WaSaBi Part 2: Defining Culture

Defining your company culture and laying down the foundations for it before hiring are crucial. We always keep in mind the type of company we want to become, the type of talent we want to bring in, and how those people are treated during their time with us. The main idea is that we have a diverse group of people and that our atmosphere is inclusive so our employees can feel creative, empowered, and thriving. This blog will get a bit personal with my experience, because I want to show you why I am passionate of achieving this type of culture. Our hopes are that if we obtain this type of culture within our workspace, it will also trickle into the community that will be using The Machinery. We want a diverse developer atmosphere and an inclusive space for people to rely on. This will also help iron out The Machinery and give us different perspectives on making a better product.

We believe in Diversity and Inclusion and that no employee or applicant should face discrimination or harassment based on: race, ethnicity, immigrant status, color, religion, age, gender identity, marital domestic partner status, sexual orientation, disability status, or veteran status. Coming from the industry that we are in, especially in my experience, there is a lack of diversity in a lot of companies. I, personally, have worked with a majority of cis/hetero/white men. Lots of decisions from what tech to use, game design, how employees, and community are treated boiled down to those guys’ experiences and their own beliefs, which was not a wide range. Including more diversity in your company is beneficial to how decisions are made internally and can achieve a wider customer base.

We will strive to have an inclusive work culture and community. Anyone that wants to use our tools are not only welcomed but we want to hear from everyone on how “The Machinery” experience is for them. That’s part of our branding, Our Machinery, implying it’s yours and mine. We want our future employees feeling valued, respected, and encouraged to share opinions, feedback, and fixes. You got to have inclusion in order to bring in diverse talent. For example, I was very excited to join Amazon, knowing that at the time, the company was striving for more diversity in hiring. But, when I started working there, I realized quickly, that they forgot how to make their culture inclusive in the particular division I was hired in. When I was desperately trying to get away from the “Boys Club” that thwarted me my whole career, I found myself in the second to the worst ones I have ever dealt with. Adding a few females and a couple of PoC’s without having an inclusive culture is a bit of a moot point. Managers must realize that they need to create environments that will allow a wide spectrum of people to be able to feel they have a voice in the process.

I never want anyone at Our Machinery, employee or community member, ever feeling the way I felt all these years in the games industry. I felt like my potential to grow a company or make that company more money was capped because I was not respectfully included. Also, the feeling of code switching, is exhausting. It’s a terrible way to work. We want to make sure at the Our Machinery workplace employees are: Treated with Respect, Employees are Valued for their Strength and Talent, Employees are Empowered, EVERYONE is accountable for their actions, and We, as managers, will always do the right thing. I know you can take that last bit and turn it around to whatever whim a manager is trying to coerce. But, I have to say, part of the reason why I wanted to work with Tobias and Niklas, was because I know, as people, they will always do the right thing for others. They believe more so in the “Village” mentality instead of the “Individual”.

Another thing I want to mention is, I know that the ego has a strong hold on people, but in order for us to learn and grow we need to accept feedback. I’ll be the first one to admit a mistake. Even though I have strong opinions and want to be right all the time (ask my 10 year old about this), I am happy to step back and see a different outlook and implement it if it’s more efficient or better for the group/product/community. I also believe in hiring people smarter than yourself and giving them the credit they deserve. These will be traits we will look for in employees, especially anyone that will be managing people. I know first hand that a bad manager, even in an awesome company, can ruin an employee’s time and energy. All this wraps around to an environment that people can feel safe working in and can be more productive, instead of having to watch their own backs, code switch, and feel that they aren’t empowered to change situations for the better.

As I mentioned in my previous blog, we will be looking for all walks of life when we start hiring. That also includes industries (you don’t necessarily have to have game industry experience) and experience levels.