5 Hiring Lessons We Can Learn from Electronic Arts

applicant tracking systems for small companiesElectronic Arts, or EA, made Glassdoor’s Best Places to Work list in 2018. They’ve also won several awards for diversity and employee engagement. This is in contrast to not quite forgotten, in fact, recently revived, customer resentment. Electronic Arts is a good example of investing in your employees, but they’re an example of what not to do when it comes to a cohesive, strong company culture. It’s an interesting mix. Did you know that applicant tracking systems for small companies can really help when it comes to recruiting new talent to your workforce? Want to learn more? Check out the free trials we offer for our top-rated online recruiting software today.

5 Hiring Lessons We Can Learn from Electronic Arts

#1. Invest in Your Employees

Electronic Arts invests pretty thoroughly in its employees, covering a wide range of bases. They know how to engage employees, they provide useful benefits that suit their culture well, and they effectively support personal growth. That’s not exactly the norm.

Gamesindustry.biz wrote a piece about EA’s landing in the Best Places to Work list that included the following quote,

“EA is praised by staff for its high salaries and nice perks, such as “Free games, ice cream, masseur on site, work events, raffles, meditation rooms to chill, etc.” and for supporting and fostering growth in its employees.”

One of their server engineers, Stephanie, is quoted on the company’s careers page,

“I believe EA has done a great job thus far in helping me grow and achieve my professional and personal goals.”

Then there is this Indeed review,

“EA’s commitment to a great employee and customer experience is evident in everything they do.

They start by genuinely listening to the voice of the customer/employee, digesting the information and making changes that create unique experience.

Working for a company who truly values your ideas, experience and suggestions is invaluable.

Management helps you advance your career, relevant training to keep you up to date on changes. Fun and laid back atmosphere. Amazing place to be! Always a party happening

Cheap snacks. Half off merchandise”

And many Glassdoor reviews,


* Strong executive leadership with a clear direction of the future

* Challenging work, with much autonomy

* Culture of inclusiveness and partnership

* No one works in a silo”


  • open-minded culture
  • work hard play hard mindset
  • colleagues (peers and managers) are genuinely interested in helping out (it reflects on them as well)
  • both peers and managers are generally very approachable
  • kanteen offers varied and delicious food throughout the day, most healthy stuff is free, lots of fruit and veges, big portions, savoury

Advice to Management
Keep it up, you’re doing great from what I can tell ;)”


  • Good pay; good locations; generally friendly and passionate people”


  • food, stock andswag perks with good medical and retire benefits

On their careers page, EA lays out the following benefits, variable by country:

  • Health coverage, known as their “wellbEAing program”
  • Retirement plans
  • Stock purchase plans
  • Financial planning
  • “Life insurance and/or disability coverage”
  • Free games
  • Onsite fitness centers(at select locations)
  • Ride-to-work schemes
  • Discounts
  • Paid parental leave
  • Adoption assistance
  • Employee assistance programs
  • Flexible scheduling
  • “Child care resources”
  • Paid time off
  • Holidays off
  • One week a year locations are closed

#2. Innovation

You may not have noticed among those reviews above that employees mentioned several things that indicate freedom to innovate. One mentioned autonomy and another felt the need to mention in two different ways that their ideas were listened to. The fact that it appears in employee reviews means two things, that it is pervasive enough that employees use it to sum up the company and that it is important to them.

News flash, it is very important to employees, but it is at least as important to your company and your ability to reach goals and compete.

#3. Environment

The physicality of the workplace plays more importance in productivity and employee satisfaction than we normally realize. Slow computers, faulty equipment, uncomfortable temperatures, uncomfortable seating, too little light, and too much noise can slow employees down, reduce their morale, and make it hard to concentrate. It also makes employees feel you don’t care to invest in them or even the efficiency of their work.

EA may be having more trouble with their environment than your average major company because it’s making its way into employee reviews.

