GameHouse is the largest developer, publisher and distributor of casual games with millions of players around the world. Founded in 1998, GameHouse started as a small studio in Seattle, Washington and has expanded to more than 100 employees distributed around the world.
The personal and professional development of GameHouse employees has always been a key goal for founder Rutger Peters . He explained that from the beginning, “We spent half our time thinking about how we can build a strong team, a culture that fosters collaboration and that gets people to work really well together.” Previously, GameHouse carried out performance reviews twice a year, during which each employee had to answer 6 basic questions. Questions were constructed to indicate whether an employee needed to start, stop or continue specific work-related habits.
The tedious nature of filling out forms and the overall feedback outcome did not produce actionable goals for employees in the way the HR team intended.
In their mission to support employees in their personal development and enable better growth conversations between managers and employees, GameHouse planned to increase their review cycles from twice to 4 times a year. With this new strategy, Peters sought to finally have a system where employee development would be the main focus. “In an effort to build a company that would last and continue to be on top of new innovations in the marketplace we wanted to build a people first culture.” Since Google Docs did not prove to be efficient enough for performance review cycles, GameHouse was in need of an engaging system that was time-efficient and easy to use.
It took only 2 days to set up accounts and get Impraise ready to go. GameHouse conducted a 360-degree review cycle in a total of 2 weeks with barely any maintenance work. When it comes to how people adopted the tool Peters says that employees easily started using it with the help of the user-friendly interface, “but Impraise still provided necessary tutorials to those who might need it.”
GameHouse currently uses Impraise for quarterly 360-degree reviews for the whole team and also leadership reviews for managers. “As we’ve grown we realized there’s no way any leader can continuously provide coaching to each person on their team – that’s just unrealistic. By creating this 360-feedback loop we were able to ensure everyone has a clear insight into their professional development and is able to seek guidance when needed,” Peters explained. During leadership reviews, each team manager reeives upward feedback from their direct reports providing valuable insights into their leadership capabilities.
Peters reported about the first accomplishment of Impraise at GameHouse. Comparing the time previously spent on 4 review cycles , the new feedback system now allows GameHouse to save roughly $20,000 each year. This is not even taking into account the time and frustration Impraise has saved managers and employees in each review cycle.
Peters states that employees and managers love the user interface, which has increased the participation rate up to 98 percent. According to Peters,
He emphasized how easy it is for employees to compare the results of the feedback they receive, which makes it easier for both GameHouse and employees to see how much they improve over a given year.
Peters describes the effect of leadership feedback as “an empowering experience” for managers, where they receive insightful opinion about their management capabilities. With the learnings from leadership reviews, team managers are now able to devise their own development plans.
GameHouse have recently decided to connect their whole bonus system to feedback exchange between peers in order to make feedback a true core value of the company process. Bonuses are now decided according to who provides their peers with the most helpful feedback.
Most remarkable change
Peters identifies the most remarkable change they went through with Impraise has been the ability to give Gamehouse employees a sense of ownership when it comes to their development. The initial aim was to start with 4 times per year performance reviews initiated by the company. But after 2 cycles, people already started using the peer feedback feature and began requesting feedback from their coworkers and managers. Peters explained that,