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World of Warcraft Classic Dev Out at Blizzard Over Opposition to Forced Employee Ranking Policy | MM

SystemSystem Member UncommonPosts: 11,024
edited January 24 in News & Features Discussion

imageWorld of Warcraft Classic Dev Out at Blizzard Over Opposition to Forced Employee Ranking Policy | MMORPG.com

Former World of Warcraft Classic co-lead developer Brian Birmingham is out at Blizzard over frustrations with a "stack ranking" policy that forces managers to rate 5% of their employees poorly to save money,, even when they're qualified workers.

Read the full story here


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Comments

  • urriel1970urriel1970 Member UncommonPosts: 106
    this is why blizzard is a trash company to work for..and microsoft needs to aquire them to change this
    ZenJellypeewee78368
  • Slapshot1188Slapshot1188 Member LegendaryPosts: 15,893
    It's simply factual that not everyone in a company or on a team can be average or better. Part of actually being a manager is producing the feedback to those on the lower end so that they can be aware of it, take steps to improve, or move on. It's not always an easy or fun part of the job, but that's what management signs up for.

    If you can't find 1 out of every 20 employees that need development then the issue is on the management side.

    That said, if a person feels strongly about this, then it's totally within that person's rights to go find a workplace that will allow them to say everyone on the team is doing a great job.

    And yeah I know... just like the game tester union issue... some will think I'm just being a dick.

    OK.
    IselinZenJellyPr0tag0ni5tcorrosivechainsBrainy

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  • AngrakhanAngrakhan Member RarePosts: 373


    It's simply factual that not everyone in a company or on a team can be average or better.



    I think you miss the point of this policy and why it's so slimy, which is actually par for the course with Blizzard these days. The point is not to improve employee performance but rather this:

    Ultimately, this results in cost savings for the company


    To extrapolate further the point is to ensure the executives who decided on this policy continue to get or increase their respective bonus payouts. That is the point. Literally, it's about picking the bottom 5% of the company, taking money directly out of their wallets regardless of if they are meeting or exceeding expectations and giving that money to the top 0.1% of the company.

    Slime. That's all that is. I'd move on as well because it's a morally bankrupt practice. If you want to identify employees who are not meeting or exceeding expectations and train them to improve their performance so they turn out a better product or even walk them out the door because they are harming your product, I am totally fine with that. However, that's not what's going on here.

    achesomaZenJellyJeroKane
  • niceguy3978niceguy3978 Member UncommonPosts: 2,047


    It's simply factual that not everyone in a company or on a team can be average or better. Part of actually being a manager is producing the feedback to those on the lower end so that they can be aware of it, take steps to improve, or move on. It's not always an easy or fun part of the job, but that's what management signs up for.



    If you can't find 1 out of every 20 employees that need development then the issue is on the management side.



    That said, if a person feels strongly about this, then it's totally within that person's rights to go find a workplace that will allow them to say everyone on the team is doing a great job.



    And yeah I know... just like the game tester union issue... some will think I'm just being a dick.



    OK.




    I kind of get what you are saying, but there are better ways of getting workers to "do better." I have been in this type of position in another industry and usually as soon as I saw that someone could improve something, I simply went to their office and showed them how they could improve it. There wasn't anytime in the 5 years in the position that this didn't work and by the time performance evals came round they hadn't improved in what they were doing.

    Fortunately we didn't have a policy like this in place where I worked, though they were scummy in their own way. When I decided I didn't want to be in management any longer and wanted to go back down to a non-supervisory position they tried to coerce me into staying in the position by telling me I would need to let somebody else go and take their position so that they could hire from outside to fill mine. I told them not to worry about it and found myself a different job, unfortunately doing the same thing I had been trying to get out of but it was worth getting out of that place.
  • Slapshot1188Slapshot1188 Member LegendaryPosts: 15,893
    Angrakhan said:


    It's simply factual that not everyone in a company or on a team can be average or better.