The person on Indeed who was quoted above discussing snacks and half-off merchandise mentioned one con:


And the Glassdoor review talking about the “word hard play hard mindset” listed the following cons:


could do with a bit more windows 🙂

“personal” garbage bins are scarce”

It doesn’t sound like a huge deal. I’m not sure the second person wasn’t trying to make the point that there wasn’t much to complain about. And someone’s only con was that it was cold? Is it that cold? I’m not sure, but environment is important and issues with it are appearing in EA’s employee reviews  so it seems like a good opportunity to highlight this issue.

It’s also particularly unfortunate and odd for EA to have a less than satisfactory work environment when they’re trying so hard to invest in employees in other ways. Consistency is important in building a strong company culture, which EA seems to have a problem with. That’ll be explained further below.

#4. Diversity and Unconscious Bias

EA’s won awards for their diversity and, again, it was mentioned in the employee reviews quoted above. Employees feel that it’s an inclusive workplace and discuss ways that it benefits their work. That’s very good.

Their careers page references an interesting take on reducing unconscious bias. They say they have employee resource groups that are voluntary and employee-organized, designed to get employees working together naturally so they see everyone’s strengths for themselves.

They also advertise their unconscious bias training.

#5. What You Do To Employees Impacts Customers Also

Your treatment of employees, and therefore your company culture, impacts your product or service. Company culture is also just really important to all aspects of your business because it basically means how deliberately and sincerely you’re operating your business. If employees are suffering, so are your customers.

When employees complain about EA, they have similar problems, “big corporation inefficiency” and not being listened to. Surprise, surprise, that’s also what customers are complaining about. In fact, their customers are complaining louder. This is big trouble for EA.

In 2012 and 2013, EA won “Worst Company in America” awards, from the public. They beat out some biggies like Bank of America, Time Warner Cable, and Walmart too. This notorious distinction was due to putting out disappointing products and making customers feel used, i.e. not listened to or cared about.

Here’s a quote on Consumerist, in the link above, that sums up the point,

“Until EA stops sucking the blood out of games in order to make uninspiring sequels, or at least until they begin caring about how much gamers hate their lack of respect for our money and intelligence, this is going to continue.”

To EA’s credit, they made improvement and for years managed to regain a sense of peace with their customer base.

Paul Tassi on Forbes described it,

“EA went from many seeing it as the pure manifestation of corporate greed and incompetence to just another big publisher, and one putting out pretty good games at that.”

But the issues resurfaced in 2017.

Tassi said,

“I’ve seen a shift back to the ‘old EA’ days, where fans are now once again synonymizing EA with greed and/or failure.”

Several EA games were shot full of mistakes and the company chose that even more foolish time to also make a hated decision involving game payment. Nosedive time for EA, with very similar problems to the way it was before, customers received products that didn’t make them happy and felt like the company was only out for their money. Again.

While EA manages to treat employees well enough that they don’t have the venom customers have, their employees “coincidentally” have the same complaints.

The gamesindustry.biz post included the following suggestion from “one member of EA”,

“Keep your employees in the loop more, offer game time to employees to gain hands-on product knowledge [and] acknowledge that stats are highly biased and often out of the advisor’s control due to issues only Studio can fix.”

Glassdoor also contains from negative comments:


  • General big corporate culture downsides; company politics; less creative control as an individual contributor on big teams. Promotion can be hard depending on the team.”


  • Political chronyism mixed with poor training means you don’t know who or how to influence your stakeholders.
    Backwards, waterfall processes under the guise of ‘Agile’. Be prepared to spend your time creating useless documentation and estimates rather than contribute to meaningful tasks on the project.
    Most of the time you are pressured to have ‘crunch – crunch’ times because of poor, last minute planning decisions made from remote leadership.
    When proposing better, more modern processes, be prepared to have to defend your ideas to groups of non-technical, inexperienced andclueless HR/crusty people managers. They’ll hire you for positions and then ostracize you and use political back doors to prevent you from doing the job you were hired to do, or they’ll force you to take on duties of higher paying positions without recognizing your commitments or giving you an appropriate pay raise.
    Advice to Management
    Don’t hire forward thinking people without giving them the support/influence they need to make effective changes.