Zynga

  www.zynga.com
  www.zynga.com
There are newer employer reviews for Zynga

 

Some solid people, but not solid practices

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

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

Pros

Free gym, food, snacks, enough soda to turn you diabetic.
A lot of people are willing to teach you things if you ask.

Cons

Raises and bonuses are based loosely on a merit system that is reliant on goals set by your manager (who might or might not even understand what you do). Even meeting and surpassing goals can you get nothing.
Internal structure is designed to keep you in your job you were hired for, almost impossible to get into another department.
There is always lots of churn, hard to keep anything stable for more than a 3 month time frame.

Doesn't Recommend
Neutral Outlook
No opinion of CEO

368 Other Employee Reviews for Zynga (View Most Recent)

Sort: Rating Date
  1. 5 people found this helpful  

    Well-compensated, and recognized at the company; killed it at the expense of my work-life balance. Unsure of its future.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Senior Artist in Baltimore, MD
    Former Employee - Senior Artist in Baltimore, MD

    I worked at Zynga full-time (more than 3 years)

    Pros

    -Compensation + generous perks. Zynga has a lot of financial resources and the ability to make Blockbuster titles. Whether they use those resources intelligently is another story. Free lunches, dinners, gym, health care, etc.
    -Opportunity for advancement - a lot of it, if you can manage to get recognized by the right people. That last sentence is key.
    -Average production cycle is a lot shorter than working in console development, which means more shipped titles in less time (if your team does it right)
    -Dynamic workforce - fairly easy to transfer within the company.
    -Has gotten better at recognizing games that won't succeed, and killing projects early. This could still use some improvement.
    -All star IT department that bends over backwards for employees.
    -Dog friendly environment usually makes it a joy to come to work (as long as the dogs on your team are well-behaved)
    -Overall, I really liked my experience with Zynga. I was lucky to be well-recognized within the company, and felt like my voice mattered and that I was contributing a lot to the projects I was on. The sense of ownership diminished substantially over the the 3.5 years that I was with the company, in part because of rapidly growing team size, and in part from the increasingly negative morale that permeated the office.

    Cons

    -If you're not a programmer, product manager, or high-ranking designer, you're a second tier citizen. The company not value each discipline equally. From a ground level, you can see this in the referral bonus drives (2x bonus modifier on getting a PM or Developer (engineer) hired versus any other discipline).
    -Hectic and disorganized. It's hard to filter the noise sometimes; games in my experience have never shipped on time; we constantly thought we were two weeks out from shipping, which meant a lot of crunch towards the launch of the project.
    -Company size has grown substantially and explosively since I started; because of the lack of organization and general chaos, I don't think we grew intelligently. This resulted in several studio closures after a very aggressive.
    -Work environment encourages politicking. Meritocracy = sometimes you get recognized for your skills and contributions, but you better make sure the right person sees it. Can be cutthroat, to the detriment of the quality of the game, as individuals plan terrible, un-fun features that maximize quick revenue but ultimately tank the game as we bleed users who can't put up with it anymore.
    -Impossible to get recognized if you're not on a succeeding project. Zynga funnels resources into its blockbuster teams, and the pool for bonuses/promotions/etc seems dependent on how well your game is doing (monetization, DAU, etc).
    -Extremely hard to get recognized at a remote branch, unless you're working a lot with people at HQ who can vouch for your talents. May be a moot point, anyways, since many remote studios were closed.
    -Cynicism, jadedness seems to have infected a good portion of the workforce; depending on your team, morale can be a bummer.
    -Thrash. A lot. There's been a ton of reorganization among upper management; I think part of it was to reduce the churn in projects to get fewer dissonant voices in on the greenlight process.
    -Tendency to let projects run on for too long, with too many resources, only to can it 9+ months later.
    -Extremely risk-adverse. "Innovation" is a joke, as every project seems to have Frankenstein'd each successful element of every previous title until games are hard to differentiate from each other and mechanics don't make sense in context; seems like stuff makes it in just to satisfy the green light checkboxes.
    -Work/life balance is what you make of it. It's easy to live at work when you get catered lunch and dinner.
    -Feature cadence on live games can get unreasonable. Your team needs to be good about recognizing when to dial it back; if you've got an aggressive General Manager who's 100% about meeting numbers, enjoy sleeping at Zynga.
    -Weird animosity between departments, depending on your team: Product Managers and Designers don't seem to get along. You should be working in tandem to make a game that is both fun and profitable, not against each other to get your way.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    I think you're at a crossroads - you have the opportunity to succeed in a major way, following the successes of your former titles. But if you don't wake up and take some risks, a smaller, more agile company is going to smoke you. Get back to your roots with smaller team sizes; the huge teams are too disorganized and not everyone's able to contribute 100%. Throwing as many people as you can on a project does not make it wrap up any faster or better; recognize those diminishing margining returns and keep your teams leaner. Get over the IPO. Just, get over it and don't fret about the near-term stock price- if you start looking more towards the future.

    Or you can keep doing what you're doing; but I don't think it'll continue to work. I think the company's values aren't aligned with its employees' anymore, and you need to address that. Some of your top talent is being ignored simply because they aren't actively working on your biggest hit, and that's a shame. I'm pretty sure you can see the iceberg in the horizon - it's not too late to steer the boat in a different direction. Don't be the Titanic.

    Also: Consider reducing the swag budget. By a lot. After over three years with the company, I'm pretty sure I could go a month without doing laundry solely by how many Zynga-branded t-shirts I own.

    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  2. 3 people found this helpful  

    Don't lay off your best talent

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

    I worked at Zynga full-time (more than 5 years)

    Pros

    While it lasted, it was a great gig. The perks were nice and the people were fun to work with.

    Cons

    Their recent round of layoffs were "wrong place, wrong time" with no consideration made to skills, positions, seniority, value, etc. The company blindly cut teams right and left giving no consideration to who/what/when/why.

    Company sent an entire team to Hawaii not one month prior to laying off 500+ employees.

    If you are currently there or one of the new hires (Yes they are still hiring....explain that...) you need to get yourself on the Poker or FarmVille 2 teams as quickly as possible. It doesn't matter if you think another team has potential...Poker is the safest place to be. The company is crumbling one team at a time and those will be the last to go.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Layoffs have to happen, we understand that. Don't screw over your most passionate, loyal, and skilled workers (unless you were actually doing us some kind of favor by letting us out early before the entire place shuts down)

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
There are newer employer reviews for Zynga

Work at Zynga? Share Your Experiences

Zynga

 
Click to Rate
or

Your response will be removed from the review – this cannot be undone.