In light of former Google employee James Damore publishing and distributing a sexist memo denouncing diversity programs, the multinational tech company seems to be getting real about taking inclusion seriously.
According to CNN, employees have joined investors to push a proposal to link executive pay to diversity and inclusion metrics. Irene Knapp, a software engineer at Google stated at a recent meeting that lack of executive leadership around sustainability, diversity, and inclusion hurts the quality of products the company can provide for users. She also made comments that suggested many people at the company still don’t feel comfortable in their workplace, despite the fact that it is consistently rated as one of the top places to work.
“The lack of clear, communicated policies and actions to advance diversity and inclusion with concrete accountability and leadership from senior executives has left many of us feeling unsafe and unable to do our work,” Knapp said.
She highlighted the need to measure long-term progress in this area and also boost safety and well-being of employees of color. When Google employees denounced the memo from Damore last year, their identities were leaked online, making them clear targets for online harassment and threats.
“The chilling effect of harassment and doxing has impaired productivity and company culture,” Knapp said. “Responses from HR have been inadequate, leaving minority communities unprotected.”
Google executives did not respond directly to Knapp’s comments, but they recommitted themselves to diversity.
“Technology can be a tremendously positive force, but it also raises important questions about how we should apply it in the world,” Sundar Pichai, Google’s CEO, said at the shareholder meeting. “We are asking ourselves all those questions.”
Eileen Naughton, Google’s VP of People Operations, added, “We have stated objective in the company to have representation of Blacks and Hispanics in the US and an improvement of representation of women each market supply by 2020.”