Activision Blizzard Hires Julie Hodges from Disney to Reboot HR
The fallout from terrible practices taking place for years at Activision Blizzard is underway. We have full-blown Activision Blizzard employee walkouts as well as gamers debating boycotts of major franchises. It’s tricky; the organizational and institutional practices are separated from the teams working on games. Still, it’s hard to feel good about buying a game with either company’s logo on the box with everything happening. The blueprint moving forward isn’t a complete dissolution of the company; stakeholders won’t have it. In these cases, the real work begins when a company gets the right people involved in a complete revamp of work culture and leadership. Activision Blizzard has hired Julie Hodges, previously a Walt Disney Company exec, to head up its employee treatment practices and HR changes as the Chief People Officer. Here’s what the plan is moving forward.
New Chief People Officer Julie Hodges Hopes to Revamp Activision Blizzard Culture from Ground Up
Image Credit: Activision Blizzard
According to the company for which she now works, Activision Blizzard credits Julie Hodges for creating the corporate culture at Disney. In her prior role as senior vice president of corporate HR, compensation, benefits, and talent acquisition, Hodges shaped what it meant to work for the Walt Disney Company. At Activision Blizzard, her role involves an uphill battle. Following Blizzard President resigning amidst a lawsuit in California, the company felt helpless. I wondered which direction the gaming giant would take in its first steps to fixing this mess. Hodges, a well-respected exec in entertainment, makes sense.
Overall, most gamers won’t know Hodges. We also won’t know every little change that Hodges and fellow new hire Sandeep Dube make. Previously at Delta Airlines, Dube will work as Chief Commercial Officer. What needs to happen now, before transparency to the public, is true change within the company. Employees current and past deserve swift action. Per Activision Blizzard, that includes a number of steps from day one. These steps include “diversity, equity and inclusion, talent acquisition, employee experience, learning and development, compensation, and benefits and workplace planning.”
It’s not just about preserving the experience of current employees. For Activision Blizzard to thrive in the future, they need good developers and employees. Let me ask you this: does anything we learned make you want to work at Activision Blizzard? The gut reaction is no, but plenty looked past hushed rumors about the company in the past for the chance to work at a major games company. It’s a common thread in many entertainment circles. With the public backlash much louder than warnings that previously circulated industry-specific circles, that changes the company’s ability to hire top talent.
How Does Call of Duty Vanguard Fit Into the Current State of Activision Blizzard?
Image Credit: Sledgehammer Games and Activision
One lingering thought in my mind is the performance of Call of Duty Vanguard. Set to release this November, the game will likely not suffer much from this scandal. Maybe it should, but that’s far from a task that can be accomplished without widespread organizing. The real question will be what sort of commentary surrounds the game given the recent findings at the parent company that publishes the game.
Will the release of Call of Duty Vanguard feel different for you? It certainly feels different for me. I feel for the developers doing their best on this game. I feel for the animators and team at Sledgehammer that since the third game in the Call of Duty: Modern Warfare sub-series have worked on these projects. Still, one can’t look past these horrible findings and not feel icky about it all. How can you not? This is the exact reason you hire someone like Julie Hodges. Over time, her work could help make things better internally so there’s not such an ick factor externally. At least that’s what the company hopes.
What will it do to impact your approach to the game and future Activision Blizzard projects? Let us know in the comments how you feel about all of this. A reminder that if you’re looking into the actual findings of the California lawsuit, there are some really horrific things in there. Please read carefully if you have triggers related to abuse, harassment, and related traumas. Thanks as always for reading Comic Years for the latest in gaming, comics, and pop culture.
Featured Image Credit: Activision Blizzard
Taylor is the Gaming Editor of Comic Years and a lifelong fan of video games. He holds two degrees in Political Communication and wrote a Master's Thesis on resistance movements, race, and the exploitation of college athletes. His wife and two Toy Australian Sheppards keep him sane.
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