Earlier this week, we were tracking a story about layoffs at Harmonix. It turns out that layoffs were not widespread and two people were let go from the studio, but the company’s vice president of marketing, Darren Williams, denied that any layoffs had happened whatsoever.
Now, Harmonix has admitted that the two individuals in question have, in fact, been laid off. The company posted a statement today in an attempt to clear things up.
As you might have heard, earlier this week Harmonix laid off two employees from the design department. Later in the day, there were some potentially confusing statements made to press about the nature of their departure. We wanted to take a minute to clarify: Yes, those two employees were laid off. No, there is not a larger layoff happening currently, or planned for the near future for Harmonix.
Two individuals were laid off because of a skills mismatch with our future project slate, which sometimes happens, unfortunately, even with skilled employees. There is no studio-wide layoff, meaning, no plans to reduce the size of the studio as a whole; in fact, Harmonix is actually growing now.
We’re sorry for any confusion this may have caused.
The language that Williams used equivocated, as he seemed unwilling to admit that the employees did not leave of their own choosing. At first, he told us that the two designers “left” the company. Then, in a follow-up statement, we were told that Harmonix made “changes” but that there had been “no layoff.”
Harmonix did not attribute the statement to any staff member in particular, opting instead to anonymize the message.
The language Williams used called into question the veracity of the statements made by two employees that had already had a hard day. Put bluntly, losing your job sucks.
Having multiple statements from your former employer that attempt to obfuscate the nature of your departure hurts. And the fact that those missives don’t acknowledge the contributions made, especially after eight and four years of service respectively, is worse. Harmonix, you can do better by your employees, both past and present.