What are the core tenets of the stu­dio, and how does it en­force them? Richard Jolly ex­plains...


When you hear the phrase “com­pany val­ues”, it’s easy to roll your eyes. Most of us have heard the faux-mo­ti­va­tional term come out of an executive’s mouth and im­me­di­ately sensed the dis­hon­esty in it. But at Splash Dam­age it some­how seems to have be­come grown out­wardly from within the de­vel­oper, rather than forced onto it from the higher-ups.

“We didn’t know what val­ues were when we started, I’ll be hon­est,” ex­plains Jolly. “And so we went to ev­ery­one in the com­pany,

‘well... what are Splash Dam­age val­ues?

We’ve seen them at other com­pa­nies, what do we hold dear?’ And so we went through a sev­eral month process of cal­i­bra­tion and came up with our val­ues.”

There are seven of these core val­ues in to­tal, “We’re in­tensely loyal, we’re friendly and trust­ing, we’re self-re­liant, we put the team first, we can ex­press a can-do at­ti­tude; we pur­sue mas­tery.” Now these might seem rather like some cor­po­ra­tion false-speak, but they’re not just there for team lead­ers and HR man­agers to spout to mo­ti­vate the team. “We’ve been keen to not just have them be this ex­er­cise that has to be done, you write on the wall and peo­ple sa­lute them when they come in. We made sure that we brought it into the com­pany from the day to day of the com­pany more than any­thing else.”

This be­gins at in­ter­view stage, but it trick­les through to the way the com­pany op­er­ates, too. “Once peo­ple come in, we have a built-in pro­ba­tion pe­riod, peo­ple are as­sessed at that point. But the other thing we do that you won’t find at any other com­pany is the monthly con­ver­sa­tions. We found that the an­nual ap­praisal just doesn’t work. We find that do­ing it this way it just catches any is­sues quicker, but bet­ter. It goes both ways, it’s not just ‘how do you im­prove as an em­ployee?’, but also how do we im­prove as a com­pany? We’re quite in­tro­spec­tive in that re­gard. So that fol­lows the six-month process, and then cul­mi­nates with a peer re­view where you’re as­sessed by all of the peo­ple that you work on how you live up to these val­ues.”

If that sounds quite an in­tense, ob­jec­tive way of fig­ur­ing out a per­son­al­ity and how well any given per­son might fit within the com­pany, Jolly stresses that “it’s not that you’re judged greatly on that”.

The idea is to find out who the “val­ues cham­pi­ons are”, which is re­warded each month with the Val­ues Award.

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