Zynga Reviews

Updated August 27, 2014
Updated August 27, 2014
348 Reviews
3.0
348 Reviews
Rating Trends

Recommend to a friend
Approve of CEO
Zynga CEO Don Mattrick
Don Mattrick
91 Ratings

Review Highlights

Pros
  • Free food and snacks are good and did offset some of the salary cut the pre-ipo hired took (in 52 reviews)

  • Benefits, cool office environment, in house Gym, breakfast, lunch and dinner (in 21 reviews)


Cons
  • Most employees have a very poor work-life balance, especially around holidays (in 40 reviews)

  • Low morale coupled with long hours at my studio (in 25 reviews)

More Highlights

68 Employee Reviews Back to all reviews

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  1. 1 person found this helpful  

    Exhausting, high-pressure environment

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Product Manager
    Former Employee - Product Manager

    I worked at Zynga full-time

    Pros

    Challenging work, opportunities to work with large-scale analytic data, and a very fast turnaround from ideas to action. Free food & stuff if that is important to you. Fun co-workers.

    Cons

    Very, very tiring. Relentless demands on your time - late nights, weekend work, always feeling like you're behind. Pay was better than other options by say 20%, but easily worked 40% more than other positions = you're getting paid less for your time, which is your life.

    Doesn't Recommend
    No opinion of CEO
  2. 1 person found this helpful  

    Great benefits, but lacking direction and career development

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I have been working at Zynga full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    Great benefits (medical/dental premium covered 100%, amazing food from the culinary staff, great coffee, snacks)

    Cons

    While Don Mattrick and other executives focus on hiring their friends into senior management positions, we continue to lose tons of talented employees who do the actual work on our products (engineers, PMs, designers).

    Most of the employees I know haven't received a significant title change or real salary bump in more than two years. And I don't see this changing anytime soon.

    Constant reorganizations and priority changes derail any progress teams are making. Teams are expected to be in a constant crunch mode, and we are given very little clarity on the company's priorities. Employees doing the day-to-day work are asked to do more with less—meanwhile the company continues to aggressively hire senior managers and directors who don't actually help with the production of games. This strategy does nothing but add additional layers of unnecessary bureaucracy that make our jobs even harder.

    Big decisions seem to be made on a whim, causing lots of thrash as teams scramble to comply with the executive "idea of the week" and delay progress on milestones that really matter. It seems like with every project we are reinventing the wheel with respect to the software development process. None of this process, and none of the key questions to ask during that process, should be new to anyone in management at a software company!

    Morale at the company seems to be at an all-time low. You often hear stories about Zynga's earlier years where people were excited to work hard and stay late at the office. It's just not the case now. People cheer with excitement for one another when they hear a friend found a job elsewhere.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    You need to understand how much you make teams scramble on a day-to-day basis with strange requests and questions asked on a whim that pull entire teams off important work so their managers and executives can save face.

    We need more quality control and innovation in our products and in our leadership practices.

    Management needs to seriously consider the impact attrition is having on our work culture. When you see great colleagues leaving every week, it makes you really question your position.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Disapproves of CEO
  3.  

    Great place to be a PM. Terrible place for creatives.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee  in  San Francisco, CA
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in San Francisco, CA

    I have been working at Zynga full-time for more than 3 years

    Pros

    Great food, liberal vacation policy (if you can use it), little red tape, smart people, good location, bike and dog friendly.

    Cons

    Broken design culture, PM dominated decision making, short term focus, poor bonuses, mediocre salaries, brutal workloads, terrible team management, constant barking, high turnover, lots of politics and yes-men.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Make games people will love playing and people will love making. Pay employees wages needed to live in San Francisco. Profit share more. Stop wasting your employees. Stop making copies and create something original.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
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  5. 3 people found this helpful  

    Great People, Poor Management

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Lead Game Designer
    Current Employee - Lead Game Designer

    I have been working at Zynga full-time for more than 3 years

    Pros

    Great Benefits (food, healthcare, fitness) and great employees (the people who are actually making the games)

    Cons

    Management at the team level is sadly terrible. The group of GMs and high level managers that have remained with Zynga are still trying to use strategies from 2008 to determine how to move forward in a completely different game market.

    I have never worked for a more cliquey company in my entire career. I have watched people with little to no experience be promoted to senior and lead positions simply because they had worked with a particular manager on another project. I shouldn't have to hold a "senior" anyone's hand when using Microsoft Word or Perforce.

    Some long-term Zyngites seem oblivious to the troubles the company has had. The frequency in which I heard people brush off layoffs and other cuts in a nonchalant, casual manner was disturbing.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    When a team has three creative directors but no one to actually implement the vision then perhaps it is time to rethink the org chart.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  6. 1 person found this helpful  

    A Bachelor’s in Business Politics

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I worked at Zynga full-time for more than 3 years

    Pros

    Used to staff some of the best minds in the business to learn and work with. Now a great place to be working in the industry if you believe the game part of games takes a back seat to business priorities. A data lover's dream. Great perks and benefits including a great vacation policy. If you find the time to use it..

