What You Should Know
Riot Games is known for its team-played online game, League of Legends; employees say the company culture is no less team-centered. Staffers are so united they collectively call themselves Rioters, and 95 percent say the company has a family or team feel. Rioters enjoy perks including free lunch on Tuesdays, unlimited PTO and an annual companywide trip. Those who prioritize work-life balance may not find Riot the best fit. But 98 percent of Rioters say they look forward to coming to work daily to a caring, fun and great workplace.
“We aren't employees, we're Rioters!" describes one team member. "The people in the community we work for are players, not customers. Everyone here is also a player and we love building games for others.”
WHAT THEY DO
Riot develops and publishes the online game League of Legends.
| Website: www.riotgames.com
|| US Headquarters: Santa Monica, California
| US Sites: 3
|| Major Locations: Santa Monica, CA; St Louis, MO; New York, NY
| US Employees: 1052
|| Employees worldwide: 408
| Founded: 2006
|| Industry: Media
How much responsibility would I have? What kind of support is there for professional development?
Great Rated! conducted an anonymous survey of randomly selected Rioters to assess the quality of the workplace challenges the company provides. At Riot, 90 percent of its team report the company often or almost always provides needed training, fair promotions and personally challenging work. Another 8 percent report the company sometimes provides these opportunities, for a combined positive rating from 98 percent of Rioters in the Great Challenges category.
Riot employees, called Rioters, develop and publish the online game League of Legends. Teams write code, create game art, design the game, connect with the community and publish and market the finished product. The company has approximately 1,052 people in the United States, where they operate three locations.
A striking number of Rioters (97 percent) say they carry a lot of responsibility in the organization, and the vast majority (94 percent) also say that managers trust them to carry out these responsibilities without micromanaging them. For almost all Rioters (97 percent), their work at Riot is more than just a job: The chance to be part of a player-focused game company provides special meaning.
At Riot, 90 percent of the company feels they receive the training and development they need to further their careers. While it is often difficult for companies to ensure that promotions are awarded fairly across organizations, at Riot, 84 percent say that promotions consistently go to those who best deserve them, exceeding what one can typically expect even at the very best companies in the country.
Supporting Employee Development
- Average annual training for part-time hourly employees: 35 hours
- Average annual training for full-time salaried employees: 35 hours
- Riot has an official internship program and some of its most veteran Rioters actually began as company interns. The company says it believes interns should work on meaningful projects that have impact - such as working with player support, doing concept art, pushing code to live servers or getting mentored - not fetching coffee. Riot also offers one-on-ones with managers for Rioters to discuss long-term goals, education, career interests and potential areas for growth. There's also an annual review process to help employees progress with their goals. Riot provides mentorship, books on career guidance, speaking opportunities at industry events, management workshops and other classes and training options. There's also the possibility for Rioters to travel, because the company has so many international sites.
Riot has invested more this year in learning and development, which I think really speaks to its long-term investment in its employees and to how they do truly recognize that their people are their most important asset. These opportunities aren't just in the form of tuition reimbursement and the "usual" types of things. They offer classes around better communication and conflict resolution (e.g. Crucial Conversations), and they regularly do offsite training with leadership on case studies with Harvard Business School around topics that are highly relevant to us as we scale. Additionally, the company is quick to recognize when there may be misalignments in management and organizes companywide training and learning opportunities to help address them.
What would my colleagues be like? How do people have fun? How formal a workplace is it?
At Riot, 93 percent of the team say they often or almost always enjoy their colleagues and find their workplace to be fun and cooperative. Another 5 percent sometimes benefits from these qualities, for a combined positive rating from 98 percent of Rioters in the Great Atmosphere category.
Though a lot of the work happens at Riot's headquarters in Santa Monica, Calif., the company is global, and has offices in St. Louis, Mo., New York, Dublin, Seoul, São Paulo, Istanbul, Moscow, Sydney, Taipei, Cologne, Hong Kong and Tokyo. Riot's offices feature open work spaces to reflect and promote the transparent culture it advocates. There are no physical doors between people, except in the case of sound designers and composers who need soundproofed offices. In addition, the CEO and president have an open-desk policy, so Rioters can talk to them at any time. Some people also work remotely.
