An employee who has ended up among dozens of people fired from Xsolla has discussed the scandal surrounding the company. He spoke about the controversial rating system, the layoffs, and founder Aleksandr Agapitov’s personality.

Earlier this month, Xsolla fired around 150 employees, who received a controversial letter from the company’s founder. Later, Agapitov explained that the layoffs were due to the growth rate slowdown, discussing the situation in a lengthy interview.

On August 12, Russian gaming website DTF posted an interview with a former employee, who preferred to remain anonymous.

Key points from the conversation

  • Xsolla employees didn’t know anything about their rating. Several dashboards tracking people’s activity are only accessible to Agapitov and some C-level executives.
  • The company planned to introduce a “transparent rating system” earlier this year, but it was postponed. Agapitov claimed that his “transparent letter” served as its temporary analog.
  • The former employee said that he had always thought that completed tasks and his manager’s assessments were the only metrics to evaluate his performance. Ironically, prior to the layoffs, Xsolla’s website expressly stated how the company valued completed tasks over bureaucracy and the number of hours worked .
  • Staffers fell under the category of “unproductive and unengaged” employees if they didn’t read certain documents in Confluence, the former employee claims.
  • Describing Agapitov’s contradictory personality, the former Xsoller said: “He has already fired people saying “elitist” things like ‘You don’t belong in Xsolla.’ Moreover, there is a saying in the company: ‘Shurik [Agapitov] wakes up every six months and acts tough.’ It’s like a small cult of personality, Perm style.”
  • After Agapitov’s letter was leaked, he asked employees to send him the most hilarious memes. When told to stop mocking laid-off employees, he simply said: “It’s not like it can distract them from work now, right?”
  • Speaking about what employees should do to keep their jobs, Agapitov said that people should show their engagement by any means — texting top managers, attending town hall meetings, and reading Confluence.
  • Agapitov’s letter divided Xsolla into “unproductive” and “proper” employees. Some of the latter were subjected to toxic and unpleasant jokes.
  • According to the former employee, Agapitov didn’t keep his promise to pay 4-5 salaries to those laid off. Instead, they received the standard severance pay of three salaries. The CEO explained that he simply had to save his face in front of the media. The laid-off employees were only offered help in updating their CVs and sending them to other companies.
  • Despite the controversy around layoffs, the former employee DTF spoke to doesn’t plan to file a lawsuit against Xsolla.

The full interview is available here.

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