increase team member understanding and make it easier for them to apply what
they’ve learned on their next project.
Another way Ubisoft facilitates global knowledge sharing is through the
Ubisoft Developers Conference (UDC), held annually in Montreal, Canada.
The event brings developers from around the world together to participate in
workshops and roundtable discussions, and attend presentations. (Presentations
are streamed on an internal Ubisoft website so that teams can watch around
the world.) Lasting several days, UDC gives employees the chance to informally
discuss technological advances made by the organization’s production teams, as
well as new industry trends and tools.
On a local level, the Ubisoft Shanghai studio holds periodic knowledge sharing
events. Groups gather to conduct a project postmortem or hear a presentation
about a new technology. For example, artists and game designers can listen to an
engineer talk about artificial intelligence to facilitate cross-team understanding.
The studio also holds knowledge sharing events after team members attend
international industry conferences. “When an employee comes back from the
annual Game Developers Conference, a training specialist works with him or
her to choose highlights of the conference to share with others who didn’t
attend,” Ms. Ji says. “Presenters aren’t necessarily senior developers—we believe
everyone has something to share.”
Like the academy programs, local knowledge sharing events transfer knowl-
edge to all team members while also helping individuals develop specific skills.
In this case, conference attendees can practice presentation skills. Ubisoft
Shanghai’s knowledge transfer practices are about more than augmenting
employees’ respective skills, however. The studio also sees them
as bridges between teams that create organizational cohesion.
The studio’s training team noticed that most people are interested in what other teams are working on, but they don’t fully
understand how those other teams function. For example, an
animator might be unfamiliar with the constraints and challenges
a software engineer might face. To bridge the gap, “we organize a
lot of cross-functional knowledge sharing sessions that use examples of real-life problems different kinds of developers encounter
every day,” Ms. Ji says.
All of Ubisoft’s knowledge transfer practices—online resources
and communication platforms, Academy of Experts programs,
studio-specific sessions and events—have a healthy byproduct
beyond improving teams’ skills and productivity: They also foster engagement. High employee engagement strongly correlates
to lower turnover rates, good ROI and a positive corporate culture, according to the 2014 PwC report The Keys to Corporate
Responsibility Employee Engagement.
Ubisoft Shanghai has seen that positive dynamic at work through biennial
internal surveys, Ms. Ji says. “Our surveys of employees demonstrate that the
knowledge sharing opportunities play a very important motivational factor in
terms of retention.” PM
demonstrate that the
a very important
motivational factor in
terms of retention.”