Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick has set out to clean up his company’s culture. Working from the ground up, he is changing everything from the company-wide harassment policy to the overall transparency of their operations.
Kotick recently sent a letter informing current employees of the upcoming overhauls, which helped temper uncertainty about the future. By clearly laying out expectations going forward, Kotick is looking to bring employees and management together to create a much more inclusive, safer workplace for all. Here’s a closer look at the anticipated changes Activision Blizzard employees expect in the coming weeks.
Although the human resources department at Activision Blizzard never turned a blind eye to employees, there were improvements that could be made. In light of recent claims, the leadership team elected to put a revised, zero-tolerance policy in place.
As a result of their commitment to a tougher approach, the company will no longer deal with issues on a case-by-case basis. Instead, Activision Blizzard will use a consistent process that ensures all issues receive immediate attention and result in appropriate, timely discipline.
The new policy indicates that the company will promptly terminate employees for harassing any individuals in a legally protected category. When this happens, the employee will not only lose their job but also forfeit all future compensation from the company. They will also immediately dismiss any employees who retaliate against someone for filing a complaint to human resources.
To ensure all complaints are handled correctly from the start, Kotick aims to expand the internal Ethics and Compliance Team. Complaint will be reviewed along with the responding party’s actions to determine whether appropriate steps were taken to handle the reported issue.
The Drive for Complete Diversity
In addition to tripling the company’s investment in anti-discrimination training, CEO Bobby Kotick has committed to hiring more women and non-binary individuals. To this end, Activision Blizzard will invest over $250 million to attract diverse talent over the next five years.
At this time, the percentage of women and non-binary employees on the company’s roster is approximately 23%. Within the next few years, leadership hopes to bring that number up to 33%. Although they project to achieve their goal within five years, the team is dedicated to increasing diversity by leaps and bounds as fast as possible.
More Opportunities for Under-Represented Communities
Kotick’s efforts to increase diversity do not end with Activision Blizzard. He plans to help improve diversity across the gaming industry by increasing opportunities for under-represented communities.
Over the next 10 years, Activision Blizzard will invest $250 million in gaming and technology opportunities for people in those communities. While operating through ABK Academy, they will encourage diverse talent to enter the field by offering mentorships, running an apprentice program, and partnering with tech schools and colleges across the United States. The company also plans to support career advancement for current employees by offering more degree opportunities and leadership positions to women and other individuals from underrepresented populations.
Better Visibility for Pay Equity Companywide
The team at Activision Blizzard wants women and people from other under-represented communities to see their company as a beneficial place to work. In addition to taking all sexual harassment and discrimination claims seriously, the company will also be making changes to keep all pay equity data as transparent as possible.
This initiative will provide employees with direct insight into how pay rates stack up across all departments. In recent reports, Activision Blizzard data showed that women had a slight pay advantage over men, although the figures were largely even. By releasing new reports each year, the company endeavors to clearly show that pay equity is a top priority.
Arbitration Waived for Harassment and Discrimination Claims
In the past, all sexual harassment and discrimination claims were subject to an arbitration process. Along with changes to the corporate harassment policy, Bobby Kotick chose to lift the arbitration requirement after reviewing feedback from current employees.
Moving forward, if any employees wish to skip individual arbitration, the company will waive the requirement. The waiver also applies to any employees who suffered retaliation after filing complaints about misconduct in the workplace.
Progress Updates to Come on a Regular Basis
Although Kotick plans to swiftly handle all instances of sexual harassment, discrimination, and retaliation, Activision Blizzard’s business operations are focused on improving for the future. The leadership team plans release of quarterly status reports to keep employees and the community at large well informed about their efforts to cultivate a more inclusive corporate culture and workplace.
Kotick, along with the Board of Directors, will also present an annual report to shareholders to demonstrate results as the company enacts the planned changes. They will also create a yearly ESG report to show progress in increasing diversity across the workforce and managing complaints appropriately.
How Bobby Kotick Plans to Demonstrate His Commitment
Beyond enacting these improvements to Activision Blizzard’s operations, Bobby Kotick requested that the Board of Directors reduce his salary until the company reaches its goals. His revised total compensation for the year would be decreased to $62,500, which is the lowest salary amount allowed in California.
Since this figure reflects his entire compensation package, he will not receive bonuses or equity in the company. He will continue to receive this low pay rate until Activision Blizzard achieves its diversity goals and other commitments for the overall improvement of the company’s culture.
Through all these efforts, Kotick hopes to create the safe, equitable workplace that all employees deserve. Although he cannot reverse what happened previously, the changes are designed to do as much as possible to prevent future instances from occurring.
Only time will tell how effective these planned changes will be, but Activision Blizzard is well on its way to leading the industry in making diverse, non-toxic workplaces the standard. The hope is that other companies will follow suit and open up excellent opportunities across the gaming and tech industries to women and people in under-represented communities.