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Ubisoft says handling of misconduct crisis has eroded trust

"I don't think we always communicated enough back to the people who had raised an issue in the first place."

Chris Kerr, News Editor

December 7, 2021

2 Min Read

Ubisoft has conceded its response to a series of misconduct allegations has eroded trust at the company.

Speaking to Axios, Ubisoft chief people officer Anika Grant suggested the French publisher failed to communicate effectively with employees as it sought to investigate a number of serious misconduct allegations, some of which involved senior employees in leadership roles.

"At the beginning of the crisis, we spent a lot of time making sure that we had the right process in place, that we were able to very quickly and efficiently run an investigation and get to some outcomes," said Grant.

"What I think we missed, though, is the employee experience through that. I don't think we always communicated enough back to the people who had raised an issue in the first place about what we found as part of the investigations -- the decisions that we made and the actions that we took. And so I think, unfortunately, people lost trust in that process."

In a bid to address that communication breakdown, Grant said Ubisoft is "100 percent focused" on delivering better follow-through for those employees who report misconduct, and claimed the ongoing crisis is a result of Ubisoft having scaled up "really fast" without implementing an up-to-date code of conduct, anonymous reporting channels, and effective diversity initiatives.

Grant believes that progress has been made, however, and noted the volume of misconduct cases and alerts have "declined enormously."

"What we're also seeing is that the severity of the kinds of things that are being reported has decreased," continued Grant, adding that Ubisoft is "thinking carefully" about what details it can share about those complaints in next year's annual report.

Despite Grant's assurances that change is underway, pro-worker group A Better Ubisoft (ABU) reiterated its stance that lasting progress will only be possible once employees of all ranks have been granted a seat at the table.

Responding to Grant's interview with Axios, ABU claimed Ubisoft's failure to acknowledge that key demand will only set the company up for failure.

"We'll keep stressing this: a main component of what was unveiled in the articles, from the very first one at Libération, was how Ubisoft's structure itself protected people who committed abuses of power, and how this was done with intent," wrote ABU on Twitter.

"Instead [Grant] claims that the loss of trust is just a matter of miscommunication. We believe it's the opposite: Ubisoft's top management has very clearly communicated through its actions that they're adamant on keeping full control over decisions concerning safety policy and reports, and about running the new processes as a black box.

"This black box nature is breeding grounds for abuse. The single points of failure spread across the processes makes them prone to failure and ineffectiveness. We will keep our demands until they are met."

About the Author(s)

Chris Kerr

News Editor, GameDeveloper.com

Game Developer news editor Chris Kerr is an award-winning journalist and reporter with over a decade of experience in the game industry. His byline has appeared in notable print and digital publications including Edge, Stuff, Wireframe, International Business Times, and PocketGamer.biz. Throughout his career, Chris has covered major industry events including GDC, PAX Australia, Gamescom, Paris Games Week, and Develop Brighton. He has featured on the judging panel at The Develop Star Awards on multiple occasions and appeared on BBC Radio 5 Live to discuss breaking news.

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