Automattic Unhappiness

April Fools at Automattic

– The post was made to the internal Human Resources blog and cross posted to the main internal blog for company-wide updates
– If you work at Automattic and recognise your words, be assured that apart from this post’s author (and everyone at Automattic), no-one else knows or will be told your name.
– Why is it posted here? Because it so incensed a current employee that they sent screenshots and wanted others to know..

Spin There, Done That!
by [redacted]
10:32 pm on March 31, 2022
As a company we’re always iterating on how we do things, and we wanted to try something new for how we reward Automatticians for your hard work and service. Starting today we’re happy to unveil our new Awards, Prizes, and Rewards Inspiring Loyalty program, where each employee gets a chance at a variety of options for improving their compensation and benefits package. Once every 12-18 months your HR Wrangler will reach out to provide you with a token to use for one spin on the Wheel of Compensation, where you’ll have the opportunity to spin and win!
But as Einstein famously said – “Without risk, there is no reward!” So be aware there is a Bankrupt field on the wheel. It’s a doozy 🙂
Since this is a new pilot program, we’re giving all current Automatticians one free chance to spin the wheel now ahead of their scheduled review. So make sure you’re proxied, and head on over to see what you land on!
Good luck, have fun, and let us know in the comments what you got!

hacker , #winning

45 replies

[redacted] 10:46 pm on March 31, 2022
All I got was some lousy AFK, when I was really hoping for a Hug
From [redacted]!

[redacted] to [redacted] ⋅ 10:56 pm on March 31, 2022
I may know someone that can hook you up, @[redacted] 😂

[redacted] to [redacted] ⋅ 10:57 pm on March 31, 2022
I’m gonna need that hug before you head out on sabbatical plz.

[redacted] to [redacted] ⋅ 6:45 am on April 1, 2022
I got a hug from [redacted] and I wouldn’t want to trade that for some lousy AFK either.

[redacted] 10:48 pm on March 31, 2022
It took me a frankly embarrassing amount of time reading this to
realize what day tomorrow is. 🤦

[redacted] 10:50 pm on March 31, 2022
Hey I got a hug from [redacted]! Leaving this comment so that I won’t forget in the next GM

[redacted] to [redacted] ⋅ 10:52 pm on March 31, 2022
Can I trade you 1 of the 2 AFK days I won for half of that hug??

[redacted] to [redacted] ⋅ 11:13 pm on March 31, 2022
Sure! Group hug that is!
[redacted] to [redacted] ⋅ 10:57 pm on March 31, 2022
Deal! 😀

[redacted] 11:02 pm on March 31, 2022
After spinning the wheel for 26 minutes, I’ve won a total of 366 AFK days. See you all next year!

[redacted] to [redacted] ⋅ 8:09 am on April 1, 2022
Extended sabbatical it is!

[redacted] 11:02 pm on March 31, 2022
Happy 1st April, [redacted]
Can I trade you 1 of the 2 AFK days I won for half of that hug??

[redacted] 11:04 pm on March 31, 2022
I got a free blog! 🎉 Let’s try again, and this time, I hope I can get a hug from [redacted]

[redacted] 11:10 pm on March 31, 2022
I got 2 days of AFK!!! I have meetings tomorrow, so I think I’m going to take the 2 days off after that. HUZZAHHHHHHH!

[redacted] 11:14 pm on March 31, 2022
I didn’t know I was so gullible 🤦
Either way, the wheel said free swag and ✨ The Wheel has spoken ✨

[redacted] 11:30 pm on March 31, 2022
I got a hug from [redacted]! I hope the start of the queue’s marked on the next GM map 😂

[redacted] 12:35 am on April 1, 2022
Note to self: Internal P2’s don’t exist tomorrow (today).

[redacted] 12:41 am on April 1, 2022
Awards, Prizes, and Rewards Inspiring Loyalty program
This didn’t click for me until the third re-reading. Nice job!