    Cons

    A constraining place to work in a creative capacity…all of it stifled by business priorities. Zynga saw a gradual migration of employees from other industry conglomerates shortly after their big game success who now occupy the upper management ranks. They brought much of the politics they claimed to run from with them. Other company leaders wised up and left long ago. Employees must have worked directly with these managers or risk being layoff targets.

    They hire for the job, not the employee except in very specific cases and job functions (seen them cut top tier engineers but not mediocre product/market analysts). If your game starts failing management will see you as fat to be trimmed rather than investigate whether you were one of the few actively keeping an imminent disaster from happening until it was impossible to prevent. A disaster management probably caused.

    Management did not exercise any professional means of evaluating employees during my time, and in many cases looked to an employee's prior reputation in the industry. It is why the last layoffs in January were done shoddily to save a few dollars and lost most of the top talent not networked with the upper management regime. Now they struggle to retain the remaining true talented employees and many left since the last layoffs.

    After they realized the cuts were too deep trying to satisfy the Street, I was called weeks later with an offer for my old job and it took serious restraint not to hang up.

    Letting go of what they need to satisfy ultra short term business goals is characteristic of the company. There was concern when they replaced the CEO with someone even more conservative and money-minded. After seeing no change in management or investors I share the concerns of my former coworkers.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Take more responsibility but take more risks too.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  7. 2 people found this helpful  

    Senior management makes decisions based on what is best for investor not player or employee!

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Senior Product Manager  in  San Francisco, CA
    Former Employee - Senior Product Manager in San Francisco, CA

    I worked at Zynga full-time

    Pros

    Relatively high comp for gaming but lower end compared to other tech companies.

    Food is good. Facilities people are super friendly!

    Cons

    Very top heavy in certain studios where little gets done since everyone wants his/her voice heard.

    Terrible work/life balance.

    Short-term decisions made before end of each quarter to drive revenue. Some of these decisions were not beneficial to the game in the long-term.

    My studio was super cliquey: if you didn't suck up to the GM or senior people, consider yourself a layoffs target despite good performance.

    Layoffs in January were done unthought fully - purely to let investors know we are cutting costs and yet started to hire for the roles right away. Many of the individuals cut were some of the most talented employees we had!

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Sooner or later, Wall Street will see that you are simply just checking off all the boxes to lift stock prices in the short term.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  8.  

    The bubble has burst on this place

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I have been working at Zynga full-time for more than 5 years

    Pros

    used to be a great place to work with lots of added benefits. these days employees don't get bonuses, christmas parties or offsites like we used to

    Cons

    lack of appreciation for employees
    "be glad you have a job" atmosphere
    increased workload due to massive rounds of layoffs

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Get your sh*t together. Appreciate the talent that you have and start compensating them well.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  9.  

    Frustrating

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Lead Product Manager  in  San Francisco, CA
    Current Employee - Lead Product Manager in San Francisco, CA

    I have been working at Zynga full-time for more than 3 years

    Pros

    Great opportunity to learn about data-driven product management

    Cons

    Management doesnt trust the teams to make creative decisions. Lack of creativity results in bad bets that fail

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Trust the people you have hired. If you dont trust them, replace them with people you trust.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  10.  

    Director

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Director  in  San Francisco, CA
    Former Employee - Director in San Francisco, CA

    I worked at Zynga full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    Lot of perks free meals and gym access, beer bust every Friday afternoon

    Cons

    Lack of leadership from top management always changing direction.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Work with your teams to create a long term plan for your staff that will grow them.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  11. 1 person found this helpful  

    Terrible senior management making awful decisions

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Designer  in  San Francisco, CA
    Current Employee - Designer in San Francisco, CA

    I have been working at Zynga full-time for more than 3 years

    Pros

    Comp is on the higher end for gaming companies, but on the lower end relative to other public tech companies.

    There are some good folks remaining but they're all leaving like flies.

    It used to have good perks when I started, but they have gotten rid of a lot of them (no more massages, haircuts, they also laid off my trainer in December).

    Cons

    Lowest morale in all of SF and Silicon Valley right now. The last round of layoffs ended up cutting some of the best performers at Zynga (HR and C suite's decision-making abilities are questionable), leaving behind some cheaper but very mediocre performers.

    My studio has too many leads and too political to get anything done.

    All upper management cares about is pleasing the investors (not their players or employees). They haven't been able to ship a good mobile title organically, so they tap into their free cash flow and acquire other mobile gaming companies while cutting headcount. Great for the bottom line temporarily, but terrible in the long-run because some of the top performers are gone and you cannot make great games without them.

    They always claim there will not be more layoffs but a 18% layoffs occurred in May and an 15% layoffs occurred in late January. Do not believe anything upper management says anymore.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Your last round of layoffs was done carelessly. You cut some great performers and kept some very medicore performers to save several grand per year for each employee. Now the rest of us is struggling to keep afloat in an already terrible environment.

    Your investors-first policy is only great in inflating the stock price. In a good market like this, most of your talent would not bother staying even if they have not been laid off.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

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