We’ve formalized a policy to guide our decisions in relations to new staff and the gaming community we manage. We want to make sure we minimize any potential bias that will hurt our company or the quality of our products.
Hiring and Team Diversity
Our core policy for hiring new programmers, artists and game designers is the following:
Competence is King
We want the best employees we can afford, and base our hiring decisions on the quality of work they have previously produced. We do not consider the race, gender, orientation, religion, or personal lifestyle choices of our candidates. We will not enforce any special disadvantages or advantages based on those reasons. We are aware of personal biases and try to snuff them out as much as possible. In game design, our products will be significantly better if they do not exist amongst a homogenized team. This only helps creativity.
With this in mind, there are a couple instances where it gets slightly complicated. In these cases we will actively try to be as flexible as possible. They are important and should be addressed:
1 – We will penalize candidates that are not effective communicators. This is a crucial part of being on a game dev team, we have tried to work with people using translators and it is too difficult to communicate effectively. Luckily, our team speaks 6 languages between us (English, French, German, Ukrainian, Russian, Spanish). We’ve communicated successfully and worked with freelancers using all 6 of those languages. We will try to accommodate exceptional candidates as much as possible, but from a realistic perspective, a successful candidate will need at least a B2 level of proficiency in one of those languages.
2 – Depending on the project we’re hiring for, we may need to penalize candidates that are not Ontarians. This is difficult to do sometimes, since we are now living in a global marketplace of online talent. However, we receive funding from government agencies with the agreement that we will spend the vast majority of it locally. We view this as a reasonable restriction. It is only reasonable that the taxpayers of a local economy expect their money to be re-invested locally as much as possible.
Even with the above restrictions, it’s in our best interest to have a highly diversified team. Creativity doesn’t really grow in an echo chamber, so we try to harness as many different viewpoints and ideas as possible.
Community and Diversity of Opinion
Managing an online community of gamers put us in direct contact with people from all over the world, from all different age groups and cultural backgrounds. It’s really an amazing time where we can push our product out digitally and get it in so many different hands. We appreciate the immense value this has brought to our company, and how it has directly improved many of our products. Books have been written on community management but we will try to outline our core principles. This mainly applies to our Discord channel and other social media accounts.
1 – Do not censor people. This is not our place to do. Even if we strongly disagree with what the person says about us, even if it’s threatening, untrue, or generally unpopular. We do not play god with free speech. The only exceptions to this would be some people repeatedly promoting their own products on our channels, even with this we try not to be too strict and will generally provide accommodations or warnings.
2 – Embrace the pain of publishing. Gamers get frustrated, they get angry, they call you every name in the book. This is unpleasant and our first human reaction is to defend ourselves, fire back insults etc. This is not useful for us, so we avoid it all costs. The reality is that every frustrated gamer represents an opportunity to improve our game design. Most the time gamers are mad about something, there is a valid reason why. It is our job to get to the core of what they are frustrated about, and see what we can do to make our product better. We must embrace diversity of opinion, even if it is sometimes painful.
These are the main philosophies we try to stick to as a small company. It is not an exhaustive list, and is sure to evolve further as we grow our team. We are truly grateful for the opportunity to create products that are accessible to people all over the globe, and will continue to work to harness this diversity as much as we can.