Fun and Celebrations
- Rioters also have fun celebrating holidays and have access to the company's extensive list of special-interest clubs, including clubs for foodies, outdoor enthusiasts, dancers, gamers, basketball players and more.
- The team gets together every year for We Riot, a celebratory event that allows Rioters to connect from all over the globe.
- Rioters are a bunch of jokesters, which they demonstrate each year by springing an April Fool's Day joke on players.
Caring and Support
- Riot offers flexible hours and open paid time off, giving its people the freedom to work a schedule that's right for them and take time off as they need to. Rioters can also work remotely in some cases.
- The company offers one-on-ones, which are designed for more than just career development. Whenever a Rioter has work-life balance concerns or is dealing with a significant life event, they are encouraged to sit down with a manager to discuss the issue and come up with a way for the company to meet the Rioter's needs.
- Riot's bereavement leave generally provides as much time off as people require to make arrangements and manage the loss however they need.
- Riot also offers a subsidized gym membership, supplemented by free fitness classes from kickboxing to yoga that are open to family members at no additional charge.
People celebrate special events around here.
Riot is unlike any company that I've been at before. Everyone here plays games because it's their passion. It also feels like no one crunches which is normal in the games industry, but everyone puts in extra hours because they care so much about what they are doing. This is also a company whose mission statement is "to be the most player-focused game company in the world," and everything that Riot does works toward being resonant to the players who play League of Legends.
What kind of perks and benefits are part of the employment package? What is the work-life balance like? Does the company appreciate hard work?
At Riot, 83 percent of its team often or almost always find the company compensates them fairly, provides special and unique benefits, supports their work-life balance and shows genuine appreciation for their contributions. Another 12 percent report they sometimes receive these benefits as well, for a combined positive rating from 95 percent of Rioters in the Great Rewards category.
There are yearly company-paid trips and an open PTO "Play Fund" - $300 allotted yearly to spend on video games for research and keeping up in the industry. We all play League, for the most part, and love playing together throughout the work week. There are company tournaments for League of Legends a few times a year and a biannual company hack-a-thon to work on whatever we want for three days. There are full kitchens, stocked breakfast foods and fruit and up to $10 toward dinner delivery for those working late, daily.
COMPENSATION BY THE NUMBERS
| 80% Company-paid health coverage for dependents
|| $124,620 Average salary and additional cash compensation for Software Engineer
| 100% 401(k) match of first 3% of employee's salary, then 50% of the next 2% for a total of up to 4%
|| 80% Company-paid health coverage for employees
PERKS TO MAKE LIFE EASIER
- Free snacks during the day
- Subsidized lunch on a regular, daily basis
- Take-home meals on a regular, daily basis
- Massage therapy
- Free beverages during the day
- Free breakfast foods on a regular, daily basis
- Onsite package/mailing service
- Fitness classes
WORK-LIFE BALANCE BY THE NUMBERS
| 365 days Holidays & vacation days
|| 60 days Job protected maternity leave provided above and beyond FMLA
| 20 days Paid leave for adoptive parents
WORK-LIFE BALANCE PROGRAMS
- Unpaid sabbaticals
- Telecommute option (100% use it)
- Lactation rooms
- Flexible schedule (100% use it)
- Compressed work weeks (100% use it)
I am able to take time off from work when I think it's necessary.
People are encouraged to balance their work life and their personal life.
The flexible schedule and open PTO policy really help with work-life balance. We work hard while we are here, and a lot of us work long hours, but we are trusted to set our own schedules and take the time off we need for the most part.
HEALTH INSURANCE COVERS
- Dental care
- Prescription drug subsidy
- Alternative treatments, such as acupuncture, homeopathy or chiropractic
- Vision care
- Mental health care
- Fertility treatments
ONSITE HEALTH BENEFITS
- Subsidized offsite gym memberships
What inspires employees' company spirit here? Do people stand by their teams' work? What impact do people have outside the organization?
At Riot, 97 percent of the team report that they often or almost always carry meaningful responsibilities within the organization and are proud of their accomplishments, community impact and the company's reputation in the world. Another 2 percent report that they sometimes experience this pride as well, for a combined positive rating from 99 percent of Rioters in the Great Pride category.
