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Ubisoft struggles to turn the page of “toxic” management – Economy




Ubisoft is still not out of the crisis triggered last summer by the revelation of multiple accusations of rape and sexual harassment within its teams. According to our information, a first legal action should be launched in the coming days, concerning acts of harassment and failures in their management by the group founded and chaired by the Morbihannais Yves Guillemot.

In the viewfinder: the “HR wall”, revealed by testimonials on social networks such as those collected by Release and Numerama, who preferred to close their eyes in order to protect certain executives. This collective action is led by Solidaires Informatique Jeu Vidéo, which had launched a call for testimonies in October. For its part, Ubisoft has never filed a complaint.

25% of employees declared that they had been victims or witnesses of bad behavior

Since the summer of 2020, the French leader in video games has certainly not remained inactive. There was an emergency because 25% of employees declared that they had been victims or witnesses of bad behavior. And 34% of those who had reported an incident did not feel supported by their management! Beyond the resounding departures of Yves Guillemot’s relatives, several actions have been taken, such as an anonymized platform for the collection of testimonies or the revision of the code of conduct that each employee must now sign. “In the previous code, harassment was not clearly mentioned as a non-negotiable prohibition,” said an elected official from the Video Game Workers Union (STJV). We are waiting for the new version for the summer ”.

Half-day training sessions were also provided on a compulsory basis to 20,000 employees, while managers attended more in-depth empowerment sessions. “We perceive the will of the management to leave the crisis management of summer 2020 because it represents a risk for the sustainability of the group, notes an elected member of the CSE (social and economic committee) in Paris. But this training must be renewed and provided to new employees. For the moment, this request has not received a response ”.

The historical HRD dismissed from its functions

The historic HRD, Cécile Cornet, was dismissed from her duties on July 12 while remaining within Ubisoft, directly under the responsibility of Yves Guillemot but without a mission. She has just, according to our information, left the group following the arrival of her replacement. Anika Grant’s profile, who takes the title of “chief people officer” of Ubisoft, And the one of the new head of diversity and inclusion astonish internally: they are each former Uber, the VTC platform which itself was shaken by accusations of harassment. “I do not expect much from these appointments to the HRD, sighs a union official. The people who covered up on the harassment are still employed by HR ”.

25% of employees declared that they had been victims or witnesses of bad behavior. (Photo Philippe Créhange)

From August until the end of March, the elected representatives of the CSEs were able to participate in the surveys. Objective: to guarantee employees that they will not suffer negative consequences from their testimonials. At the Paris studio, two cases were processed and penalties imposed. “We demand that this participation be perpetuated but the management does not answer us, indignant a member of the CSE. If the management manages the investigations alone, we will fall back into the previous failings! “.

“Those who testified were sidelined”

The remuneration of managers should also be linked to their management of diversity and inclusion issues within their teams. “For the moment, we did not see these objectives in the recruitment procedures or in the annual increase negotiations”, points out an elected member of the CSE. In addition, no mechanism has been put in place to recruit and retain employees, so that Yves Guillemot has set a target – rather lukewarm – of 24% of women by 2023 (22% in 2020). “Our proposals so that the short-lists retain women or that they are systematically interviewed, have had no feedback from management,” laments a representative of the employees.

Above all, some publicly implicated harassers have not left the company. Florent Castelnérac, targeted by a dozen testimonials, has been maintained at the head of the Nadeo subsidiary. “The management uses elements of language to protect it,” said a union official. This is also the case for Hugues Ricour: Ubisoft Singapore director was dismissed in November. Without leave Ubisoft’s organizational chart for all that. But without a team under his command this time.

In Canada, the director has been replaced by Christophe Derennes, a cousin of Yves Guillemot. “Nothing has changed there, regrets a union representative. Recently, employees reported incidents of harassment to us. Those who testified were sidelined last December ”.

“The management has not put in place a reminder rope: no unions until 2020, no employee representatives at group level: Yves Guillemot has long managed Ubisoft as a family business, analyzes a good connoisseur of the manager de Carentoir (56). Beyond the artifices, he is responsible for putting in place at Ubisoft the procedures and rules specific to companies with 20,000 employees on five continents ”.

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