    I think you miss the point of this policy and why it's so slimy, which is actually par for the course with Blizzard these days. The point is not to improve employee performance but rather this:

    Ultimately, this results in cost savings for the company


    To extrapolate further the point is to ensure the executives who decided on this policy continue to get or increase their respective bonus payouts. That is the point. Literally, it's about picking the bottom 5% of the company, taking money directly out of their wallets regardless of if they are meeting or exceeding expectations and giving that money to the top 0.1% of the company.

    Slime. That's all that is. I'd move on as well because it's a morally bankrupt practice. If you want to identify employees who are not meeting or exceeding expectations and train them to improve their performance so they turn out a better product or even walk them out the door because they are harming your product, I am totally fine with that. However, that's not what's going on here.

    No.  I totally understand why. It's to address the lowest performers in any team, because many managers are weak and refuse to acknowledge that not everyone is average or above. I am not 100% familiar with the Blizzard implementation but typically it's on a bell curve where you also rank the top performers as a certain percentage.  And those folks get MORE than the average compensation increase.

    I know that paying better performers more than lower performers is "toxic" in many circles... but that's what this is.

    Separate issue from C-Suite compensation.  
    corrosivechainsBrainy

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  • Slapshot1188Slapshot1188 Member LegendaryPosts: 15,893


    It's simply factual that not everyone in a company or on a team can be average or better. Part of actually being a manager is producing the feedback to those on the lower end so that they can be aware of it, take steps to improve, or move on. It's not always an easy or fun part of the job, but that's what management signs up for.



    If you can't find 1 out of every 20 employees that need development then the issue is on the management side.



    That said, if a person feels strongly about this, then it's totally within that person's rights to go find a workplace that will allow them to say everyone on the team is doing a great job.



    And yeah I know... just like the game tester union issue... some will think I'm just being a dick.



    OK.




    I kind of get what you are saying, but there are better ways of getting workers to "do better." I have been in this type of position in another industry and usually as soon as I saw that someone could improve something, I simply went to their office and showed them how they could improve it. There wasn't anytime in the 5 years in the position that this didn't work and by the time performance evals came round they hadn't improved in what they were doing.

    So on this team you supervised,  did they all produce the same amount and quality product?  If not, did you give a larger increase to the folks that produced the best/most?

    If you paid the top and lowest performers the same increase, did you motivate those top performers to keep producing like that?  Or did you just tell them to slow down or lower quality a notch and you will still get the same increase/compensation at the end?

    It doesn't always have to be money.  It can be time off.  Or something else.  But if you want to drive improvement then you need to identify the top and low performers and motivate them .
    Brainy

    All time classic  MY NEW FAVORITE POST!  (Keep laying those bricks)

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  • OG_SolareusOG_Solareus Member UncommonPosts: 332
    edited January 24
    This guy is a woke a joke. So people who excel at their position should be passed over so everyone feeels specials ? This guy could be the key reason Blizzard has struggled because to this dude, everyone is cream rising to the top.

    So sick of peopole like this in positions of power, they weild it like a pussy cat.
    IselincorrosivechainsJeroKaneBrainy
  • IselinIselin Member LegendaryPosts: 17,916
    Usual dumb shit anti-worker comments from the usual suspects.

    The point of this is not about giving poor workers a pass it's about having a fucking quota where good workers need to be rated poorly to meet the quota.

    Too tough to understand I guess.
    MMOgamerdad666corrosivechainsKnightFalzBrainy
    "Social media gives legions of idiots the right to speak when they once only spoke at a bar after a glass of wine, without harming the community ... but now they have the same right to speak as a Nobel Prize winner. It's the invasion of the idiots”

    ― Umberto Eco

    “Microtransactions? In a single player role-playing game? Are you nuts?” 
    ― CD PROJEKT RED

  • Slapshot1188Slapshot1188 Member LegendaryPosts: 15,893
    Serious question here:  As I mentioned in an earlier comment.  Stacked (forced) ranking normally results in a bell curve where you have lower, average and high performers.

