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  • Games Diversity Hiring - 10 Steps

    Recommendations from David Smith on practicable steps to take to improve on hiring for diversity in your games studio or company.

    1. Responsibilities
    Identify and support your diversity warriors. Be clear on responsibilities for diversity just as other responsibilities like hiring. CEO’s need to lead and send signals to all staff. Is accountability for diversity clearly vested in a main board director? Does the person responsible for recruitment also have responsibility for diversity? Agree and set targets.

    2. Hire the Best
    Always hire the best person for the job. No woman or minority wants to get a job because they are part of a quota or token. Don’t allow anyone to think that seeking to attract more women or minority applicants is “positive discrimination” It isn’t. Positive action (affirmative action in the US) is lawful and allows employers to encourage underrepresented groups to access additional training and job opportunities.

    3. Define Best
    Define what the “best” person might be in relation to a job. Best is not always most qualified or the person who can “hit the ground running”. Think who would be the best person doing the job 12 months after joining? Could it be someone who contributes to other areas? A number of games companies have redefined “best” to reflect that all staff hired should be capable to growing into more senior roles.

    4. Interviewing
    Train all staff involved in interviewing job seekers. Interviewing is a skill which is rarely picked up on the job. Hiring mistakes are costly to both the employer and the employee. Competency interviews are acknowledged as superior to free-flowing, unstructured interviews. Scripted questions asked of every interviewee are likely to provide more revealing answers and insights into capabilities. And allow direct comparison between those interviewed.

    5. Culture Fit
    Are applicants ever rejected for lack of “culture fit”? Don’t accept this explanation without asking more questions. Is the culture of your company defined? What about the need to culture add? You can develop a more diverse culture by getting involved with organisations that promote different aspects of diversity. How much to you give back to your community? The Women in Games organisation is looking to add more companies to its Corporate Ambassador Programme, for example.

    6. Unconscious Bias
    Research and learn about unconscious bias. Everyone has unconscious bias. A Harvard study revealed that 76% of people (men and women) are gender-biased and tend to think of men as better suited for careers and women are better suited as homemakers. Seek out bias training as well as anti-harassment and discrimination training for your company. Everyone being more self-aware will help unblock the talent pipeline.

    7. Inclusion
    Make the climate at your company more welcoming, more inclusive. Parent friendly policies like flexible working, prioritizing parental leave and on-site childcare solutions benefit both men and women. Policies such as Dignity at Work or the offering of Professional Mentoring are likely to bring benefits to everyone in the company.

    8. Recruitment Advertising
    Review the company’s online profile and recruitment advertising. Are you showing the company as you want it to be in the future? One 300 person, UK developer is still profiling 17 men and no women to showcase its workforce. Most job descriptions and job adverts are writing by men so might include words like ‘leader’, ‘competitive’ or ‘ninja’ which are known to put off women applying. Programs like Textio or free, online Gender Decoder tools make it easy to scan and adapt job descriptions for biased language. How much do you shout about being an equal opportunity workplace?

    9. Evolving Best Practice.
    Research best practice for diverse hiring. It is evolving all the time. Many UK companies interview based on blind CV’s where a person’s name and education establishments are removed. In the USA, California has just prohibited questions about past salary history so that past discriminatory pay awards are not perpetuated. This will come to Europe.

    10. Take Action
    Take stock now. Lead on this. More diverse team are more innovative and are more likely to have creative and commercial success. A review of a company’s diversity is simple and straight forward. At least one organisation in the games sector in the UK offers diversity audit so that you can benchmark your company against others.

    Please contact David Smith if you want to do more for your company.