Blizzard employee morale craters as Mike Ybarra reportedly channels his inner Kotick in Q&A
So much worse than we thought.
Blizzard is not having a good week, to say the least. After the bombshell report that the company was ending its remote work policies and forcing its workforce back into the office for at least three days a week, many employees began to vent their frustration and disappointment in the gaming studio, something that has become quite common in recent years for the company. If fact, the team’s current leader Mike Ybarra was installed after controversies surrounding employee working conditions came to light. Now it seems that employees are realizing Blizzard leadership is still just a wolf in sheep’s clothing.
Bryant Francis of GameDeveloper has reported that Blizzard held a question and answer session with employees yesterday led by Mike Ybarra, and his responses to the latest employee frustrations just added fuel to an already explosive situation.
Ybarra evidently downplayed the controversy swirling around employee stack-ranking, and announced that company profit-sharing would be decreased with the tone-deaf excuse that leadership is also equally impacted by this decision. That seems like a bit of a stretch, as wage discrepancies likely tilt the impact of this news well into the territory of workers who make less, as the costs of living and commuting to work have a much greater effect on their lives.
Furthermore, it has been stated that Ybarra cited certain jobs, such as quality assurance roles, as “not long-term disciplines.” The notion from leadership that employees could quit if their views weren’t aligned with returning to the office was a final nail in the coffin.
Employees hoping that Blizzard was actually learning from the past seem to have essentially realized through this meeting that the gaming behemoth was the exact same entity it has been trying to move on from. Leadership held a megaphone to the media after past controversies claiming that it was changing for the better, but actions speak louder than words.
Blizzard workers are rightfully upset but are also stressing on Twitter that the people they work with every day are some of the best in the business. In spite of management, being a part of this team does make them feel valued and appreciated within their smaller circles.