Remote Control Productions' Hiring Practices & Working Culture

Chief People Officer at Remote Control Productions Ina Lesser told us about the working culture at RCP Family, spoke about the company's approach to education, and explained how to make beginners feel welcomed.

Introduction Please introduce yourself and your team. Where did you study? How did you join the team?

Ina Lesser, Chief People Officer at Remote Control Productions: My name is Ina, Chief People Officer at RCP, running our HR crew with Nika, Yana, and Debby. Originally, I studied and worked in the architecture industry. Nowadays, I am building teams, which I enjoy way better. I joined the RCP team almost 13 years ago after helping with office moving/redesign and became the first full-time HR person.

Remote Control Productions How is work organized at Remote Control? Could you tell us about different teams? What projects you are proud of the most?

Ina Lesser: We work with a holacratic approach, meaning everybody has roles and accountabilities. We organize in strikeforce and crews for specific studios and disciplines. Members can have different roles in several projects.

We have a colorful variation of teams (studios) in different countries, of different sizes, different ages, and individual specialties. Every studio is unique. In daily business, we use common tools for communication, like Slack & Zoom. We also use project management tools for keeping track of tasks and setting goals. All strikeforce teams have regularly synch meetings with the teams and two times a year the whole RCP Family runs their own summit where we talk and learn from each other.

Of course, I have helped teams to grow from one person to 70 people and do good business. This fact and all the great games, which were shipped from the RCP Family studios, make me very proud!

Important Skills What skills do you consider when hiring a new specialist? Are there any particular soft skills that are important to your team?

Ina Lesser: The consideration of experience, expertise, and skills depends on the position and seniority we need for a certain role/position or project. When junior applicants don’t have the skills yet but show interest in learning and potential to grow, teaching skills is not a problem. We do that a lot.

When hiring a more senior person, I am expecting proven experiences and skills in a specific area. Most important is the Value Fit. We are looking for new team members who identify with our values and our company culture.

Creating a Welcoming Atmosphere How do you make sure that beginners feel welcomed and safe at the studio? How do you help them build a common understanding with other teammates?

Ina Lesser: We always set up a proper onboarding plan. The first weeks are scheduled with "welcome sessions" in different departments and project members. Also, office management and HR give introductions and explain general rules and guidelines, which are documented in our Handbook. Thanks to the relocation package and support offered by us, new colleagues in the office can concentrate on their new job without any worries.

Everybody has a "buddy" on their side during the first three months. A colleague from the team you can go to with everyday questions. Our office in Munich is also a great place to hang out casually. People use it a lot during breaks, lunch, and after-work activities.

On top of that, we are hosting a lot of on-site events during the year, and that gives you a great opportunity to network and get to know your peers and colleagues from other studios of the RCP Family. for example, Dev Summits & on-site team or project events, Oktoberfest, a Christmas party, etc. Do you consider freedom an important part of your environment? Can artists suggest new strategies and workflows? Can they affect strategic decisions?

Ina Lesser: First of all, feedback and suggestions are always welcome. That’s why we do retrospectives, right? We want and need to improve our workflows all the time. Can these feedbacks and suggestions affect strategic decisions? It depends. If you can convince all the stakeholders, maybe.

Also, depending on your maturity level, you have certain accountabilities in your field of expertise. Mostly there is a common goal you want to reach. How you reach it, it’s up to you and your team. If you have a good alignment and transparent communication, you can mostly run your daily business as it suits you.

"Freedom" is a big word. Art is always somewhat personal and subjective. Because of our high standards, we have the pleasure to work with fantastic artists. This often leads to the fact that we also enjoy a high level of trust on the part of our clients.

Caring About Mental Health How do you manage burnout? What strategies do you use? What do you do to keep the employees' mental health balanced?

Ina Lesser: First of all, we talk about mental health-related topics. It is not a secret that every one of us has our issues and topics we are struggling with. It is normal to feel overwhelmed or depressed sometimes.

Teamwise, we regularly ask about the mood and also share the results in team meetings. But we also have individual checkpoints such as quarterly reports, annual reviews, and regular 1on1s. Coaching and mentoring are also a big part of our culture.

The well-being of our colleagues is very important to us. We offer weekly professional health coaching sessions with a Sports Scientist & Medical Training Therapist during working hours (live or virtual). We have been doing this for years and the slots are very well received.

Approach to Education How do you approach education? How do you train your staff and motivate them to level up?

Ina Lesser: We do in-house training, Show & Tells, summits, and focus days. We also have external trainers for workshops and coaching. Specific online training and conference visits are also possible.

The RCP Family counts 15 studios and more than 350 developers from all over the world. We encourage exchange among themselves and knowledge transfer on various platforms. Our own Devsummit in Munich is also a wonderful event to meet in person and attend interesting panels and talks from the various departments

Affect of the Pandemic What's your take on the post-COVID situation? How did it change your team dynamics? What did you have to modify? Do you think remote work damages productivity?

Ina Lesser: Not sure if it is "post"-COVID, but anyways, we need to deal with this new situation. It changed a lot. We were an on-site working company. The home office was not common. So yes, it changed the dynamics, specifically the way we need to communicate and make everything transparent to have smooth workflows and knowledge transfer. We needed to set up clear communication rules and workflows and put people in "driver seats" for certain topics. Accountabilities needed to be crystal clear.

Team leads especially needed to modify their daily schedules. Logistically, we needed to play Tetris with our calendars to find regular slots for extra synch calls and 1on1s. Just over Slack, you cannot run a team or company. Sometimes people need a face-to-face conversation, especially in times like this.

And no, I think when the setup is good and the people are ok, then the motivation is there, and therefore there is no significant productivity damage. For now, we are settling into the Hybrid Model. Some are mostly remote (international employees), others are partly remote (3 days office/2 days HO), and others don’t like the home office and come in every day.

Conclusion Could you share some tips for artists willing to work at your studio? What should they focus on?

Ina Lesser: You should have a desire for the studio first. WHY would you like to work for one of our game studios? For example, for Chimera Entertainment? Do you like their games and their style in general? It is always good to find out about the studio and its track record portfolio, and then tailor your application accordingly. Within that, it's good if you can show a variety of different techniques and styles. That shows that you know your craft.

Ina Lesser, Chief People Officer at Remote Control Productions

Interview conducted by Arti Burton

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