    No article I have read has mentioned anything about the HIGH end of the scale, where employees typically receive better than average compensation.  Here is a example of what this usually looks like:



    So is the HIGH end being intentionally left out of the articles by all the authors in an attempt to drive a particular narrative?  Or did Blizzard really not have the HIGH end and just have Average and 5% low?

    corrosivechainsBrainy

    All time classic  MY NEW FAVORITE POST!  (Keep laying those bricks)

    "I should point out that no other company has shipped out a beta on a disc before this." - Official Mortal Online Lead Community Moderator

    Proudly wearing the Harbinger badge since Dec 23, 2017. 

    Coined the phrase "Role-Playing a Development Team" January 2018

    "Oddly Slap is the main reason I stay in these forums." - Mystichaze April 9th 2018

  • VrikaVrika Member LegendaryPosts: 7,589
    Angrakhan said:


    It's simply factual that not everyone in a company or on a team can be average or better.



    I think you miss the point of this policy and why it's so slimy, which is actually par for the course with Blizzard these days. The point is not to improve employee performance but rather this:

    Ultimately, this results in cost savings for the company


    To extrapolate further the point is to ensure the executives who decided on this policy continue to get or increase their respective bonus payouts. That is the point. Literally, it's about picking the bottom 5% of the company, taking money directly out of their wallets regardless of if they are meeting or exceeding expectations and giving that money to the top 0.1% of the company.

    Slime. That's all that is. I'd move on as well because it's a morally bankrupt practice. If you want to identify employees who are not meeting or exceeding expectations and train them to improve their performance so they turn out a better product or even walk them out the door because they are harming your product, I am totally fine with that. However, that's not what's going on here.

    No.  I totally understand why. It's to address the lowest performers in any team, because many managers are weak and refuse to acknowledge that not everyone is average or above. I am not 100% familiar with the Blizzard implementation but typically it's on a bell curve where you also rank the top performers as a certain percentage.  And those folks get MORE than the average compensation increase.

    I know that paying better performers more than lower performers is "toxic" in many circles... but that's what this is.

    Separate issue from C-Suite compensation.  
    Paying better performers more is not necessarily toxic. Ideally you'd have a whole team of motivated employees who try to do their best to earn the bonus.

    But when your employees know you're rating them by bell curve so that their evaluation can not increase unless someone else's evaluation on same team also decreases, that creates a lot of toxicity.
    KyleranUwakionnaBrainy
     
  • Slapshot1188Slapshot1188 Member LegendaryPosts: 15,893
    Iselin said:
    Usual dumb shit anti-worker comments from the usual suspects.

    The point of this is not about giving poor workers a pass it's about having a fucking quota where good workers need to be rated poorly to meet the quota.

    Too tough to understand I guess.
    Again... if you have a team of 20 and cannot find a single worker on that team that is below average then the issue is on YOUR end.  Not the systems.

    That's a pretty easy concept to understand.

    IselinWalkinGlennBrainy

    All time classic  MY NEW FAVORITE POST!  (Keep laying those bricks)

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  • IselinIselin Member LegendaryPosts: 17,916
    Iselin said:
    Usual dumb shit anti-worker comments from the usual suspects.

    The point of this is not about giving poor workers a pass it's about having a fucking quota where good workers need to be rated poorly to meet the quota.

    Too tough to understand I guess.
    Again... if you have a team of 20 and cannot find a single worker on that team that is below average then the issue is on YOUR end.  Not the systems.

    That's a pretty easy concept to understand.

    So in your stats driven little brain it's inconceivable that all 20 are good employees?


    "Social media gives legions of idiots the right to speak when they once only spoke at a bar after a glass of wine, without harming the community ... but now they have the same right to speak as a Nobel Prize winner. It's the invasion of the idiots”

    ― Umberto Eco

    “Microtransactions? In a single player role-playing game? Are you nuts?” 
    ― CD PROJEKT RED

  • Slapshot1188Slapshot1188 Member LegendaryPosts: 15,893
    Vrika said:
    Angrakhan said:


    It's simply factual that not everyone in a company or on a team can be average or better.