[redacted] 1:18 am on April 1, 2022

Thanks, [redacted]! I don’t know how this happened, but I’ll send you an email to sort out how much you can pay me. I’ll try not to bankrupt the company. 😉

[redacted] to [redacted] ⋅ 2:49 am on April 1, 2022
But as Einstein famously said – “Without risk, there is no reward!” So be aware there is a Bankrupt field on the wheel.


[redacted] 3:05 am on April 1, 2022
I got a hug from [redacted] Hoping to cash this out in a not to distant future 😊

[redacted] 4:07 am on April 1, 2022
Thanks [redacted]. Really appreciate this.

[redacted] 5:52 am on April 1, 2022
I got the hug! Can’t wait to meet you @[redacted] !

[redacted] 5:55 am on April 1, 2022
Good one hahahaha

[redacted] 6:30 am on April 1, 2022
Where do I collect my new Bugatti?

[redacted] 7:09 am on April 1, 2022
Hug from [redacted] it is! 🤗

[redacted] 7:15 am on April 1, 2022

where each employee gets a chance at a variety of options for improving their compensation and benefits package.

I appreciate the thought and tradition of these April Fools jokes. And the implementation and touches are However, I did not find it funny when employees have been asking for clarification and improvements around compensations, review process, etc. consistently (most recently here, and, as usual, on the employee engagement survey). International contractors have been asking for
equal (or similar) benefits as employees as well (health insurance, etc.).
It’s a tricky topic to navigate and I’m sure there’s a lot of context I’m missing and behind the scenes work on it. But I’ve been waiting eagerly on an update on those topics from HR and it stings that it’s been turned into a joke.

[redacted] to [redacted] ⋅ 10:23 am on April 1, 2022
It’s even more fun since this was posted about 45 mins before another benefit was slashed, anniversary-laptops/

[redacted] to [redacted] ⋅ 3:45 pm on April 1, 2022
Thank you so much for your feedback @[redacted] .
We take every piece of feedback on compensation seriously, if there is anything that you don’t think we have clarified in our recent posts on compensation, please let us know by either commenting here or by getting in contact with your HR Wrangler.
Benefits for International Contractors is tricky to navigate with Automatticians in 98 countries. Our position is the same as when we posted this comment, and we continue to explore options. We are transparent with candidates on the Work For Us pages on what it will mean to be an International Contractor at Automattic, as well as making sure we are clear about it during the trial process. If we see an offering that we think would benefit all of our International Contractors, we will be sure to discuss publicly on P2.

[redacted] 7:19 am on April 1, 2022
Lol I thought this was serious for a few minutes, you got me! 😂 –
gotta get swag

[redacted] 7:27 am on April 1, 2022
Ha! Thank you for the morning giggle @[redacted] and HR crew!

[redacted] 8:13 am on April 1, 2022
Yes! I won a hug!

[redacted] 9:02 am on April 1, 2022 YAY!
I got a hug from [redacted]! #winning
Thanks Human League — this was fun!

[redacted] 11:42 am on April 1, 2022
I’ve been sitting here for an hour and a half trying to find the words to express how disappointed I am in this post. I understand that it’s a joke, and I’m sure it’s not meant maliciously in anyway, but compensation should not be treated as a joke, especially by the very people who control it. I think I’d be more angry if this didn’t already strike me as not too far off from the opaque compensation review process that we actually have. This flies in the face of feedback that I have given to multiple HR Wranglers, and that I know others have as well.

I also want to highlight here that I asked a follow up on the A8c
be sure to discuss publicly on P2 townhall which we didn’t have time to address, that specifically asked about this process and the mental health and morale impacts it can have:
Follow up re: Retention – what thought, if any, have you given to improving the compensation review process? The current process has inconsistent timing, little to no transparency, and obfuscates ownership of the decision from an individual’s direct leaders. This type of uncertainty around compensation can have major impacts to mental health and morale
Needless to say, this joke has compounded those mental health and morale impacts. I hope we can do better in the future.

