By Lukasz Blaszczak, Functionality QA Manager, Katowice
At Keywords Studios, we value staff development.
Learning and Development (L&D) departments have been showing significant value, for multiple businesses in multiple industries, for years.
However, L&D in Functionality Quality Assurance (FQA) for video games is often considered a low priority and an unnecessary cost generator.
The main reason for this thinking is that L&D teams are ‘just support functions’ and not direct revenue generators.
Many forget, however, that training is required to create a successful organization; continuously improving, attracting talent and winning new business for the company.
In this article, I will outline five reasons why investment in a robust L&D department is key to improved quality and success for the delivery of our key services in Katowice – FQA, Localization QA and Player Support.
In the modern world, access to information is virtually unlimited, with the caveat that many sources are far from reliable. This can create a risk that individual training efforts will be based on fake data.
Fake data sources often create confusion and result in people spending hours on irrelevant research and knowledge consumption, which may only lead to mistakes in future.
In Katowice, we use a different approach and consider investment in the internal L&D departments a foundation to building successful structures for the following:
- Efficient and well-oriented onboarding
- Training programs tailored to business needs
- Direct and immediate service line support (client/project)
- Better talent retention
- Better results and interpersonal relationship due to global collaboration
Let’s elaborate on these points one by one.
How we approach staff onboarding
A successful recruitment process doesn’t end the moment a candidate is hired and offered a contract. How effective the new employee will be from day one depends on how robust and successful the onboarding process is.
According to the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), 69% of employees are more likely to stay with a company for three years if they experienced great onboarding.
At smaller companies, it is easy to accommodate both the onboarding and on-the-job training by HR structures or senior employees, without heavily interrupting their regular workflow.
However, in our Katowice studio, we hire hundreds of people and the chances for offering such luxuries are limited. Most of the time, service lines have limited capacity for additional activities if they are aiming to deliver quality work on time.
This is where our L&D team comes into play.
Having a team dedicated to providing initial training to new hires ensures that employees will be prepared to deliver work of high quality and will not feel out of their depth when getting up to speed with company processes.
Moreover, if after undergoing initial training, the individual is uncertain about how particular assignments or activities should be completed, the L&D team is there to offer bespoke training sessions.
This is how we ensure our employees are prepared for new and existing challenges.
Building Learning and Development programs
There is a variety of training materials available on the market, be it the internet or through specialized training providers. However, not all of these may be relevant to your business and your employees may find them a waste of time.
Our L&D team gives us the advantage of designing training modules that not only match our business requirements but, most importantly, are tailored to each individual’s needs.
For instance, when designing training modules, Keywords trainers conduct a training need analysis (TNA) with a committee of managers who share best practices, advise on how to avoid potential risks as well as share real-life examples which can be later incorporated into workshop scenarios and delivered directly to the staff.
How the L&D team supports our service lines
Our L&D team is able to cooperate closely with the service line managers and react quickly to address potential competency gaps, specific project needs, as well as design training prior to a project kick-off.
As a result, we are able to develop strong structures, capable of handling multiple challenges and making good decisions. This ensures a high-quality service, as well as easier and more effective team management.
Increasing talent retention
Nowadays, people are motivated to consume information in order to increase knowledge.
If employees don’t feel like they have an opportunity to learn new skills, boost their careers, and ensure constant development, they will be looking for such opportunities elsewhere.
The internal L&D department allows us to accommodate these ambitions and ensure that tailored training materials match all employees’ needs and are relevant to their day-to-day work.
Satisfying employee needs boosts motivation and happy employees generally don’t change employers. We are proud to maintain staff retention at 98% for the FQA department in Katowice.
Collaboration on a global level
Keyword understands that alongside service line expansion globally, the need for training increases just as fast. Our training teams are located in locations around the world and what makes us effective in accommodating training requirements is how all L&D teams cooperate.
Creating a centralised knowledge hub makes it easy to fill all potential knowledge gaps.
Obviously, maintaining a knowledge hub doesn’t mean that all materials are fully applicable for each team but tailoring them to specific needs takes significantly less time than creating them from scratch.
With this ‘hive mind’ mentality, our trainers have managed to reduce the content creation time by nearly 50% and create a ‘Global Learning Academy’.
We all learn from each other and have an opportunity to exchange experience and we share credit when training is based on materials developed by other L&D individuals. These simple elements allow us to create stronger bonds between locations and teammates.
As a result, we’ve created a team atmosphere where we work towards a mutual goal and employees report a feeling a of value, focus and belonging.
Conclusion: Benefits outweigh the costs
While establishing and maintaining a strong Learning and Development department requires effort and generates initial cost to the business, the number of benefits greatly compensates for it.
Being able to produce well-tailored training materials in nearly a 50% shorter time spans and strengthening the relationship between studios and service lines globally with the result of 98% staff retention is definitely worth the effort.
If you are interested in a Functionality QA role at Keywords Studios, you can find current open positions on our Careers page.