Ubisoft has given an update on how it is attempting to improve its company culture, following allegations of widespread abuse, discrimination and harassment two years ago.
In a blog post last week, chief people officer Anika Grant and vice president for global diversity, inclusion and accessibility Raashi Sikka detailed new initiatives the Assassin's Creed publisher will soon introduce to better support its 20,000 staff.
The first is a global self-identification program, which will invite employees to confidentially and voluntarily share more information about themselves, including gender identity, race, ethnicity and any disabilities.
Sikka said the information will be used to "help us understand the experience of each person from a much more inclusive lens and allow us to take actions that truly support our colleagues."
The company also hinted at a new initiative called Project Rise, which is designed to improve representation of racial, ethnic and cultural diversity.
This is a five-year strategy "to ensure that Ubisoft better reflects the diversity of our players," and will focus on further improvements to recruitment, internal talent development and external talent pipeline development.
Elsewhere in the post, Sikka and Grant reiterated some of the other changes Ubisoft has made over the past year, including the recently created Inclusive Games and Content team, which is tasked with looking at improving diversity and inclusion within the publisher's titles, and a diversity and inclusion training program targeted directly at HR and leadership.
The company reported it also now has a dedicated neurodiversity program as part of both recruitment and HR, and that a global employee resource group meets with CEO Yves Guillemot to discuss other ways to help Ubisoft improve.
Ubisoft also said there has been a big focus on gender equality, noting that in the most recent fiscal year, the global gender pay gap across the company was reduced from 1.7% to 1.3%.
"This is good progress," said Grant, "but we're not done yet."
Sikka added that women now represent 25% of all employees – up from 22% in 2020 – while 42% of the company's executive committee and 45% of the board of directors are also women. One third of all hires over the past 12 months have also been women.
The update is the latest in a string of efforts Ubisoft has made to address accusations that emerged in 2020.
However, A Better Ubisoft – a group formed by current and former employees – continues to campaign for more efforts, this week speaking out in an interview with Assassin's Creed fan group AC Sisterhood.
Eight individuals from A Better Ubisoft commented on the company's progress, all under pseudonyms. While they recognised that there have been some positive changes – citing ongoing D&I workshops, more women receiving promotions and pay increases, and more diverse teams – they claim these are not reflected across every studio Ubisoft has around the world.
The group also insists that while Ubisoft did fire some abusers, and allowed others to quietly step down or take retirements, others remain at large within the company. Some of these have reportedly been moved to new roles or different studios, and some have even been promoted.
One member adds that, while key HR leaders were replaced, some of the individuals that were "directly responsible for dismissing complaints and protecting abusers over many years remain in post today."
"We personally made complaints against these people," the source continued. "Some of us witnessed and experienced abuse from them first-had. Not only do we believe it's still happening but we can see it happening for ourselves."
Ubisoft responded to the interview with a statement from Grant, saying: "Ubisoft responded swiftly to the allegations that arose in 2020, and since then we have made great strides on our commitment to building a workplace where everyone feels safe, valued and respected."
Grant went on to detail many of the changes mentioned above and in the Ubisoft post, before adding: "We are committed to continuing to engage in open and honest dialogue with all our employees and ensuring that their feedback can help shape our global HR strategies and initiatives.
"Looking forward, we are committed to putting diversity and inclusion at the heart of everything we do. To lead this work, we have created a strong and growing Diversity, Inclusion and Accessibility team who is responsible for engaging everyone at Ubisoft on this journey and ensuring it is a strategic priority at all levels of our organisation, from our teams to our games.”