Ex-Games Workshop Employees Opens Up About Workplace

Former employees at tabletop game company Games Workshop opens up about the odd and imbalanced nature of the company's workplace

Published: July 28, 2021 3:33 PM /


An Inquisitor as seen in promotional art for Warhammer 40,000 Inquisitor

Social media became abuzz recently regarding the inner workings of Games Workshop.

In a thread of tweets, James M Hewitt gave his thoughts regarding a dubious statement from an unnamed tabletop company's FAQ page for new prospective employees. The statement in question was why there wasn't a salary listed on the advert, to which the answer was, "we want people to apply for a job because that's what they really want to do, not because of the size of the salary." Hewitt's response was to speak at length about the time he had worked at Games Workshop between 2002 and 2016, and his experience with the workplace culture there.

The tweets start by saying one of the mandates was that no one was allowed to talk about how much they made. This is a common practice in most formal office workspaces since it shifts focus from the work itself to money, but it becomes increasingly relevant as the thread continues. Hewitt talks about how at one point he asked for a raise before going on parental leave, believing he had earned it considering his work on various projects including Betrayal at Calth. He was told that there weren't enough funds in the budget. During leave, however, he was offered a new position with a payraise... only for the latter to be withdrawn shortly.

Hewitt believes that his request for a payraise left a black mark on his personal record since it showed his focus being more on the paycheck than "Doing Your Best." A year later in his new role, Hewitt asked again for a payraise after noticing a minor employee there made a bit more than where he was prior, only to be told once again that the current budget didn't allow it. But, the budget for overtime was "unlimited" so if he really wanted to earn more he could just work additional hours. Six months later, Hewitt left Games Workshop.

The image of an FAQ mentioning why no Salary is discussed
This was the screenshot that started all of this

In Hewitt's case, there's a good chance that this kind of work culture is no longer the case at Games Workshop given the timeframe. In fact, Hewitt went into further detail about his employment there in a long-form post on his personal blog.

However, this thread of tweets did lead to another story about an employee's time at the company, this time by Sophie Williams. She talked about how she would organize Games Workshop's teams of artists. That is 120 artists total usually working on two pieces at the same time for anything between 8 to 12 projects. Sophie had to keep all of that straight alongside her own in-house team of 8 employees, with no downtime, and while pregnant. She talks about how she planned ahead for her maternity leave, recruiting and training someone to handle her workload, which she acknowledged was a lot to handle. However, on the day before her leave, Games Workshop pulled someone else from a different department to fill in her absence and put the employee she had in mind somewhere else. Any time she asked any questions about the logistical hurdles involved - what would happen when she got back, would they be staying in her department, etc. -  she would be silenced with a pat "it will be fine."

During her leave, however, the entire department changes. The team is moved to a different building, Williams' old manager is replaced with a new one, and she is assigned to a completely different job since her position basically vanished. Things didn't get much better with ongoing appeals and meetings with people from HR and deteriorating mental health, leading to her leaving the company.

While Games Workshop has yet to officially comment on these stories, it does illustrate some unhealthy corporate practices happening at this company. Instability, miscommunication, and even mismanagement are all clearly present in these stories. As for how common these actions really are, only time will tell.

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Ever since he was small, Tyler Chancey has had a deep, abiding love for video games and a tendency to think and overanalyze everything he enjoyed. This… More about Tyler