    I think you miss the point of this policy and why it's so slimy, which is actually par for the course with Blizzard these days. The point is not to improve employee performance but rather this:

    Ultimately, this results in cost savings for the company


    To extrapolate further the point is to ensure the executives who decided on this policy continue to get or increase their respective bonus payouts. That is the point. Literally, it's about picking the bottom 5% of the company, taking money directly out of their wallets regardless of if they are meeting or exceeding expectations and giving that money to the top 0.1% of the company.

    Slime. That's all that is. I'd move on as well because it's a morally bankrupt practice. If you want to identify employees who are not meeting or exceeding expectations and train them to improve their performance so they turn out a better product or even walk them out the door because they are harming your product, I am totally fine with that. However, that's not what's going on here.

    No.  I totally understand why. It's to address the lowest performers in any team, because many managers are weak and refuse to acknowledge that not everyone is average or above. I am not 100% familiar with the Blizzard implementation but typically it's on a bell curve where you also rank the top performers as a certain percentage.  And those folks get MORE than the average compensation increase.

    I know that paying better performers more than lower performers is "toxic" in many circles... but that's what this is.

    Separate issue from C-Suite compensation.  
    Paying better performers more is not necessarily toxic. Ideally you'd have a whole team of motivated employees who try to do their best to earn the bonus.

    But when your employees know you're rating them by bell curve so that their evaluation can not increase unless someone else's evaluation on same team also decreases, that creates a lot of toxicity.
    Disagree.  I have seen far more "toxic" environments created by weak managers who refused to address the weak members of the team.  And everyone on the team always knows who the weak link is.  

    Many large companies do this since it was started by Jack Welch in GE many years ago. Heck here is Amazons:

    Amazon recommends that managers of teams of more than 50 people distribute performance ratings on a curve, with 20% of employees rated “top tier,” and the lowest-performing 5% rated “least effective


    All time classic  MY NEW FAVORITE POST!  (Keep laying those bricks)

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    Proudly wearing the Harbinger badge since Dec 23, 2017. 

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  • OG_SolareusOG_Solareus Member UncommonPosts: 332

    Iselin said:

    Usual dumb shit anti-worker comments from the usual suspects.

    The point of this is not about giving poor workers a pass it's about having a fucking quota where good workers need to be rated poorly to meet the quota.

    Too tough to understand I guess.



    quota's are a common evaluation in all types of work job sectors. Why would anyone pamper people who arent pulling their weight ?
    corrosivechainsWalkinGlenn
  • IselinIselin Member LegendaryPosts: 17,916

    Iselin said:

    Usual dumb shit anti-worker comments from the usual suspects.

    The point of this is not about giving poor workers a pass it's about having a fucking quota where good workers need to be rated poorly to meet the quota.

    Too tough to understand I guess.



    quota's are a common evaluation in all types of work job sectors. Why would anyone pamper people who arent pulling their weight ?
    The question is why would anyone ever rate poorly those who ARE.
    "Social media gives legions of idiots the right to speak when they once only spoke at a bar after a glass of wine, without harming the community ... but now they have the same right to speak as a Nobel Prize winner. It's the invasion of the idiots”

    ― Umberto Eco

    “Microtransactions? In a single player role-playing game? Are you nuts?” 
    ― CD PROJEKT RED

  • Slapshot1188Slapshot1188 Member LegendaryPosts: 15,893
    Iselin said:
    Iselin said:
    Usual dumb shit anti-worker comments from the usual suspects.

    The point of this is not about giving poor workers a pass it's about having a fucking quota where good workers need to be rated poorly to meet the quota.

    Too tough to understand I guess.
    Again... if you have a team of 20 and cannot find a single worker on that team that is below average then the issue is on YOUR end.  Not the systems.

    That's a pretty easy concept to understand.

    So in your stats driven little brain it's inconceivable that all 20 are good employees?


    Nice way to dive right into the personal insults like usual.

