Nov 15, 2018 IN Game Dev Talks

People Team: Manage people development, not the performance


The 8th episode of the Talks with experts is here so I hope you guys are ready for some serious knowledge sharing. This time you will meet Martina, our People Partner here in Pixel Federation and we will discuss the importance of people development in our company and what exactly it means to us. If you feel like watching the full video, instead of reading the blog, don't hesitate to visit our YouTube channel and explore our knowledge sharing series by your self.

First of all, to better understand the term People Partner, what exactly is your role and what are your responsibilities?

The mission of our People team is to have skilled people, who will love their jobs and who will work together towards the same goal, which is, obviously, making free to play games that our players will love! And my part in this mission is to create and maintain targeted development for our colleagues, that connects both our business needs and their individual needs. My second task is to focus on finding improvements in our processes and activities for the people. I do it also by conducting an internal survey called Like It. Its goal is to find out how are our people satisfied with their jobs, how they are content with their teams and working with their leads. And based on the results we identify the critical issues our teams need to focus on in the future so we can improve ourselves and make things better here at the Pixel. This survey is an opportunity for our people to speak up and to say how they feel here and on the other hand it’s a tool for us as a people team to listen to them. And that is the most important part of my job here.

What does the happy employee mean for Pixel Federation?

Every year we ask our people to name the areas they value the most about their job here. And the results are quite surprising as the salary does not come out in the top 3 ranks. The first and most important thing for our colleagues is the type of work they do, the second one is the people and the team they work with, the third one is the possibility to learn and grow at work. And just then comes the money they got for the job. Another thing that people really value here is that they have the freedom to make their own decision at work. And we are very happy with these results.

What does the people development in a gaming company look like?

Our number one priority is to keep up with the constant changes in the gaming industry where nothing is certain and nothing is stable. We strive to connect the people development with market and business needs with their individual needs. And we have a special system for that. Our people are divided between different crafts, such as Artists, Game Designers, Coders, Marketers, Social Media, Data etc. And for each of the craft, we try to match the designated learning format. For artists, we have the Artboosts which are the series of workshops and knowledge sharing sessions with senior colleagues or with experts from outside of the company. For programmers, we have Progress, for game developers we have Level up. Within the Level ups, our GDs get different challenges and solve various assignments under the guidance of a craft owner, an expert in their field, who gives them constant feedback. In the same time, each of the craft has its own skill set, the group of skills needed for the position within the craft, that was defined together with our craft owners and seniors in the craft. Every year we map the level of the skills of our people and subsequently create new learning activities. Moreover, as we believe in the power of knowledge sharing we encourage our people to share their knowledge with their colleagues and mentor them. And of course, we need to learn from the outside so we regularly invite experts to our company to exchange the know-how together.

A while ago you changed the name of the department from HR to People Team. Can you explain to us why you did that?

This change may sound just like a wordplay but we really believe that we should approach the people as human beings not just as resources for the company, like computers etc. The whole concept of HR was created a hundred years ago, so it was about the time to change it.

Last but not least, what is the message that you would like to share with other HR managers out there?

Focus on managing the development of the people, not on their performance. Because when you give them the opportunity to learn and grow their skills, their performance will move up too. My second advice is - always try to listen to your people and try to help them. And the third, the most important thing - connect your actions with the feedback you receive from the people.

So as you can see we don't develop just games :) And how does it work in the company you work for? Tell us about your approach. Don't hesitate to ask further questions and discuss this week’s topic in the Facebook group called Free to play game developers. Please feel free to invite your fellow game developers as well :)

Katarína Zacharová

PR Manager

With Pixel since 2014, grew from Community management, through Social Media to Public Relations. Hates pizza but eats it anyway.