In July, multiple Ubisoft executives resigned from the company over allegations of widespread harassment and abuse at the company, including vice president Maxime Beland, chief creative officer Serge Hascoët, managing director of Ubisoft's Canadian studios Yannis Mallat, and global head of human resources Cécile Cornet. One person who did not step down is CEO Yves Guillemot, who said that other employees had "betrayed the trust" he'd put into them, and vowed to bring "profound changes" to the company in order to make it a safe and inclusive workplace.
As part of that process, Ubisoft engaged a third-party research firm to conduct a company-wide survey on employee experiences with misconduct. In a lengthy statement released today, Guillemot shared some of the results of that survey, which drew nearly 14,000 anonymous responses, and the steps Ubisoft will take to address them.
The survey found that roughly 25 percent of Ubisoft employees have either experienced or witnessed "some form of workplace misconduct" over the past two years, and that 20 percent "do not feel fully respected or safe in the work environment." Women reported experiencing, witnessing, or hearing of discrimination, harassment, or inappropriate behavior at a rate 30 percent higher than men, while for non-binary employees it was 43 percent higher. Only 66 percent of employees who reported an incident of misconduct felt they had received appropriate levels of support.
Guillemot said the results of the survey highlight four areas of particular focus for the company:
- Guarantee a working environment where everyone feels respected and safe.
- Putting diversity and inclusion at the heart of everything we do.
- Refocus and strengthen our HR function.
- Make the managers of the group accountable and empower them.
The statement touches on a range of steps the company will take in order to address each of those points, including new channels for anonymously reporting and escalating complaints, which will be handled by an external partner, and establishing "specialized help and support units" for employees. Anti-sexism and anti-harassment training will be increased and expanded across the company, and Guillemot committed to increasing the percent of women on Ubisoft teams from 22 to 24 percent by 2023.
Guillemot also said he'd had a meeting a few weeks ago—not long after Ubisoft apologized for using a raised fist to represent the villains in Tom Clancy's Elite Squad, presumably—with the US Anti-Racism Committee, described by a Ubisoft representative as "a grass-roots group of Ubisoft team members primarily from the marketing team in our San Francisco office (but also include folks from Los Angeles, Raleigh and Montreal) who have come together to combat and eliminate racism and xenophobia."
"I found these exchanges very enlightening and their efforts to move Ubi forward on these topics particularly motivating. We will work with your MDs [managing directors] to go further in this area and assist these virtuous ecosystems by giving them more support and resources," Guillemot said.
A new Head of Diversity and Inclusion at Ubisoft is expected to be selected within the next two weeks, and Ubisoft has also begun the process of setting up a "review committee" to ensure that game content and marketing doesn't repeat previous botches.
Guillemot acknowledged that some people harbor "doubts about our ability to change," but said that Ubisoft will continue to be as transparent as possible about the changes as they unfold.
"As a major player in the industry, we must show the way by becoming exemplary in all of these subjects. My goal is for us to create an company that we are all proud of," he said. "Of course, not everything can be transformed overnight, but I want to assure you that we are mobilizing considerable energy on these subjects. I am personally following these changes and will keep you informed of the progress of these initiatives, in which you will continue to be involved."