Ubisoft Counters Report On Company's "Minimal" Changes To Toxic Work Culture

A report found that whatever changes Ubisoft has attempted to make have had a "minimal" impact addressing the company's toxic work culture.

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The French publication Le Télégramme published an investigative report in early May on Ubisoft following the company's wave of accusations that surged last year. The findings suggest little has been done to "foster an inclusive and positive work environment," as CEO Yves Guillemot said in October 2020. However, Ubisoft insists the company remains committed and "major changes" have been implemented across its offices.

According to Le Télégramme (via GamesIndustry.Biz), Ubisoft has attempted to make changes but it seems they have had a "minimal" impact. Executives who stepped down in the wake of allegations against them, such as Cécile Cornet, have only "just left the company." Others, like Hugues Ricour, simply changed roles. (According to his Linkedin, Ricour is the production intelligence director at Ubisoft Production Internationale in Paris.)

While in Canada, a source told Le Télégramme that "nothing has changed" since Guillemot's cousin Christophe Derennes replaced Yannis Mallat as head of Ubisoft Montreal in July 2020. Further, employees who have filed new harassment cases since had their issues sidelined in December 2020.

According to the report, initiatives were also proposed by employees to solve Ubisoft's toxic work culture--including ensuring more women are hired at the company--but management has yet to address them.

When reached for comment about Le Télégramme's report, an Ubisoft spokesperson said the company has implemented "major changes across its organization" to hit the goal of creating that "inclusive and positive work environment" Guillemot hoped for.

"Over a period of several months, Ubisoft has implemented major changes across its organization, internal processes and procedures in order to guarantee a safe, inclusive and respectful working environment for all team members," the spokesperson said. "These concrete actions demonstrate the profound changes that have taken place at every level of the company."

Some changes include anonymous reporting tools that are accessible to all employees, ongoing company-wide training regimens on "appropriate workplace conduct," and revamping the code of conduct. Ubisoft also filled its three newest roles--Chief People Officer, Head of Workplace Culture, and VP of Global Diversity and Inclusion--to "ensure the longevity of the changes" that have been put in place.

For example, Anika Grant, the company's new chief people officer who reports directly to Guillemot, has been tasked with ensuring Ubisoft workplaces are "anchored in safety, respect, and wellbeing." Grant also manages other high-level aspects, including "global recruiting, talent management, leadership development, and compensation and benefits."

The spokesperson also said that any allegations raised have been "throughly investigated by independent external partners," with some of the results concluding in disciplinary action such as dismissals. This is all to underscore the company's commitment to sussing out its bad apples.

"Additional initiatives are underway and are being rolled out over the coming months," the spokesperson said. "We are committed to strengthening our culture and values in the long term, to help ensure every team member at Ubisoft is heard, respected and valued in the workplace."

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