Riot aims to keep customers' needs top-of-mind and goes out of its way to refer to them as players. Riot created and runs League of Legends, which was launched in 2009. Since then, League of Legends has grown to become the world’s most-played video game in terms of hours played a month. More than 67 million play each month.
I'm proud to tell others I work here.
Rioters have a shared set of values and ethics that tie us all together. We take play seriously. We always put our players first. Everyone here knows our core beliefs and acts in accordance with them. Everyone here takes pride in working at Riot. I am excited every day to get up and come into the office. I can't imagine any other company that would give me the same feeling. My team is so important to me, and we work so well together. Also the executives are the best executives you could ask for. They understand how to be leaders in today's industry and work tirelessly to make sure we love our jobs.
Supporting the Community
- Riot donated to the Red Cross after the Japanese earthquake and tsunami in 2012 and over the 2013-2014 holiday period, Riot offered 100-percent donation matching to Rioters who wanted to donate to the Red Cross.
- The company has also partnered with the Make-A-Wish Foundation and often reaches out to inspiring members of its gaming community, such as disabled players, with invites to big industry events and office tours.
I feel good about the ways we contribute to the community.
People are celebrated here. We expect a lot of everyone but also are supportive and caring when we fail. We care deeply about our players and make grand efforts to give back to the community.
How easy is it to talk with managers and get the information I need? Will managers listen to my input?
At Riot, 89 percent of the team says they often or almost always experience a free and transparent exchange of ideas and information within the organization. Another 8 percent sometimes have this experience as well, for a combined positive rating from 97 percent of Rioters in the Great Communication category.
Although Riot's people operate out of multiple offices, most Rioters have access to the information they need, with more than nine out of 10 saying their managers are approachable and easy to talk with. Nearly as many report that leaders genuinely seek and respond to suggestions and ideas, and 88 percent of staffers feel they can ask management any reasonable question and come away with a straight answer.
When you notice something that's wrong with the company, you're encouraged to speak up. All feedback is actually taken seriously. The internal "Pain Page" allows employees to vote on issues they find most distressing, and they'll receive responses and action will be taken.
What are managers' leadership strengths?
At Riot, 83 percent of the team says their managers often or almost always act with integrity and care, are competent in their positions and provide clear directions and vision for the organization. Another 13 percent say their managers sometimes display these characteristics, for a combined positive rating from 96 percent of Rioters in the Great Bosses category.
Riot's people widely appreciate the company pride and fun atmosphere their managers encourage. Rioters paint a portrait of effective and caring leaders who demonstrate integrity. A large majority of the team (93 percent) say managers are competent at running the business. A significant majority (92 percent) also feel that their managers show a sincere interest in them as people, not just employees, with 85 percent saying they believe leadership would only lay people off as a last resort. Additionally, 89 percent say managers' actions match their words, and 87 percent say that leaders deliver on their promises. A remarkable 96 percent of those surveyed agree leaders are ethical and honest in their business practices.
The leadership members are completely approachable and available - even up to our president, CFO and CEO.
Great Perks and Programs
- Activity Groups: Riot offers lots of special interest groups and clubs for its people. Recently, Rioters put together Club Day, an activity fair where clubs can gain visibility and reach out to Rioters who might be interested in signing up. There is a huge range of fitness, culinary and hobby clubs, for interests including Zumba, kickboxing, basketball, fencing, Krav Maga, coffee, wine, whiskey, photography, swing dance, board games, improv and the outdoors.
- Travel: Because Riot has offices all over the world and has partner and technical operations in China, Taiwan, Amsterdam, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam, there are numerous opportunities for Rioters to travel.
- Health Coverage: Riot pays 80 percent of it's staff's health care premiums and covers the same amount for dependents.
- We Riot: The annual We Riot event is a way for Rioters to engage, connect and celebrate with one another. Previous events include trips to Las Vegas, an ocean cruise to Mexico and a trip to the Dominican Republic.