    Reality is that any team has top and bottom performers.  Those at the bottom are a drag on the team while those at the top lift it up.  If you want to improve the team you need to either get that bottom tier to improve or need to replace them with higher performers.

    Many "managers" are unable to actually manage a team.  At least not effectively.  So again I will point out that if you have 20 employees and cannot find a single employee that is below average then the issue is you.

    All time classic  MY NEW FAVORITE POST!  (Keep laying those bricks)

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  • OG_SolareusOG_Solareus Member UncommonPosts: 332
    edited January 24
    Iselin said:

    Iselin said:

    Usual dumb shit anti-worker comments from the usual suspects.

    The point of this is not about giving poor workers a pass it's about having a fucking quota where good workers need to be rated poorly to meet the quota.

    Too tough to understand I guess.



    quota's are a common evaluation in all types of work job sectors. Why would anyone pamper people who arent pulling their weight ?
    The question is why would anyone ever rate poorly those who ARE.

    Try that sen.. question again in more comprehensive terms, or you may not make the quota...


  • VrikaVrika Member LegendaryPosts: 7,589
    Serious question here:  As I mentioned in an earlier comment.  Stacked (forced) ranking normally results in a bell curve where you have lower, average and high performers.

    No article I have read has mentioned anything about the HIGH end of the scale, where employees typically receive better than average compensation.  Here is a example of what this usually looks like:



    So is the HIGH end being intentionally left out of the articles by all the authors in an attempt to drive a particular narrative?  Or did Blizzard really not have the HIGH end and just have Average and 5% low?

    The articles didn't mention high end of the scale because Birmingham complained specifically about low end of the scale. I don't think the reporters had any agenda beyond simply reporting what Birmingham said.
    Brainy
     
  • ZenJellyZenJelly Member UncommonPosts: 106
    The policy works. I've seen it first hand. They shouldn't change it.
  • Slapshot1188Slapshot1188 Member LegendaryPosts: 15,893
    edited January 24
    Vrika said:
    Serious question here:  As I mentioned in an earlier comment.  Stacked (forced) ranking normally results in a bell curve where you have lower, average and high performers.

    No article I have read has mentioned anything about the HIGH end of the scale, where employees typically receive better than average compensation.  Here is a example of what this usually looks like:



    So is the HIGH end being intentionally left out of the articles by all the authors in an attempt to drive a particular narrative?  Or did Blizzard really not have the HIGH end and just have Average and 5% low?

    The articles didn't mention high end of the scale because Birmingham complained specifically about low end of the scale. I don't think the reporters had any agenda beyond simply reporting what Birmingham said.
    No.  The articles and even posts in this thread state things like "Ultimately, this results in cost savings for the company"  but actually that is not the purpose of a normal setup.  Corporate GREED is the common theme.  That loses credibility if you find out that the same system paid twice as many employees MORE for being top performers.

    Nobody ever questions what they are fed.

    What is funny is that I have had many of the same conversations around the TOP end.  I have had managers that reported to me that struggled to rate any of their employees as above average because they didn't want to pick and choose. 

    So I ask again... did they really just institute this to save money and cut raises to the bottom 5%?  Or did they also have a HIGH end where they increased raises to the top performers?

    All time classic  MY NEW FAVORITE POST!  (Keep laying those bricks)

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  • KyleranKyleran Member LegendaryPosts: 41,526
    edited January 25
    My employer used to force rank staff performance but stopped the practice around 2015 or so.

    Since then managers have to plan for some small % of staff to RIF or let go about 3 times a year.

    No real criteria is given, just up to each manager to serve up their sacrifical lambs by whatever ever method they choose, assuming they don't violate any laws or corporate policies.

    This occurs even when we are still hiring, in fact we never stop hiring really.

    They even admit that a turnover rate of roughly 8 to 10% annually is desirable, hopefully via voluntary separation but involuntary is fine with them as well.


