Team17 CEO promises “action” following accusations of poor working conditions

"I won't brush over anything that was said or ignore any of the points being made. It will all be thoroughly investigated"

Team17 CEO Michael Pattison has told employees that “action has to be taken” following an in-depth and damning report about conditions at the company

Last week, more than a dozen past and present Team17 employees spoke to Eurogamer following the backlash over a proposed Worms NFT project.

As well as describing poor working conditions (long hours, bad pay) staff described their lack of faith in the company’s HR team, saying that it failed to act when alerted to issues surrounding sexual harassment.

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Women were reportedly sent degrading messages and suggestive photos by male colleagues. After they were reported to HR, the incidents were minimised, perpetrators were given a slap on the wrist, and victims were told to sort it out amongst themselves.

One woman said staff are now afraid to go to HR, as they felt they would be “gaslit”.

At the time, Team17 released a lengthy statement that said: “Team17 Digital takes its responsibilities to its staff extremely seriously. We constantly review our internal policies and practises and assess how we support our employees through our engagement survey and through direct dialogue with the team, including newly-established employee-led working groups.”

According to Eurogamer, Pattison addressed Team17 in a company-wide meeting last Friday (February 11) and announced an immediate pay review for staff in the company’s QA department, who had previously described their wages as “low” and “terrible”.

Details of the 20-minute meeting were passed to Eurogamer by staff “eager to see words put into action” but Team17 declined to comment further.

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Pattison said Team17’s planned NFT project was “totally outside of the principles and values we have as a company” before he promised “an extensive review of how we build a business that better supports its employees”.

Worms NFTs
Credit: Team17

“I’m committed to taking action, I won’t brush over anything that was said or ignore any of the points being made. It will all be thoroughly investigated, you have my guarantee on that,” he continued.

Speaking about overworked staff, Pattison said” “We’re struggling. As we grow there is always going to be an increasing need to sign potentially more titles – or refocus and sign higher quality titles with more commercial potential. And that’s my focus. I’m trying to improve that ratio, I don’t want to see us on a continual treadmill of just filling the pipe.”

“We have a responsibility to our shareholders, to our investors to hit targets, but we also have a responsibility to our employees, our development partners and consumers to deliver the best product possible… I’m committed to finding that sweet spot,” he continued.

Speaking about the concerns over sexual harassment, Pattison said the studio had a zero tolerance policy to any cases of this nature, and wanted to improve any difficulties staff faced raising issues with line managers or the company’s HR department. “We need to create a safe space where people can bring things to our attention”

Speaking to Eurogamer, staff said they were also “cautiously optimistic”.

Pattison finished the meeting by saying: “It has to be a collective effort for us all to get back on track and to get us through these tough months, but I believe we care about the games and we care about the people. I appreciate this is just words, but action will be taken.”

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