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.
Having been apart of the pledge since it launched in February 2020, SEGA Creative Assembly have seen the entire year by our side. Here's how they are approaching the three pledge pillars and developed with the pledge one year-on:
Creative Assembly (CA) has been proactively working to a studio-wide Diversity and Inclusion Strategy for several years. This work has gained more momentum over the last year as we have expanded its reach and deepened its impact across our studios.
Ukie’s Raise The Game Pledge has contributed to this momentum. We believe that industry-wide activities such as the pledge help us to progress. They allow us to share best practice with other studios and crucially, create more conversation and more awareness.
By making the Raise The Game Pledge in 2019, CA publicly signed up to three pledge pillars. These pillars align with our strategic approach and are a supplement to our internal studio strategy.
To put our own demographic in perspective, in 2020 18.8% of staff at CA UK identified as female and fewer than 1% identified as non-binary. Staff of ethnic minorities made up 19% of CA UK, 16% identified as lesbian, gay or bisexual, 62% of our workforce were under the age of 35 and 4.31% identified as having a disability. While this data continues to fluctuate, we are confident that our work will have a longer-term impact.
Across the three pledge pillars we have continued to expand on our work as well as introducing a number of new initiatives, which have been briefly summarised in this statement.
#1 Diverse Talent - Attract more diverse talent to join the games industry…by recruiting as fairly and widely as possible.
Through our recruitment practices and education outreach we reach far and wide to attract diverse talent into the industry. Our practices include looking at the language we use, where we advertise, our processes and who our role models are.
We actively work to reach students and young people from all backgrounds through our award-winning education outreach programme, the Legacy Project. In 2020 this culminated in a partnership with Gamesindustry.biz to deliver the GIBiz: Live Academy, a free virtual student conference which saw over 1.5k attendees. The virtual nature of 2020 has allowed us to reach more people, especially those from lower socio-economic backgrounds, who may not have otherwise had the opportunity to engage with us at industry events.
"As someone relatively new to CA, I was thrilled to see that in their job descriptions they used gender-inclusive language and encouraged applicants of all backgrounds to join. They placed advertisements in forums that were not just restricted to games-industry veterans - encouraging me, outside the games industry, to throw my hat in the ring."
Gabrielle Flinn, Senior User Researcher
#2 Inclusivity - Create an inclusive culture where all can thrive…by educating and inspiring our people to take more personal responsibility for fostering and promoting diversity and inclusion.
Alongside our learning and development programme which includes unconscious bias, inclusion awareness and understanding autism training, we are rolling out a new Inclusive Behaviours Framework across the studio, starting with our leadership teams. This framework has been developed in partnership with an external specialist, Voice at the Table. The framework provides self-assessment tools looking at natural assumptions, sub-conscious behaviours and life-learned prejudices.
In response to COVID-19, all our training is now virtual, including the CA hosted SEGA Dev Day. SEGA Dev Day – Virtual Sessions include well-known industry guests who share their knowledge on a variety of topics and include specific sessions on diversity in games, such as the portrayal of Black characters.
In 2020 we re-established our internal Diversity and Inclusion Network as an employee-led group and launched an Internal Ambassador programme. These groups champion diversity and inclusion throughout the studio, and offer additional avenues for informal advice and guidance, or for raising concerns outside of our formal channels.
“There has been a huge change at CA since I first started five years ago when it comes to D&I. There are lots more women in various positions now, unconscious bias (and other inclusive) training for management and an internal D&I group. This is a great base to work from to see massive progress in the company.”
Joy Dey, Senior Designer
#3 Producing diverse content - Reflecting greater diversity in our work…by striving for this in everything we do, from game design and development, through to marketing and other support services.
We aim to carefully consider inclusivity and the representation of characters and populations in our games and promotion, to educate where possible. In 2019 we introduced a guiding framework for our developers and marketing teams, to empower them to have the right conversations at the right time, with our corresponding game decisions being thoughtful and purposeful. We are continuing to embed this framework across the studio.
In addition, our Diversity and Inclusion Network offer their diverse voices to our game developers and marketeers, acting as an internal studio focus group who are supported with appropriate learning and development.
“Right from the interview process and my early investigations into CA, I could feel that they were a very 'come as you are company', with staff from all over the world. I’ve always felt that I could be myself here. I've been moved by seeing how supportive HR are of big life changes several of my colleagues have gone through to be more themselves. We’ve also been given opportunities to educate ourselves, with speakers doing online talks about portraying POC in games for example.”
Florence Di Ruocco, Global PR Manager
COVID-19 and CA’s Diversity and Inclusion work
COVID-19 had the potential to increase professional inequality. With people working from home there may be disparity in the quality of home setups, a lack of confidence to speak out in large virtual meetings, and distracting home environments. At CA, we have been conscious and vocal about these issues; providing quality setups for everyone, hosting studio-wide awareness sessions on inclusivity in virtual meetings and on recognising and supporting people’s individual homelife circumstances.
Of course, we have had to adapt some of our plans. We have moved all our training remotely and we have rolled out an expansive virtual education programme for students and young people looking to join the industry. This includes online conferences and our video education series, Creative Chronicles.
While many businesses have reported facing challenges with diversity and inclusion due to COVID-19, we have sought to aggressively progress this work, as the inclusivity of our studio is crucial to our staff feeling a sense of belonging during this uncertain time.
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!