Zynga IPO 'could trigger staff exodus'

Zynga IPO 'could trigger staff exodus'
Craig Chapple

By Craig Chapple

November 28th 2011 at 1:14PM

'Companies that treat talent as a commodity face severe consequences' says EA's head of HR Gabrielle Toledano

Zynga’s imminent IPO could lead to a mass exodus of staff, Electronic Art’s head of HR has claimed.

Speaking to The New York Times, Gabrielle Toledano said that the upcoming IPO and the way the company allegedly treats staff could mean competitors will poach its employees with more enticing offers.

“I expect a lot of game and tech companies will begin recruiting Zynga’s talent after their equity becomes liquid,” said Toledano.

“Competitors will make the case that they offer much more compelling opportunities for creative people.”

She added: “We’ve learned that when companies treat talent as a commodity, the consequences are severe. It takes years to repair a reputation.”

Former staff at the browser game giants have also allegedly spoke out about how the studio pulls data and track progress on its 3,000 employees, with one analyst stating the company was “very similar to a New York investment bank, it’s very data-driven and it’s intense.”

The working conditions have become so much of a problem that the article also reports that this is what prevented Zynga’s $950 million Popcap buyout from going through. The casual games studio instead opted for a deal with Electronic Arts.

“Zynga should be an example of entrepreneurship at its best,” said co-founder of VC firm Elevation Partners Roger McNamee.

“Instead it’s going to be a Harvard Business School case study on founder overreach, this will be a cautionary tale.”

Zynga CEO Mark Pincus has recently been fighting off allegations of pressuring employees into selling stock before its IPO, stating the claims “are based on hearsay and innuendo”.