Home / Business / A technology company is trying to limit what employees say at work. It doesn’t go well

A technology company is trying to limit what employees say at work. It doesn’t go well

When leaders of product management and communications software company Basecamp announced last week that it would hold political discussions at work, the impact was swift.

Tech workers, workplace consultants and politicians have been attacking the decision on Twitter and LinkedIn, although other company leaders have called it a bold move. Some employees eventually threatened to quit their jobs.The Chicago-based company offered acquisitions to about 50 employees, many of whom decided to quit.

Despite its small size, Basecamp is influential among tech companies.Its founders have written popular books on work and are considered to be a prototype workplace for a few weeks in the summer and pay off every one. People who work in the same role for the same salary Efforts to control what employees are saying at the job show that after years of encouraging teams to “put their whole body into work,” some companies are demanding a slight reduction in their workforce.

Last year font Of Inc.

Google and Facebook Inc.

Be the leader in exposure to discussion on sensitive topics in the workplace, providing message boards within City Halls and other forums for employee opinion. Many more are following suit and leaders remain committed to social issues and give employees the opportunity to express themselves.

Recently, some companies have changed the way, most notably the Coinbase Global cryptocurrency exchange. Inc.,

But last fall announced that its culture was “paralyzed.”

; Chief Executive Brian Armstrong wrote that the company would not discuss causes or internal political candidates, and that employees should not expect Coinbase to take a public stance on the concerns. Their own personal beliefs

Google and Facebook, citing their desire to curb internal tensions, have moved to restrict political conversations on the working platform.

Jason Fried, co-founder and CEO with Basecamp, referred to the “choppy” social and political water and said the conversation turned out to be a distraction. In an open letter to an employee who was part of a recent effort for diversity and inclusion at the company called the “oppression” and “gagging” movement, many employees announced through. Twitter said they had resigned.

Reporting in Platformer, the technology newsletter, highlights some of the internal issues of diversity, equality and inclusion that have put founders banned.

Several technology companies have made public stance supporting the Black Lives Matter movement following the death of George Floyd.


Bridget Bennett for The Wall Street Journal

It is now a raging debate in tech companies, big and small, about how to define what is political, whether the issue can be separated from diversity and inclusion, and whether colleagues should be involved. On those issues how

Basecamp co-founder David Heinemeier Hansson told The Wall Street Journal in an email that since the company’s announcement, he has received “more and more support emails from executives and employees working at companies where social politics is taking over.” Domain, and if you’re sitting in the wrong ideology, it’s terrifying. ”

Glenn Kelman, CEO of Redfin Corp., a technology-driven real estate brokerage based in Seattle.

Redfin made a public stance in support of Black Lives Matter following the death of George Floyd and the subsequent protests. Employees with different views then debated at work, and Mr Kelman said he found himself called upon to have a judge. “I’m not trained to do that,” he said.

Now, Redfin approaches broader social issues on a case-by-case basis. Mr. Kelman said the company would show a public stance and voice support for its internal employees on fairness issues such as the movement of black people, though employees. Some would view the support as a political stance. Mr. Kelman admits that the system is not perfect.

“We tried to create a rule,” he said, “and it turned out that it was impossible.”

At Harmon Brothers LLC, a Provo-based digital marketing startup in Utah of 50, employees posted links to partisan news articles on the company’s channels on messaging app Slack around the election. This past, then into the argument CEO Benton Crane is concerned that remote interactions degrade the quality of the political discussions they’ve had by themselves.

In Slack, “people have a much sharper voice,” he says, “they don’t really sympathize with who they’re communicating with.”

In March, the company introduced a new rule: Employees who want to post links to Slack must first make a video explaining their thoughts on the link. Anyone who wants to respond will have to record their own videos.

U.S. corporate leaders find themselves in greater conflict with both Democrats and Republicans. WSJ’s Gerald FC explains how they find themselves in an awkward state. Photo illustration: Laura Kammermann

While it was still early, Crane said hardly anyone else was fighting Slack.

“The policy almost had the effect of a ban. But without the negative baggage that comes with the ban, people who feel their voices are interrupted, ”he said.

Facebook has made changes to its internal policy on speech on political and social justice issues at work, after hearing from employees it wanted more control over these discussions. Last September, the company made it so that employees can choose to opt-in or not to view content in their job feeds. Facebook said the change has helped make conversations about work more creative. While giving employees space for personal expression

Google was early in promoting a culture of work where debate was commonplace and after years of internal struggles and multiple litigation sought to curb political debate on its internal platforms in 2019, a spokeswoman said. That the Google Community Guidelines add support for healthy and open discussions; and Did not comment further.

The issues at the center of these discussions can be deeply personal for many who view what they see as an attempt to bring about dialogue about diversity and inclusion into partisan conflicts.

When it comes to political and social justice for people of color and disadvantaged groups, “You can’t be separated from it because that’s who you are,” said Lekisha Middleton, founder of the Success Network. D, who is a corporate consultant and executive coaching company. Working mostly with technology companies dealing with D&I issues.

Ms Middleton, who is black, said the ban on political debate was regarded as an attempt to silence difficult conversations on sensitive topics.

“That’s not the answer,” she said of the bans.

Coinbase employs about 60 people to receive a compensation package after a decision. People immediately declared Basecamp as a recruiting mechanism.

One of the marketing staff from Microsoft. Corp

LinkedIn-owned Basecamp spoke to Basecamp employees directly on the career networking platform, telling them that she was hiring and that they were free to put herself on the whole job. (LinkedIn CEO apologized last year. After an anonymous City Hall meeting in the aftermath of George Floyd’s murder, questions he later called shocking.)

Some employees at Conductor Inc., a New York-based marketing software startup, told CEO and co-founder Seth Besmertnik they would rather focus on work than politics, others say they are uncomfortable. With conversations about political and social issues for fear of speaking the wrong way

“They weren’t there racist. But they may not be most ready to chat in this area, ”he said.

Mr Besmertnik said he spoke frequently with Conductor employee resource group leaders about how to explore sensitive situations and make everyone feel safe.

Basecamp CEO and co-founder Friedrich, declined to talk about what happened at the company, said he was taking a break, “so I can focus on all my energy while employees are working.” Decide “

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