Google workers track biased actions, harassment in employee email list
- Google employees run a weekly, internal email list that tracks bias, harassment and other claims, reports Bloomberg. "Yes, at Google" collects and sends incidences of racism, sexism, sexual harassment and other unlawful activity at the giant tech company and its parent company, Alphabet Inc.
- Employees said the list aims to create an inclusive workplace by posting accounts of unwanted behavior, says Bloomberg. Since the list began in September, 20% of the staff have subscribed, according to one employee source. A Google spokesperson told Bloomberg that management knows about the list and that the company works hard to "promote and preserve a culture of respect and inclusion."
- Currently, the U.S. Department of Labor is investigating allegations of pay discrimination against female workers at Google. The company denies the allegations.
This unorthodox method of reporting bad behavior represents current misgivings about the perception of HR in general. For a long time, HR has struggled against perceptions that it is a corporate arm, not out to protect employees but instead protect the reputation of the company. Breaking out of that perception may, in some companies, be ultimately impossible, which is why encouraging external forms of feedback when appropriate may be one way to cultivate a company culture of inclusiveness and respect.
In essence: Google made the right move in allowing the list to continue to exist once it got wind of it.
In the tech industry, HR problems abound and solutions aren't easy. Largely made up of white and Asian men, tech companies struggle to recruit, hire and retain more women, people of color and other under-represented groups. Organizations in which inclusiveness is almost nonexistent can be breeding grounds for discrimination.
HR can lead the change to more inclusive work environments and monitor unlawful activity, but that means taking the time to listen to employees' concerns. Some organizations have implemented employee resource groups or similar programs to ensure everyone has a voice.