Blizzard boss Mike Ybarra says top priority is “rebuilding your trust” – Archyde

Mike Ybarra, head of Blizzard Entertainment, says their top priority is “rebuilding your trust in Blizzard.” in one new blog post, Ybarra outlines the steps the company is taking, including new senior positions dedicated to improving its corporate culture.

These movements follow several Lawsuits alleging a culture of harassment and discrimination within the company. The mail announcing the plans is also coming days after Microsoft announced it would buy Activision Blizzard.

Topping the list of changes is that Blizzard will “measure our leadership and management teams directly against culture improvement. This means that their (and my own) success and compensation is directly related to our overall success in creating a safe, inclusive and creative work environment at Blizzard.”

They have established new full-time positions dedicated to “improving our culture” rather than relying on staff groups “filled with people who already have full-time jobs.” New roles include a “Cultural Leader”, a new Human Resources leader and a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion leader.

Ybarra also writes that they have set goals to improve representation within the company, instituted an “upward feedback program” to allow employees to evaluate management, and increased the size of their “compliance and investigative” teams have tripled. “This applies to Everyone Employees at Blizzard, including leadership and management,” the post reads.

On paper, these are encouraging steps. Some of the lawsuits against Activision Blizzard allege that those who report bad behavior were retaliated against because their complaints were not confidential. Likewise, Activision Blizzard’s alleged “zero tolerance” policy doesn’t reach as high as CEO Bobby Kotick.

Mike Ybarra assumed leadership of Blizzard after J. Allen Brack resigned immediately following the trials. Ybarra initially co-headed the company with Jen Oneal, but Oneal left after three months. Her public statement on her departure said she was “inspired by the passion” of those working to improve the company – although she had previously written on Blizzard’s internal Slack that she was paid less than Ybarra for the same role.

Ybarra’s post is obviously a PR exercise now, but hopefully a real shift is underway within the company.

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