- Free Food: The office is always stocked with free munchies, including cereal, nuts, fruit and vending machines that spit out both carb-loaded and carb-free snacks. For Rioters who need to stay late to finish work, the company provides a subsidized meal-delivery program.
Great Rated! collected feedback from Riot employees via an anonymous survey. Following are common reasons employees said they appreciate their workplace.
"Riot is extremely player-focused. We do not consider our players customers; rather, they are our community, and our goal is to ensure that we meet their needs and wants to the best of our abilities. This attitude really influences all of our decisions in a positive way."
"We are all gamers who play the game we make. We look forward to new features we are developing because we will be the first in line to play them. We question policies that don't feel fair to us from our experience to help us make the best choices for our players."
"At Riot, your personal drive and determination is rewarded often. It's a place where it is possible to forge relationships outside of your discipline and above your pay grade and to find mentors and growth opportunities everywhere."
"The company ethics are very close to my own personal ethics - as a matter of fact, because of Riot, my own personal ethics have been leveled up. I have always tried to do right by others, be accountable and put myself in others' shoes, but even more so since I've been at Riot. Basically, I hold myself up to a higher standard than I have before. Riot, as a company, is a good mentor."
"We are unique based on our perks, benefits and culture. We strive to stand out among our competitors and do things differently. Riot values Rioters and always wants the best for us. We are pushed and challenged consistently to make sure we're doing the right thing for both our players and the company."
"This is the only company I've worked for where the company values can be easily applied to anything that you do. Our player-focus mentality is something that everyone has bought into and is constantly striving to uphold in their day-to-day work."
"The employees are really passionate about the product. This means that improvements to the product, and the process of delivering the product, are constantly being proposed from individuals who are working on that aspect of the product, rather than being handed down from upper management. Similarly, developers don't have to wait for work to be tasked out for them but can own the product that they're working on from start to finish."
"We aren't employees, we're Rioters! The people in the community we work for are players, not customers. Everyone here is also a player, and we love building games for others."
"What hierarchy we have is mainly there to ensure strategic clarity and focus. How we achieve our goals is really up to us. We have considerable freedom to pursue our goals, and we're surrounded by passionate, collaborative people. If you have a great idea on how to solve something and some data to back up your assumption, people will move mountains to help you succeed. And if your idea is a bit off, people will help you steer it in the right direction."
"The company truly believes that its success or failure stems from the talent at the company. They work hard to hire the best in the gaming industry and try to make the work meaningful and impactful to keep them here. I'm inspired by the people I work with every day."
"It's a combination of people, mission and leadership. I think lots of companies have a good sense of one or two of those but rarely have all three. The people here are incredibly awesome. They're smart, passionate, authentic and ridiculously aligned — even when it seems like we're all going in different directions. I've consistently found that if I spend enough time with any one Rioter, we connect strongly and can collaborate really effectively. They're not afraid to stand up for something they believe in or to call out the elephant in the room. A lot of that cultural alignment comes from the mission. We hire people who believe in our mission of being the most player-focused company in the world. When you're fundamentally aligned on why you love this company and what you're all trying to accomplish, it becomes a lot easier to work with someone, to assume the best of them, to resolve conflict, to trust. The mission pulls people together, keeps us honest, keeps us authentic and makes the culture as strong as it is. "
"There are great companywide local events and overseas trips. There's lots of training available, free lunch on Tuesdays, crazy esports events and flexible hours and telecommuting options."
How to Get Hired
We asked Riot for some inside information on how to get hired at the organization. Here is what they had to say.
What key characteristics tell you a prospective employee will be a great fit for your company?
We’re looking for humble but ambitious, razor-sharp professionals who can teach us a thing or two. We promise to return the favor. These individuals will become part of entrepreneurial teams who prefer action (kicking ass) over process and bureaucracy (taking names). We embrace those who see things differently, who aren't afraid to experiment, and who have a healthy disregard for the rules.
What can prospective employees do to get your attention?
Applicants should first learn about Riot and play League of Legends because we're looking for people who, like us, take play seriously and for whom it's never "just a game." We play lots of games, especially our own, because hands-on gaming experience is our ultimate guiding compass.
||36000Applicants in past year
|643Openings in past year
||28%New hires by employee referrals