Riot Games, the makers of the extremely popular game League of Legends, have long been trying to improve the experience of their players by encouraging their community to not engage in toxic behaviors. Now the company is turning their focus to their own workplace.
The Riot team had the idea that if one of their employees (all of whom also play League of Legends) behaved badly while playing they probably would have more friction with their workmates. So they looked at the previous 12 months of gameplay and chat logs of every employee. In a post on Goggle’s workplace improvement blog Re:Work, Riot says they found a high correlation between bad in-game behavior and bad workplace behavior.
Riot found that 25% of their employees who had been let go in the previous year had been toxic players. The most common toxic behaviors that were exhibited were passive aggressive comments and using their status as a Riot employee to intimidate or threaten other players.
As for their current employees, Riot identified the 30 worst offenders in-game and sat down to talk with them. With some of these employees, Riot determined that their behavior was so bad in-game that they needed to be let go. Most of those people already had serious problems in the workplace. But on an interesting note, Riot says that the majority of the people they talked to about their toxic behavior responded with contrition.
“Pretty much everyone we spoke with was appalled at their own behaviour. We actually received some essays from employees vowing to change their ways and become not just more considerate gamers but better people,” said Jay Moldenhauer-Salazar, Riot’s head of Talent.
Moving forward Riot plans to use this knowledge within their hiring process. They will be asking all applicants for their handle so they can review their gameplay and look for toxic behaviors and toxic chat. Riot is currently trying out a stoplight sorting system, red, yellow, green, to designate the level of bad behavior exhibited within the game.
Riot is also collaborating with MIT to try to figure out what kinds of personalities make up a great team. If they’re able to figure this out, they will then attempt to figure out how they can proactively work towards creating positive teams that are high performing.