to ask for help when you need it.
- Be Mindful – Show sensitivity, be empathetic and keep in mind how other people may feel about the things you do and say. If you’re concerned that someone could be upset by a conversation, then take time to check in with them afterwards. Take care to consider cultural and social differences between you and the other people you 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 – Try to constantly be reflecting upon your behaviours and biases, think about ways you could improve yourself and always be open to learning from other people about how to achieve that. We encourage you to actively seek to educate yourself about social issues that affect people and groups other than those you belong to.
- Actively Embody our Values – You should actively treat your co-workers with respect, dignity, and care in line with our cultural values. This goes beyond just talking about how to be good people, but actively putting it into practice every day where possible by looking for opportunities to be excellent to each other.
Behaviours we Don’t Accept
- No Harassment – Player Research has a zero-tolerance policy for behaviour which falls under harassment, discrimination, or bullying including but not limited to; unwelcome physical contact, stalking, unwelcome sexual attention, use of sexist, racist, ableist derogatory language or jokes, verbal/physical threats or abuse. Any behaviour of this kind is expressly prohibited and will be reported and dealt with by line managers.
- Don’t Shirk Responsibility for your Actions – Avoid jumping to defend yourself if you upset somebody, as this centres you instead of the person you’ve hurt. We’re all trying to be better people, and as such we are likely to slip-up occasionally – you should take responsibility for your actions and apologise sincerely when this happens, without trying to shift blame. ‘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 – Don’t assume that you know things about people simply based on appearances; this can lead to the reinforcement of stereotypes and implicit biases. Instead, if you’re unsure about how someone identifies, try to ask them and ensure you use their pronouns correctly. Knowledge also shouldn’t be assumed; if somebody doesn’t know how to do something or asks for help with something, don’t act surprised or in disbelief. We are all on a different journey of learning, and it’s not nice to make people feel bad by insinuating they should know something already just because you do.
- No Derogatory Language – Don’t stand by and listen to someone else speak in a way that contributes to or perpetuates intolerance or bigotry, including anything passed off as “just a joke”. If you are part of a conversation or overhear someone use unacceptable language and you feel comfortable and safe to do so, challenge that person and let them know that what they said is not okay. If you are a direct recipient of intolerant language and feel unsafe or uncomfortable, leave the situation as soon as possible and report the behaviour to a line manager or peer you feel safe with.
- No Microaggressive Behaviour – Microaggressions are small behaviours that indirectly and repeatedly perpetuate the discrimination of marginalised groups. Constantly asking a women on the team to take care of admin tasks, asking an Asian colleague where they’re ‘originally’ from, asking a lesbian ‘Who’s the man in your relationship?’ etc. are all examples of microaggressive behaviour. If someone tells you they’re hurt or offended by your language, jokes, or actions, don’t try to play it down or suggest they’re being oversensitive; instead listen, give a sincere apology, and move on with a commitment to do better next time.
- 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 conforming to stereotypes of seeming “over emotional”, while Black women can be unfairly and disproportionately labelled as aggressive when expressing emotions. We want to avoid making people feel as though they must hide or suppress their emotions at work. We shouldn’t pass judgement when people express emotions, instead we should always seek to support people through their tough moments or days.
As always, our commitment and care for being an inclusive and equitable company to work at is ongoing and evolving over time. We’re trying our best but by no means is this a perfect or exhaustive list of behaviours. If you or your company have any ideas as to what we can do to improve we’re always open to hearing them!
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:
How to get the most of playtests with kids? Here are some tips & tricksWhat’s it like working at Player Research?
Will I work on my own? What methods will I use? We answer your questions on working at Player ResearchPlayer Research’s Games of the Year 2021
Our picks for Game of the Year 2021