How Splash Damage created a tailored approach to performance management

Elissa Dennis
16th July 2020
social media undefined iconsocial media undefined icon

Splash Damage is a British video game developer who’s worked on the iconic universes of HALO, Gears, Batman, DOOM, QUAKE, and Wolfenstein. Founded 19 years ago by three friends who met playing games online, their core aim has remained constant – to make multiplayer games that bring people together.

In the autumn of 2017, the company reached the stage where they needed a more structured and coherent approach to performance management to support their ambitious growth objectives. They were looking for a solution to complement their unique company culture and reflect the rapidly evolving nature of the online games sector.

Listening to the business, finding the right path

In the early days of the business, spreadsheets had been enough to track employees’ objectives and reviews. However, with more than 300 employees this was no longer fit for purpose. Splash Damage wanted to find a system and a provider that would be flexible enough to suit their needs and adaptable enough to evolve with them as their organisation grew.

The challenge:

  • Fuelling better, more productive conversations between managers and employees.
  • Focusing on employees’ development and wellbeing, moving beyond discussionsthat were based purely performance and pay.
  • Linking personal goals and objectives more closely to those of the organisation to help drive the business forward effectively.
  • Creating one, central location for performance data, which could be easily accessed to review progress and better inform decisions.

The solution

After reviewing various options, Appraisd was selected. Splash Damage were particularly drawn to:

  1. The enormous flexibility it offered
  2. How easily it could be adapted to their unique approach.
  3. The intuitive nature of the system
  4. How simple it was to adopt

Positive impact

“Overall, the reaction has been really positive” says Head of HR, Kate Lindsay. “We introduced monthly conversations as part of our new approach. This ensures a range of topics, such as development needs, career progression or wellbeing are discussed regularly. With the introduction of self-assessment reviews, employees feel empowered to have their say – conversations are now inclusive and collaborative, rather than a one-way from manager to employee.”

Breaking the link between performance reviews and pay

This has been an essential part of their approach. Splash Damage want employees to feel comfortable to express themselves in their monthly sessions and for managers to see them as human beings, not cogs in a machine. It has required an effort from everyone in the business to create a change of mindset. Employees now see performance conversations as opportunities to develop themselves as individuals, not solely there to determine levels of pay. Introducing a new promotion and salary review process alongside this approach to performance development has helped achieve this goal.

Developing a more constructive feedback culture

Splash Damage has always had an open, friendly, and inclusive environment and embracing feedback is an essential part of maintaining this culture. Introducing fully transparent 360 reviews for employees, including feedback from everyone they have worked with across the organisation has helped strengthen collaboration between teams and provided a much more rounded perspective for employees. Everyone has embraced the clarity of this approach and the opportunity to offer and receive constructive comments from whoever they work with.

“We monitor the reviews our managers and employees have, and we’ve seen a marked improvement in the quality of feedback being given. We provide continuous training on this and are delighted that more detailed and constructive conversations are happening in the business.”

Working with Appraisd

“I’ve always viewed working with Appraisd like collaborating with a partner”, says Kate. “Performance management is not something that you do once and leave, especially in our industry. It must evolve with the changing requirements of our market, so employees are prepared and able to rise to the next challenge. The rapid and reliable support from their customer success team helps us to do just that.

Our requests are always welcomed and considered, no matter how small. I recently requested for the language on the system to become gender neutral. Not only did Appraisd act on this straightaway, they also offered it as an option to all their other customers.”

Splash Damage on Appraisd

Launched in 2017

93% of employees logged on in June 2020

3101 reviews completed between June 2019 and June 2020

1119 objectives created between June 2019 and June 2020