    Slapshot1188

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  • JeroKaneJeroKane Member EpicPosts: 6,712
    edited January 25


    This guy is a woke a joke. So people who excel at their position should be passed over so everyone feeels specials ? This guy could be the key reason Blizzard has struggled because to this dude, everyone is cream rising to the top.



    So sick of peopole like this in positions of power, they weild it like a pussy cat.



    You completely miss the point of the article. Like many other commenters here! Maybe read it again? lol.

    This is not a normal rating system, like many companies use. I work under a rating system too as IT consultant and that is perfectly fine.

    The problem here with Blizzard is that this rating system is tied to a Quota! Managers are forced to downgrade high performing workers, just to reach that Quota so the bobo's at the top reach their cost saving targets and keep their fat bonusses!
    This has nothing to do with actually worker performance, but actually achieving the opposite in trying to limit the amount of employees that are allowed to perform above expectations! Just so they can save costs in employee rewards and bonusses!
    FrodoFraginsScotKyleran
  • ScotScot Member LegendaryPosts: 19,959
    edited January 25
    I think there is a reason Christina used to lock these articles guys, lets try to stay calm and prove that is not needed.

    I agree that there is a problem with management not being able to work out who is underperforming because line supervisors are unwilling to say that they are underperforming. But this method fosters ill will at the workplace and a belief that no matter if you perform as well as the next guy, you may not be recognised as such. I cannot offer a solution but you need a better way than this.
    Kyleran
  • JeroKaneJeroKane Member EpicPosts: 6,712
    edited January 25
    Scot said:
    I think there is a reason Christina used to lock these articles guys, lets try to stay calm and prove that is not needed.

    I agree that there is a problem with management not being able to work out who is underperforming because line supervisors are unwilling to say that they are underperforming. But this method fosters ill will at the workplace and a belief that no matter if you perform as well as the next guy, you may not be recognised as such. I cannot offer a solution but you need a better way than this.
    The rating system itself is not the problem. It's perfectly fine to have employee ratings, as long as it used as a positive tool to see who performs below, at or above expectations and reward accordingly and managers allowed to help underperforming employees without immediate punishment.


    The issue here with Blizzard is that each team is given a Quota tied to this rating system! That is the problem and invokes, like you said, ill will.
    So if you are a manager of a team that happens to have a lot of great employees who all perform exceedingly well and above expectations (meaning you are actually a good manager fostering a healthy and positive work environment pushing your employees beyond expectations), you suddenly go beyond your given Quota and have to randomly punish one (or more) of your employees by artificially lowering their rating (and thus their reputation and morale in the process) just to stay within your given quota!

    That is completely idiotic, fosters a sick/hostile work environment and only winners here are the Bobo's at the top who keep their fat bonusses.


    PS. About managers who try to cheat the rating system. I don't see how this can be done easily, as your Team still need to actual deliver as a Team and show results and reach targets.
    So if you as Manager says that everyone is performing at or above expectations, but then the actual overall team results don't reflect that. Good luck explaining that on your report.
    Post edited by JeroKane on
  • Slapshot1188Slapshot1188 Member LegendaryPosts: 15,893
    JeroKane said:


    This guy is a woke a joke. So people who excel at their position should be passed over so everyone feeels specials ? This guy could be the key reason Blizzard has struggled because to this dude, everyone is cream rising to the top.



    So sick of peopole like this in positions of power, they weild it like a pussy cat.



    You completely miss the point of the article. Like many other commenters here! Maybe read it again? lol.

    This is not a normal rating system, like many companies use. I work under a rating system too as IT consultant and that is perfectly fine.

    The problem here with Blizzard is that this rating system is tied to a Quota! Managers are forced to downgrade high performing workers, just to reach that Quota so the bobo's at the top reach their cost saving targets and keep their fat bonusses!
    This has nothing to do with actually worker performance, but actually achieving the opposite in trying to limit the amount of employees that are allowed to perform above expectations! Just so they can save costs in employee rewards and bonusses!
    That’s actually factually incorrect on multiple levels.
    Kyleran

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