One Year-On Pledge Partner Case Study: Codemasters
By The Editor on 15/02/2021
As part of the 1 Year Anniversary for #RaiseTheGame we asked pledge partners and supporters to produce case studies for us to put towards our One Year-On Report.
The report is the pledge’s first accountability activity for partners and supporters, by giving organisations involved the chance to spotlight and talk about their involvement in the pledge along with all the equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) efforts they are doing!
The aim of the report is not to name and shame organisations if controversies have occurred, or there are no developments in particular areas for some time, but to encourage and normalise honest conversation around recruitment, work practices and external representation. Giving those involved in the pledge a chance to reflect, be transparent and review their activities - to be accountable and see where they are doing good and/or can improve in.
On the other hand, the report is also about rejoicing best practice and the achievements many of our pledge partners and supporters have attained on their EDI journeys either on their own or with the help of the pledge. As #RaiseTheGame is all about collaboration and learning from each other - thus allowing our pledge partner and supporter case studies to also act as a resource for other games businesses and organisations to learn from and see how their peers are improving diversity and inclusion in their workplaces.
Here's how one of our Pledge Partners, Codemasters, are developing their business through EDI and support from the pledge:
Codemasters has embraced the pledge and is continuing to take positive action to create a diverse workforce by extending its approach to recruitment, such as adapting its interviewing structures to offer the most inclusive practices possible. We are encouraging more personal responsibility for adopting and promoting diversity and inclusion, establishing a Code of Conduct for all personnel within the Company. We are striving to reflect greater diversity in our game design and development, and plans are in the initial discussion stages on how we can achieve this more widely in our products. #RaiseTheGame has helped us to focus on diversity and inclusion and serves as an on-going reminder of its importance within the industry.
Creating a Diverse Workforce
We are maintaining our international profile through our global recruitment and a driving an internationally diverse culture. We have hired from Europe, the USA and many other countries throughout the world. We have also engaged a BAME specialist recruitment agency and are continuing to broaden our diversity through a variety of sourcing channels. We have renewed our Sponsorship license to enable us to recruit and employ international staff, along with being able to offer assistance toward relocation costs. This enables candidates to consider us in the knowledge we can fully support them in their move and settlement in the UK.
We are also taking proactive steps to source and assess candidates in ways which allow them to demonstrate their strengths. As increasing diversity is central to both HR and the Recruitment team at Codemasters, we have actively sought out proactive opportunities to facilitate change.
We can demonstrate this through the recent recruitment of a developer. This candidate had been approached by Codemasters, as a potential talent, to apply for the role. As part of the standard assessment a technical programming test is required. However, the candidate shared with us that they had historically struggled to perform in written programming tests. After further it was agreed that we would adapt the hiring process and include a verbal technical interview instead.
We do include a statement invitation on our advertisements that we welcome all types of diversity in the hope that it will encourage people to be both confident and candid when working with us through the recruitment process. We also run all of our adverts through a screening process to ensure that there is no wording which may cause certain groups to feel excluded. The recent case study shows that Codemasters Recruitment team proactively maintains diversity by way of conscious decision-making, treating each candidate as a unique individual and staying alert to potential obstacles. We were pleased that a combination of the candidness of the applicant and the flexibility of the hiring team, meant that Codemasters was able to make a fair assessment of a new hire in a bespoke way, demonstrating proactive commitment to our Raise the Game Pledge. If we know about individual needs, then we will always aim to accommodate them, adjust our approach and enable the best possible experience for everyone involved.
Shaping Inclusive and Welcoming Places to Work
In March 2020, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, Codemasters began homeworking in line with Government guidance. As we complete this report, the majority of personnel remain home based. It has been challenging to manage all business functions having been given very short notice of the initial lockdown. However, we immediately strove to accommodate people’s needs. We became quickly aware that there were some people who struggle to adapt to a home-working environment. We have aimed to accommodate individual needs according to individual preference. We have also provided a strong enabling culture through our provision of mental health support, provided information and engagement through a dedicated wellbeing forum on Microsoft Team. To assess need and give us indicators of how people were managing these difficult circumstances we also carried out PULSE surveys and ensured that managers worked closely with employees who had caring responsibilities. We continue to expand our Mental First Aid network and promote the support we offer to those in crisis.
We are also acutely aware that neurodiversity can present a range of challenges, especially during recent months of extreme change and uncertainty and that some employees require extra support. An example of accommodating individual needs is an employee who did not feel comfortable talking on camera for meetings was asked how they felt comfortable participating. They said that they did not want to switch their camera on, so they were instantly allowed to participate in meetings with their camera switched off.
We continue to monitor our gender pay data to ensure no inequity in terms of gender and are very pleased that we report improvement. Year on year we are evidencing improvements in our gender ratio statistics.
We have also undertaken a comprehensive review of many of our policies to ensure improved diversity and inclusion. For example, we have removed he / she replaced they / them. We hold diversity at heart of our policies and procedures. As a result of lockdown and resulting queries, we updated our Flexible Working policy and process, to promote inclusivity. We have introduced more flexibility for people to be able to work at home, regardless of the country where they are located.
Earlier this year, we devised a Code of Conduct with input and consultation from a range of staff representatives. The Code is aimed at raising awareness of our differences and maintaining an inclusive and welcoming environment for every person. We have reinforced this with regular communications from senior management including Codemasters’ CEO and HR Director. Our approach to #RaiseTheGame is being led from top down within the Company. Weekly updates, company-wide updates, weekly wellbeing updates.
In 2019, we introduced a new Learning Management System, which enables us to offer a very wide selection of online courses. Some of these courses are mandatory e.g. Equal Opportunities, Code of Conduct, but the majority (available in a range of accessible formats) are optional and allow our employees to learn languages, gain an overview on disability, discrimination, inclusivity and unconscious bias both in work and personal time. Some of our mandatory training courses can be viewed in different languages.
"Codemasters is committed to attracting a diverse workforce, and our Raise the Game pledge re-enforces the need for positive change. Our people are our lifeblood, and greater diversity fosters new ideas and for us to think differently and play as one. We recognise the need to encourage, nurture and maintain an inclusive culture where everyone feels respected and empowered."
Julie Fish, HR Director
Reflecting Greater Diversity in Our Work
Codemasters’ continues to work on inclusion in our character base in the elements of our games. We are gradually increasing the narrative in games. This is reflected in games designer recruitment as we aim to extend our representation across all products. We were also involved in the Humble Bundle which was part of SpecialEffect’s One Special Day in October 2020.
We are making significant progress towards all the #RaiseTheGame pledges. We acknowledge that we have much more to do and our commitment to diversity and inclusion is a continuous responsibility. The pledges have enabled us to strengthen what we already do, and we would like more support, tools and resource opportunities made available to us by #RaiseTheGame. We would benefit immensely from more assistance with specific areas of resource and perhaps more concise and time-efficient bullet pointed communications.
To read the full One Year-On Report on release, follow Ukie's Twitter for the announcement and details, while keep checking back to the #RaiseTheGame website across the month of February for more case studies and content!