Avalanche Studios Group's Lazian Ibrahim talked about the hiring process at the company, discussed the company's approach to education and managing burnout, and shared some advice for artists who wish to work at the company.
My name is Lazian Ibrahim. I joined the Talent Acquisition team at Avalanche Studios Group (ASG) about a year ago, following six years at Spotify as Senior Talent Acquisition Partner. The Talent Acquisition team is a part of the People Organization, and we support Avalanchers across all our locations – Stockholm, New York, Malmö, and Liverpool. I have an MSc in Occupational Psychology from the University of Nottingham. And as for joining the team, Sweden has so many gaming gems! It was just about time for me to join this blossoming industry.
Teams and Organization at Avalanche
At ASG, what we call the Craft Organization acts as the backbone and glue that keeps the disciplines (or crafts) together. People belong to their craft first and foremost. All the learnings from working on our various projects are regularly shared in craft meetings to ensure knowledge does not sit with one individual but is fed back into the whole discipline.
Hiring a New Specialist
Our vision is to create worlds beyond limits. That takes teams of very talented individuals who put collaboration first. We form teams that want to win together and celebrate each other’s different perspectives. Each person’s skills and unique competencies are assessed when considering someone for a role with us. Ultimately, we want to create an open and inclusive environment where Avalanchers are free to shape the way they make, collaborate, and communicate inside and outside of the studio.
Working with Beginners
To introduce all new Avalanchers to our business, portfolio, technology, culture, and values, we have an onboarding program that includes boot camps with the CEO and other key stakeholders. The onboarding program also includes formal touch points and support from both the project and Craft representatives, to help establish relations and connect new Avalanchers with teams, their Craft discipline, and the wider company. This is essential to ensure a successful start and integration with ASG at all levels. Building a strong culture and home base is important when you have three creative divisions with multiple projects. Here, the Craft Organization plays a vital role in keeping a "one-company-one-culture" approach.
It’s in our values and culture that all voices are heard and respected. It’s not just about listening. We invite and encourage new and different perspectives.
It is essential to us that we maintain a sound work-life balance, and we value a sustainable work environment over short-term gains. In order to stay healthy and productive, we all need time for re-energizing, as well as for family and friends.
To support the benefits of prioritizing our teams’ health, we work with weekly team engagement data, equipping our leaders and employees with sustainability capabilities and training. For those still going through stressful events in life or at work, we have a strong support structure with collaborative efforts from projects, Crafts, and HR.
Indeed! We foster an environment where innovation and creativity are always welcome. After all, creating open worlds requires an open mindset. We encourage new ideas, and our employees very much influence our ways of working. Each Avalancher we add to our teams contributes to our culture and ways of working. Together we explore unknown and unconventional paths.
Approach to Education at Avalanche
Education and continuous growth allow us to build world-class games and retain talent over time. We have a growth mindset where feedback is of the highest importance. Within their own craft, Avalanchers set a long-term growth plan. They do this together with their Craft Lead, who provides support, coaches, and inspires them to challenge themselves. This setup ensures that the long-term growth plan is continuously followed and reviewed. Growth occurs in a feedback loop between the employee, the Craft Lead, and the Producer. Having clear goals is essential and a strong motivator to level up.
Team Dynamics During the COVID Situation
All our operations had to be moved to a remote setup overnight. Considering this sudden and extreme shift, I’m impressed with how well it worked out. But of course, this doesn’t mean that it wasn’t challenging. Productivity, to us, very much involves creative insights and defining what the goals of each one of our games are. And these are not things you can check off of a list. It requires daily contact, interaction, and fast iterations, something that can be extremely tricky in a remote setup.
Later stages of the production process – when everyone is clear on the why, what, and how – are much easier to take on remotely.
Advice for Artists
Anyone who wants to be a part of an incredibly creative and collaborative environment, where they can apply their skills/competencies and contribute to creating innovative, open-world games, will thrive at ASG. Apply for the roles that match your experience and make it easy for us to see how great you are and what you excel at. We have the privilege of speaking to a lot of talented and creative people, and we love to hear all about the amazing work that you have done!