One In Four Ubisoft Employees Witnessed Or Experienced Misconduct, Internal Survey Finds

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One In Four Ubisoft Employees Witnessed Or Experienced Misconduct, Internal Survey Finds
Photo: Christian Petersen, Getty Images

Earlier today, Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot updated his employees about a recent company-wide survey regarding the status of reforms following a summer complaints about harassment, misconduct, and other systemic issues at the global video game publisher.

He did so in a message that was shared with Kotaku not by current employees but by Ubisoft PR. In the message, Guillemot points out that 25% of anonymous respondents to the summer survey reported witnessing or experiencing misconduct first-hand. In addition, one in five respondents said they didn’t feel “fully respected or safe in the work environment.” Ubisoft says the survey was conducted by an independent research firm.

In addition, women at Ubisoftt were 30% more likely than men to experience, witness, or hear about discimination, while non-binary employees were 43% more likely. One of the goals outlined by Guillemot to deal with this includes “ensuring women comprise at least 24% of Ubisoft’s teams by 2023 (compared to 22% today). Based on the nearly 19,000 employees Guillemot mentioned being in charge of in his message, that would mean an increase of approximately 380 women. The CEO said the company is currently working on other metrics to measure progress on fostering diversity as well.

Ubisoft CEO Apologises To ‘Everyone Who Was Hurt’ By Misconduct At The Company

Ahead of Ubisoft’s second summer showcase later today, the global video game publisher released a short video in which CEO Yves Guillemot apologised for all of those hurt by “certain Ubisoft employees” who failed to “uphold our comany’s values.”

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On the whole, the message didn’t go into many specifics regarding the feedback Ubisoft received from the survey nor from the listening sessions that have been happening throughout the company. “Only 66% of respondents who reported an incident felt they had received the support they needed,” Guillemot wrote. “The audit also highlights a lack of sensitivity and commitment from management on all matters of diversity, inclusion and respect. Therefore, we must better support our managers so that they are exemplary and become champions of these changes throughout the organisation.” The message went on to list measures like bonuses for meeting diversity objectives and training sessions for cultural sensitivity, but nothing that would directly impact the power-imbalance between managers and those who report to them when it comes to speaking up about problematic behaviour.

One interesting development the message mentions is the creation of a new “review committee” to look at Ubisoft’s content and product marketing to make sure it’s “aligned with our values of respect and fairness.” It certainly sounds like the company is creating an extra set of eyes to prevent yet another “where’s female Eivor” moment after a summer full of them. Just last month, Ubisoft released an Assassin’s Creed sizzle reel that left out all the series’ playable female characters. The month before that it released a Tom Clancy mobile game that used imagery associated with this year’s Black Lives Matter protests to depict an in-game terrorist group.

While there weren’t a lot of firm details in today’s message to employees, it did continue a now wellestablished trend of the company waiting until the end of the week to share information about problems at its workplaces. Just two weeks ago, Ubisoft announced on September 18 that 30-year veteran developer Michel Ancel would be leaving the video game industry, only for a report to come out a week later exposing the fact that Ancel is currently under investigation for his alleged toxic leadership at the studio making Beyond Good and Evil 2 something Ancel has denied. What will next Friday bring?

Comments

  • I feel like its an exaggeration, in the fact that misconduct is a VERY broad term that could range from minor things like stealing a pen or something all the way up to major stuff, so from my point of view, this is just to broad a thing to say to have any real meaning unless they go and list everything.

    The main thing now is that there working to improve on it.

    • You’re assuming that the survey is over reporting misconduct by including trivial infractions, however it’s just as plausible that the vagueness of the term has actually resulted in under reporting.

      For example, we know from past experience that many blokes who share naked memes around the office just think of this as just a bit of good fun, even though it would be a clar and obvious breach of most company’s IT policies. Similarly, someone might crack a racist joke in a room full of people and yet the only person who notices is the person whose background is the butt of the joke.

      It’s highly unlikely that someone will say they’ve witnessed misconduct if they or their immediate friends don’t think they’ve done anything wrong in the first place.

      While one or two tightwads might indeed get a bit holier than thou about someone else taking home a ballpoint pen, the vast majority of people in the places I have worked wouldn’t raise an eyebrow. My guess is that post-it-notes theft is unlikely to skew the results unfairly high.

      As you say though, it would no doubt be helpful if the question was better defined.

      • I’m not assuming anything. What I am saying is that the term ‘Misconduct’ itself is FAR too broad a term to be used in relation to what’s been happening at Ubi, and unless there going to show us what that misconduct is, it was not worth using that word at all. As I have said to crotch bellow, I would not be surprised if the misconduct was related to all the crap that’s been rolling out. I just disagree with the use of the term misconduct here. Not only is it too broad a term, but it’s also too soft a term as well.

    • At the risk of sounding rude, if you think it’s an exaggeration you clearly haven’t been paying attention to the stories coming to light for the last 12 months or so about working for Ubisoft.

      • I have been paying attention. I just think coming out and saying ‘1 in 4 experienced bad stuff’ is just silly. We know Ubi internal has been shit, but for me to care more than I do about it, I want actual evidence and details on who did what and if they were fired.

        Now, given that most of the people who have been fired where mostly heads in the company, then it would not surprise me at all if that one in 4 was related to all of that, as a lot of different people would probs have had contact with them. However, that does does not change how broad the term ‘Misconduct’ is. They’re not saying sexual harassment, there saying misconduct, and why we KNOW that there have been some shitty things going on in Ubi, I also think it’s misleading to say that all of the misconduct is of the same level, and until they show it is or is not, I am not going to fall into the trap of saying ‘Ubi bad’ every time someone posts about them. Companys are the sum of there people, not the people itself, and to shit on Ubi is to shit on all the people that still work there and are not doing the wrong thing.

        • They weren’t fired. They were promoted into positions of power. That’s kinda the point. The place has an irrepairable culture of normalised abuse to the point where one of the most powerful people in the company is a rapist and he was kept on as one of the most powerful people in the company.

  • If theres one thing that a couple of decades of workplace surveys tell me, its that the majority of people don’t do them if they’re optional. This could lead to the problem being either over or underreported, since its possible that some people with issues may have taken the time to do the survey to report the issue, while those that haven’t had issues may not have bothered.

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