Popular developer Riot Games is cracking down on employees who behave like jerks, in or out of the game.

To identify those staff members that exhibit "toxic behavior," Riot looked at League of Legends (LoL) chat logs. It's no big secret that playing online video games and chatting with other gamers on the side often involves some foul language, nasty mockery and various snarky remarks.

The matter not only affects the community around each game, however, it also concerns developers, and Riot believes that some cleanup is necessary. The company looked at employees' chat logs and found a connection between employees' behavior in the game and at the office.

Research proved [pdf] that working with a toxic person can affect the morale and performance of the whole team, thus taking a toll on the company.

All Riot employees, called "Rioters," play LoL and each player has a behavioral profile. To see whether there was a connection between toxicity within the game and in the real world, Riot's Talent team teamed up with game designers in an attempt to predict workplace issues.

The team theorized that there may be a correlation between the two, assuming that if a Rioter got a lot of complaints in the game, they'd cause some trouble in the workplace as well. It's worth pointing out that this study does not indicate that Riot has or had trouble with workplace toxicity, the company just wants to ensure it can curb improper behavior and support a good, positive environment.

Looking at the previous 12 months of employees' gameplay, Riot found that 25 percent of employees who were fired in the preceding year displayed "unusually high in-game toxicity."

"The most common bad behaviors they found were passive aggression (snarky comments) and the use of authoritative language, sometimes using their authority as a Riot employee to intimidate or threaten others," reveals the case study.

Furthermore, Riot discovered that toxicity fluctuated similarly to mood swings. Over time, the company was able to measure and even predict the trajectory of one's toxicity, so it wanted to see if it could improve employees' behavior in-game.

After identifying the 30 most toxic employees, Riot opted for a classification into two distinct categories. The first one was for those who required a serious warning, while the second referred to employees with far too toxic in-game chats to continue with the company. It's worth pointing out that all of those 30 employees were junior Rioters who had not been working for long.

Discussing the findings with the employees, complete with chat logs to back the claim, Riot saw a positive response. The company says that most employees were shocked when they realized how they had been behaving and vowed to change their ways. The employees promised not only to be better gamers, but also better people.

Taking things further, Riot now wants to make sure it hires the best people and is considering this in-game information as a potential telltale sign that can be valuable during the hiring process. With that in mind, the company is asking applicants to submit their in-game handle when applying for a job with Riot.

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