Blizzard’s “workplace rating” of employees sounds like hell [Update]

picture: Blizzard

a I ran the story bloomberg earlier in the day With the headline “Blizzard Manager Leaves in Protest of Staff Ranking System”. It sounds very practical, perhaps something that would land on an HR manager’s Linkedin newsfeed, but the things he describes matter because they sound downright miserable.

here How the Employee Rating System is described in the report:

In 2021, Blizzard, a unit of Activision Blizzard Inc. , a process called stack rating, in which employees are rated on a bell curve and managers must give low scores to a certain percentage of employees, according to people familiar with the change who asked not to be named while discussing a private matter. Managers were expected to give poor “development” status to approximately 5% of the employees on their teams, which could reduce profit-sharing bonus funds and could deter them from receiving raises or promotions in the near future…

You have to forgive me here, because despite my tenure in this job, I still live and work in Australia, and so am not entirely familiar with the peculiarities of American office conditions, but What the fuck? You’re telling me this company has implemented a system where 5% of their workforce, even if they’re doing well, even if they’re going to great workWill you be targeted – and suffer financially – just to meet a certain quota?

No wonder people are angry! One of those people, Brian Birmingham, is one of the lead developers at World of Warcraft Classicbecame very angry according to bloomberg He reports that he sent an email to staff last week to “express his frustration with this system.”

When team leaders asked why we had to do this, World of Warcraft The managers explained that although they disagreed, the reasons executive leadership gave were that it was important to pressure low performers as a way to make sure everyone continued to grow. This kind of politics encourages competition among employees, sabotaging each other’s work, people’s desire to find low-performing teams in which they can be the best workers, and ultimately undermines trust and destroys creativity.

Birmingham goes on to say he can’t work under a system like this, which he and other managers (who were asked to keep it a secret!) had managed to “circumvent or skip” for the last few years but which had recently begun to be enforced. He reportedly told staff he would be leaving the company if the policy was not reversed, but shortly after the email was sent he was called into HR and “terminated”.

If you work at Blizzard and have been impacted by this policy, and would like to share your experiences, You can contact us here.

Update 8:48 p.m. ETBirmingham issued a lengthy statement on Twitter expanding on its thoughts on the policy and on the status of the company’s leadership in general. It starts here:

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