[redacted] to [redacted] ⋅ 1:18 pm on April 1, 2022
The part I found particularly bothersome was the bonus and raise spins, where it forces you to spin again. Even as a joke it’s not fun to have something dangled in your face and taken away.
It also kind of parallels the anniversary laptops being removed. I know several people who were waiting on those because it seemed like a nice perk.
The 2 days AFK and blog spaces were funny, but the compensation ones less so.

[redacted] to [redacted] ⋅ 3:44 pm on April 1, 2022
Thank you for being so open with your feedback @[redacted] . In terms of our compensation philosophy, we believe that there is less bias when it’s handled centrally, and the choice not to have it managed by leads/managers is a conscious one. We want there to be a distinction between feedback on performance and compensation reviews, mainly so that feedback is given and received in the spirit of development.
I wasn’t aware of unanswered questions in the Town Hall; I’ll take a look there now. Thanks for the heads up.

[redacted] 1:47 pm on April 1, 2022

[redacted] 3:28 pm on April 1, 2022
OMG, hilarious. Free site. Seems about right since I work in dotOrg.

[redacted] 3:36 pm on April 1, 2022
For all those getting a salary boost, I hope you feel bad because it came from mine.

[redacted] 6:08 pm on April 1, 2022
What I’ve always wanted, 2 free sites, but then on the third spin I got a hug from [redacted]! Hugs shall be expected at the next GM!

[redacted] 6:52 pm on April 1, 2022
Thank you to those that have given us feedback on the April Fools post. It was not our intention to cause hurt by the post, and we are truly sorry it landed that way. With hindsight, we now recognize the timing and parts of the content wasn’t appropriate. It’s a world away from the experience that we want our Automatticians to have. We appreciate folks sharing feedback and have taken it to heart.

[redacted] to [redacted]⋅ Yesterday at 1:31 am
Thanks for the apology!
Any chance we could get a post-mortem on how this passed the editorial process and how we can avoid another SNAFU in the future?
Just as I expect leads not to joke about firing people, I wouldn’t expect our incredible HR department to tease about compensation bumps, especially of the sort where the actual rewards for loyalty, dedication, and service are programmed to fail and instead lead us to non-rewards that are perks we already share.
It would be nice to know that these things, which are intimately personal, contentious, and under which many of us have very torn feelings, are considered with respect by HR, and by extension, that HR respects us enough not to make light of their amount of influence over our employment.

[redacted] to [redacted] ⋅ Yesterday at 6:41 am
I have been trying to find the right words to express my feelings since yesterday without success, but [redacted] translated what is also my position perfectly.
We all make mistakes, and we all know that wasn’t the intention, and that’s perfectly fine. How can we make sure we learn from the experience and improve is the real and only important question.

[redacted] 6:53 pm on April 1, 2022
I’m all for a good joke, but this one seems like it could be particularly troublesome for the 40% of the organization that does not “believe my [their] total compensation (base salary+benefits) is fair, relative to similar roles at other companies”, as shared in the recent Culture Amp survey. This question has trended -3% since the prior survey.

This was also one of the ‘Top 5 questions impacting Engagement for Automattic’ as indicated in that survey.
I bring this up not out of anger or retribution, but in concern for the folks working here who already feel like the existing process is as nebulous as spinning a wheel. I certainly don’t assume ill-intent from anyone responsible for this, but I do find it a bit concerning and surprising that this key factor wasn’t considered. 40% of our colleagues is a not-insignificant group

Post Author note: Since writing this post there have apparently been code changes to the wheel. It now cannot give bonuses or a raise.


Wanted: A script

Happiness Engineers in Live Chat are now being flagged if their responses to users are too slow. Currently 180 seconds is the target time.

A request for a Tampermonkey script.
This should auto-insert a custom response into the chat window at varying time intervals.
This should enable any HE to enter their own list of responses that they would typically use. This reduces the chance of being accused of using a script.
This should also have a range of times in seconds when the insertion will happen.

HE’s can then get on with doing their actual job instead of worrying about their leads spying on them.

Who is driving this increasing micro-managing of HE’s? And what do they do?