Interview

Jobs in Games: Scopely’s Liz Liu on how to get a job as a people business partner

Jobs in Games: Scopely’s Liz Liu on how to get a job as a people business partner

The games industry plays host to an excellent cast of colourful and diverse individuals, from artists and coders to narrative designers and studio heads.

The skills to pull off these roles, however, are complex and differing. With each position requiring mastery in its field. As such, seeing a game come together is a beautiful thing akin to a puzzle as an overall picture becomes whole.

To highlight some of the brilliant work that goes on behind the screen, and help others who may be keen to dive in, PocketGamer.biz has decided to reach out to the individuals who make up the games industry with our Jobs in Games series.

This time we spoke with Scopely people business partner Liz Liu.

PocketGamer.Biz: Can you tell us about your current role and what it entails?

Liz Liu: I am a people business partner for Scopely’s global corporate and publishing team. My job is to understand the strategic initiatives and goals of the business, and partner with leaders to develop strategies that best utilise our team to achieve those goals.

Gaming is the convergence of art and science, where creative people work together to build experiences for human connection.
Liz Liu

I am grateful to be both an extension of the leadership teams I support, and a representative of the employees on those teams.

I work with managers and individual contributors across Scopely to unlock the full potential of each “Scopelean” (as we call ourselves) and optimise for team health. From coaching and mentorship to international expansion, diversity and inclusion and more, no two days are never the same!

How did you first get into games and how did you progress into the role?

My career in games started when I joined Scopely seven years ago and since then I have grown up in the industry, sitting front row to its rapid evolution.

Initially, I saw Scopely as an opportunity to be a part of LA’s growing tech community, but after joining I realised that there was much to discover. Gaming is the convergence of art and science, where creative people work together to build experiences for human connection. I knew it was a special place as soon as I walked through the doors.

I started my journey at Scopely in recruiting when the company was approximately 25 people. Working in recruiting brought me to the heart of what we were trying to build and who we needed to build it.

As my focus shifted towards optimising operations and shepherding in new recruits, I found myself naturally gravitating towards supporting the employee experience and partnering with HR and office management to multiply our efforts.

Liz Liu joined Scopely in October 2012 as a sourcer

From recruiting, I transitioned to become head of culture where I focused on company culture exclusively. My primary goal was to bring our values to life and build community through programs, perks, events and office operations. I’m proud to say Scopely has created a unique and special experience across our global office, with traditions that make us, us.

As the company grew, my focus shifted to my current role to partner with leaders on the development of their teams. I try to be an attentive listener, problem solver and cheerleader for our incredible team.

The next leg of my Scopely adventure is taking me to Barcelona to support our international office as it continues to grow and expand. Estoy muy emocionado!

Is it something you ever imagined yourself doing?

I have always been passionate about people and community but could not have predicted my path to get here.

I made my way to the PBP role through staying open to what the company needed and adding value where I could, rather than climb a specific ladder or go after a title.

I think HR can be very misunderstood, but it's not surprising because a lot of the work happens behind the scenes.
Liz Liu

What did you study (if anything) to get your role? What courses would you advise for aspiring professionals in the area?

I got my masters in psychology and studied sociology and communications in undergrad. Though the degrees were not necessary to get my role, all of my studies have added perspective to my work.

The organisational psychology courses I took in graduate school were particularly helpful, but there is nothing more powerful than gaining experience on the ground.

For aspiring people team professionals in the games industry, I encourage you to find opportunities to build scalable programs, read, write, broaden your self-awareness, work with diverse groups of individuals, and stretch yourself.

What part of your role do you find most fulfilling?

The best part of my job is when I can spend time with “Scopeleans” and get to know them as people. Having a human-first approach to work helps me stay connected as the company scales.

I find so much fulfilment in solving hard problems together. I am constantly learning from those around me and am challenged to become the best version of myself.

Do you think there are any misconceptions, public or professional, surrounding your area of expertise?

I think HR can be very misunderstood, but it's not surprising because a lot of the work happens behind the scenes.

Some people will believe HR only has the best interest of the company in mind. I disagree. HR delicately guards the best interest of all parties. The work is multi-faceted, intellectually stimulating and can be a strategic leverage point for companies when used correctly.

Is there anything about the job/industry you wish you would have known when first joining?

The pace of mobile gaming is fast but energising. I love the people that gaming attracts and would have never known the beauty and complexity of the space if I hadn’t been exposed to it first-hand.

What other advice do you have for someone looking for a job in this profession?

Seek companies with values and leaders that you feel authentically aligned with and trust your intuition. This is especially important if you work on the people team. If you join an organisation that you can get behind, it will show in your work.

Remember, we only have 24 hours in a day. If you sleep for eight hours and spend eight hours at work, you only have eight hours left. Make your hours count and find work that you love doing!

Staff Writer

Matthew Forde is a freelance writer from Yorkshire, who's work has been published for Tech Radar, Nintendo Life, Kotaku UK and more. He regularly attends Smash Bros. tournaments, while trying to keep up-to-date on everything pop culture related - particularly superheroes. You can find him on Twitter @Forde999.

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