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Blizzard lead quits company in protest of ‘toxic’ staff appraisal system

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A manager at Blizzard has left the company over a dispute regarding the company’s appraisal system.Bloomberg reports that Brian Birmingham, who was a lead software engineer at Blizzard for the past 17 years, left the company due to its ‘stack ranking’ method of evaluating staff.The stack ranking method requires managers to grade staff on a curve – as part of this, Blizzard managers reportedly had to give low scores to around 5% of employees, who would miss out on profit-sharing bonus money and be less likely to be considered for promotion as a result.According to Bloomberg’s report, Birmingham was forced to lower an employee’s rating from ‘successful’ to ‘developing’ (the lower scale) in order to meet a quota, a demand that contributed to Birmingham’s decision to resign.“When team leads asked why we had to do this, World of Warcraft directors explained that while they did not agree, the reasons given by executive leadership were that it was important to squeeze the bottom-most performers as a way to make sure everybody continues to grow,” Birmingham’s email to staff reportedly said.“This sort of policy encourages competition between employees, sabotage of one another’s work, a desire for people to find low-performing teams that they can be the best-performing worker on, and ultimately erodes trust and destroys creativity.He added: “If this policy can be reversed, perhaps my Blizzard can still be saved, and if so I would love to continue working there.

If this policy cannot be reversed, then the Blizzard Entertainment I want to work for doesn’t exist anymore, and I’ll have to find somewhere else to work.”Since the article’s publication, Birmingham has taken to Twitter to state that he believed the email quotes to be

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