“It’s been six months since I joined Riot, and it’s been a whirlwind to say the least,” wrote Riot Games Chief Diversity Officer Angela Rosoboro. She signed on with Riot at a tumultuous time in the Los Angeles-based game developer’s history. As the subject of a Kotaku exposé that alleged a male-dominated culture, Riot knew that it had big changes to undergo.
To head up these changes, Riot reached out to Roseboro, Dropbox’s then global head of diversity, equity, and inclusion. “In so many words, I saw the heart of Riot, and I was hooked. Clearly a little weathered by the months that preceded my joining, I knew that Riot was ready for a transformation. I was ready and eager to help lead that charge.” In a recent article posted on Riot’s website, Riot Games One Year Later: My Reflections, Roseboro details some of the changes that have since occurred. Here are some highlights of these efforts.
Bringing in the Heavy Hitters
Aspirations are one thing, but aligning a company culture with those aspirations is a completely different ballgame. To accomplish the latter, it helps to have seasoned experts in cultural diversity and inclusion on board. That is why Riot tapped Frances Frei and Youngme Moon. Frei joined Riot in an advisory role, and Moon joined Riot’s board of directors. Since joining the board, Moon has created a committee that holds the company accountable on D&I issues. Moon is the Donald K. David professor of business administration at Harvard Business School and has authored such books as “Different: Escaping the Competitive Herd” and “Same Kind of Different as Me.”
Change Through Leadership
Riot’s leadership has also undergone expansion in the last year. The executive leadership team, which is now comprised of 28 percent women and 45 percent minorities, is currently being led by CEO Nicolo Laurent. Emily Winkle joined Riot as the company’s chief people officer and also serves on the executive leadership team. Other Riot initiatives that are now being lead by key women include the Riot Platform Group, League of Legends, the Art Department, and some of the company’s most exciting R&D projects.
Fostering Healthy Business Partnerships
There are a lot of nonprofits that have been thoroughly committed to the change that Riot is set on bringing about. Take Girls Who Code for example. The Los Angeles-based nonprofit has been promoting coding education for young women for years. Riot partnered with Girls Who Code to offer a summer immersion program for under-represented groups of women. This program just had its very first graduation ceremony and is sure to have many successful classes to come. Riot also joined up with the Melinda Gates’ Reboot Representation Coalition to help advance its goal to double the number of women of color who graduate from computer science programs by 2025. These efforts focus on tomorrow’s workforce to ensure a more equitable future in game development.
Refining the Process
Roseboro has been instrumental in helping Riot fine-tune its D&I processes from the ground up. From the compensation process to recruiting, Roseboro has guided a re-evaluation of the systems that make up Riot and has asked if they can be better. After a thorough pay equity analysis, Riot has fine-tuned its compensation structures. As far as the recruiting process goes, Roseboro changed how Riot posted openings, how it implemented sourcing strategies, and how it built hiring panels and offers to ensure that the opportunity to attract talent from different backgrounds and perspectives remains a central focus.
Riot’s Cultural Evolution
In 2018, more than 1,700 rioters voiced that Riot Games needed values that reflected their cultural aspirations. In response to these concerns, Riot, under Roseboro’s guidance, established new values that shaped how the company worked. The goal was to make impossible dreams come true for players all over the world. To implement these values, Riot expanded and accelerated training and education programs across all levels of the company.
To date, 2,500 Rioters completed more than 12,000 hours of D&I training. Furthermore, Riot Games created platforms to connect, leverage, and engage its players and fans. These platforms are now known as Rioter Identity Groups and include several facets like Rad-Genders (gender and non-binary), Riot Noir (Black and African-American), Rainbow Rioters (LGBTQ+), Veterans, and Filipinos at Riot. These groups aim to foster a sense of belonging and community among Rioters. The groups will also provide Riot with insights and direction on D&I challenges and opportunities.
You can visit Riot’s Diversity & Inclusion virtual hub here.