Blizzard continues to find itself in the news for the wrong reasons, and late Monday, manager Brian Birmingham spoke out against an unpopular employee ranking system.
Bloomberg’s Jason Schreier penned an article on Monday evening, outlining the decision Blizzard Manager Brian Birmingham made to resign from the company due to a medieval employee ranking system known as ‘Stack-Ranking’ lingering at Blizzard. He allegedly made this decision via an email Bloomberg acquired. This comes fresh on the heels of the latest Microsoft Activision Blizzard merger lawsuit from the FTC, and the messy partnership fallout between Blizzard and NetEase.
Stack-ranking at Blizzard was described by Bloomberg as “employees are ranked on a bell curve, and managers must give low ratings to a certain percentage of staff, according to people familiar with the change who asked not to be named discussing a private matter. Managers were expected to give a poor ‘developing’ status to roughly 5% of employees on their teams, which would lower their profit-sharing bonus money and could hamper them from receiving raises or promotions in the near future.” Birmingham acknowledged the accuracy of the article in a Tweet thread that can be seen below.
While Birmingham did say, “Everybody at Blizzard I’ve spoken to about this, including my direct supervisors, expressed disappointment about this policy,” he detailed exactly how the policy went into effect, and it was seemingly thought up of by Blizzard’s parent company ABK. Birmingham continues with “But ABK is a problematic parent company. They put us under pressure to deliver both expansions early. It is deeply unjust to follow that by depriving employees who worked on them their fair share of profit. The ABK team should be ashamed of themselves,” lambasting the parent company for the predatory practice.
Birmingham also expressed his reaction to the Bloomberg expose “I was surprised to see the Bloomberg article below. I did NOT provide them the email they’re quoting from, but I believe the quotes are accurate. They have neither spoken to me nor reached out to me in any way,” regarding the statements from Bloomberg that suggest Birmingham exposed the emails mentioning stack-ranking. Interestingly enough, Birmingham also mentioned how he would continue to play Blizzard games, and he will not be staging any type of boycott.
All in all, Activision Blizzard is in the news again regarding workplace controversy. Surely the story will continue to build steam as it makes waves across the internet, and fans can likely keep up by following Brian Birmingham on Twitter.