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Update on Diversity, Inclusion, & Riot Culture

  • Feb 26, 2019

About six months ago, we committed to doubling down on our efforts to make Riot a more diverse, inclusive, collaborative workplace in a pledge we called our First Steps Forward. In that post we outlined seven areas we’d focus on; now we‘re sharing our progress on those goals. We’re also launching today a rework of our diversity, inclusion, and Riot culture pages here, where we detail what’s next.

Expanding the Diversity, Inclusion, and Riot Culture Initiative

As a first step, we spun up a dedicated team to lead the charge on cultural change. This group added to our existing diversity and inclusion (D&I) team and helped accelerate their work while digging in on new projects. Soon after launching the team, we brought in outside eyes and world-class expertise in Frances Frei as a senior adviser

Revisiting Cultural Definitions

We knew there were parts of Riot’s existing values that worked—like our focus on player empathy—that we needed to keep. We also realized that other parts of our scrappy, startup culture hadn’t aged well as we’d grown. The cultural evolution team talked to over 1,700 Rioters to understand the kind of company Rioters want us to become. This led to our first major patch to the manifesto that had guided the company since 2012 in the form of our new values.

Now we’re all working to ensure these values are the foundation for every aspect of how we work, including team stand-ups, how we interact with one another, and how we make awesome experiences for players.

Third-Party Evaluation

We engaged two leading consultants on culture change and company systems. With their expertise and recommendations, we’ve taken another look at things like how we behave in meetings, whether our talent systems are up to best-practices, and how to remove potential unconscious biases.

Their audits provided detailed reports that are informing specific changes to policies, trainings, and more that we’re rolling out this year.

Investigation Process

We evaluated and rebuilt our investigation process and systems. We expanded our internal investigation team and brought in a world-class law firm to rebuild our process for looking at claims. They also worked side-by-side with our talent partners to investigate all new claims raised by Rioters to provide an additional, unbiased layer to all of our investigations. We investigated dozens of new claims, conducted hundreds of interviews, and took appropriate action in each case, including cutting ties with Rioters at almost all levels of the company where appropriate.

Re-evaluating Recruiting

We made progress against our goals—including changes to our interviewer training and changing some of the questions we ask in interviews—but we still have work to do. With the changes we’ve made to staffing (see “Staffing Up for D&I” below), we’ve got the team we need to hit this area hard in 2019. We’ll be overhauling our job descriptions to ensure they’re readily accessible to all demographic groups, reassessing which universities we recruit from, and expanding the pools from which we source our candidates, among other things.

Training and Education

We made big strides on training and education. In the past, managers were required to take various trainings, including anti-harassment training, and we’ve expanded the requirement to all Rioters. We also added a new mandatory anti-bias training to help all Rioters recognize ways in which we can be more inclusive in our day-to-day lives.

In Fall 2018, hundreds of Rioters participated in two live company-wide team building simulations in partnership with the Harvard Business School Online. And we’re looking forward to adding more to this program in 2019. We’ve made sure to incorporate all of our learnings and changes into our Rioter onboarding (“Denewbification”) program.

In total, between September 2018 and January 2019, more than 2,500 Rioters completed well over 12,000 hours of training.

January 2019 also saw our very first Global Managers Summit, where more than 600 managers from all over the world came together to learn about coaching, trust, goal setting, and delivering feedback.

Staffing Up for D&I

In December 2018, we announced Emily Winkle as our first Chief People Officer (CPO). Emily joins our CEO, President, and COO as a part of our expanded executive team. And we’ll soon be announcing our new Chief Diversity Officer (CDO) as we continue to staff-up with experts in the space.

Next Steps

We know the path forward is long and winding, and that we have changes to make if we want to get it right. But we’re excited to push forward toward a new, better Riot.

Be sure to check our updated Diversity, Inclusion, and Riot Culture hub and check back for updates as we continue to make progress on our goal.