Ubisoft boss Yves Guillemot has released a lengthy statement meant to lay out the progress he says his company has made since last summer’s devastating reports of sexual harassment and toxic working environments within various teams across the business.
The post, published to Ubisoft’s blog, comes in the wake of a French report in Le Télégramme this month that claimed the company had made only minimal changes. Ubisoft rebutted some of that report at the time, while today’s statement from the very top of the company doubles down further.
“Last June, we faced the fact that not all team members were experiencing the safe and inclusive workplace that we had always intended Ubisoft to be,” Guillemot writes. “Since then, we have engaged in a company-wide effort to listen, learn and build a roadmap for a better Ubisoft for all.
“With this in mind, I want to summarise the work we have done and the direction in which we are headed.”
Guillemot says 14,000 Ubisoft employees took part in “group-wide assessments, including an anonymous questionnaire” while 2000 employees took part in “focus groups and listening sessions”. There has been anti-harassment training, with more modules to follow.
The company’s HR organisation was audited by an outside company, Guillemot continues, and “as a result we strengthened our non-discrimination and anti-harassment policies”. A new company code of conduct is being introduced next month, which will be mandatory for all staff to sign.
“We have recently implemented a new performance criterion to our compensation scheme with specific expectations for managers,” Guillemot adds. “This new attribute will focus on our ability to care for people, behave inclusively, and foster a safe and respectful work environment.” In short, managers who fail to uphold the safety of their reports will be impacted financially.
Guillemot concludes with a list of hires and personnel changes meant to improve the balance of women in senior roles, improve diversity and inclusion, and add “more diverse perspectives” to its editorial board.
“Considerable progress has been made, and we will continue to work hard with the ambition of becoming an exemplary workplace in the tech industry,” Guillemot concludes. “10,000 team members connected live to virtual town halls in early May, where we shared the latest progress being made, and we will continue to share regular updates with them.
“Management – myself included – have a responsibility to act as role models and be exemplary for our teams. I want to stress my personal commitment to continue to improve our workplace culture and create real, lasting and positive change at Ubisoft.”
Last summer, a cascade of reports detailing sexual assault and harassment was made by numerous employees across the business, with shocking allegations made, including of several senior employees. A wave of resignations and firings followed – some public, others not.
After weeks of devastating headlines, Ubisoft boss Yves Guillemot himself came under fire, with questions asked about exactly how much he had known. In an extraordinary Q&A with investors, Guillemot responded by saying that “certain individuals betrayed the trust I placed in them” but that he himself had “never compromised on my core values and ethics and never will”.
Since then, the matter has largely disappeared from headlines – until the French report this month. Today’s post is clearly a delayed response to that, and a bid to nip talk of inaction in the bud now, with several weeks of separation from E3. Ubisoft – and likely Guillemot himself as its figurehead – are due to step into the spotlight again in June via another Ubisoft Forward broadcast. It remains to be seen whether the matter will also be referenced there.