Google has created a special task force to help improve the company's racial equity, and a leaked memo reveals employees suggested more than 500 changes (GOOG)
Google has created a new group called the Equity Project Management Office, which will review employee suggestions on how the company can improve on racial equity. In a memo seen by Business Insider, CEO Sundar Pichai said employees had sent management more than 500 suggestions on how it could improve. The new office will work with Google's Black employee networks to "sustain" the ideas over time. Employees were also told that Juneteenth would be put aside for a day of "learning and reflection." Do you work at Google? You can contact this reporter securely using encrypted messaging app Signal (+1 628-228-1836) or encrypted email (firstname.lastname@example.org). Click here to get BI Prime's weekly Trending tech newsletter in your email inbox.
Google has created a new central group to review employee suggestions on how it can improve its racial equity, according to an internal memo viewed by Business Insider. Last week, Google employees were asked to share ideas on how the company could improve on areas such as racial justice and diversity. In the new memo, CEO Sundar Pichai said more than 500 suggestions had been sent to management. Pichai told employees Google had created a central group called the Equity Project Management Office to review these ideas. The plan is for the group to then work with Google's Black leadership group and Black Googler Network to "sustain" the ideas over time, Pichai said. "Last week, I asked for your ideas, and we have received more than 500 suggestions on how we should move our racial equity work forward," Pichai told employees. "Just as we did with COVID-19, we've set up a central group — an Equity Project Management Office — to look at all the ideas. Our Black Leadership Advisory Group and BGN Leads have developed a framework and structure that will guide our efforts and help us sustain these ideas over time." The message was sent a day after NBC News published a report that said a rising number of Black Google employees were unhappy with how the company had responded to the Black Lives Matter movement. According to the NBC report this week, internal links to some courses on racial bias and allyship that Facebook provided employees led to dead ends, while messages on the internal Black Googler Network message board criticized the company for cutting certain anti-racism programs. "Internally, our areas of focus are: building equity for Google's Black+ community through anti-racism education; managerial and employee accountability; intentional Black+ talent management; and a particular focus on wellbeing for Black Googlers," Pichai wrote in the new memo. Employees were also told that the company would use Juneteenth — June 19 — as a day of "learning and reflection" and asked Googlers to not schedule any unnecessary meetings. Pichai also said the day would include a "special conversation" with Alicia Keys, per the memo. "We encourage all Googlers to use this day to create space for learning and reflection," he wrote. A Google spokesperson told Business Insider the company had nothing further to share. Twitter and Square recently announced they were making Juneteenth a company holiday, while Microsoft asked managers to cancel meetings to give employees a "day of listening, learning, and engaging." Black employees comprised 3.7% of Google parent company Alphabet's workforce last year, according to the company's latest diversity report, and improvements over time have been very incremental. "We are committed to making long-term, sustainable change and to deeply engaging with our Black+ community to make sure that we get it right," Pichai said in the memo. "I realize you are eager to see us make more concrete commitments, and look forward to sharing more next week."Join the conversation about this story » NOW WATCH: Pathologists debunk 13 coronavirus myths
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From racist graffiti to missed promotions, employees say a “systemic pattern of racial bias” permeates the...From racist graffiti to missed promotions, employees say a “systemic pattern of racial bias” permeates the company.
After years of struggling to improve company diversity, Google is vowing to make bigger strides in racial equity and inclusion. But one promise feels very unambitious. (GOOG)
This week, Google announced several changes to improve racial equity and inclusion within the company. The...This week, Google announced several changes to improve racial equity and inclusion within the company. The list of commitments published by CEO Sundar Pichai included several promising concrete improvements. One of those promises was to increase underrepresented groups at a leadership level by 30% by 2025. But while it sounds like a big jump, the number of underrepresented groups in Google leadership is very low. A 30% increase in Black leaders would bring the total to just 3.4% by 2025. Do you work at Google? You can contact this reporter securely using encrypted messaging app Signal (+1 628-228-1836) or encrypted email (email@example.com). Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories. Google, like the rest of Silicon Valley, is currently reckoning with the little progress it has made over the years to improve diversity and inclusion within the company. Year after year, Google's diversity reports have shown very little improvement to the number of people from underrepresented groups it hires and retains. And year after year, the company has promised to do better. According to the company's latest diversity report, Black employees comprise just 3.7% of Google's workforce, up from 3.3% the year before. Now, the company is making some concrete promises to change things. In a memo from CEO Sundar Pichai published this week, Google set out a series of commitments to improve its efforts in racial equity. The changes include doing away with the company's peer-based badge checking, new anti-racism programs for employees, and pledging $175 million to support Black businesses. Google also promised to increase underrepresented leadership by 30% by 2025. "Our goal is a 30% increase in the proportion of Black+, Hispanic/Latinx+ and Native American+ leaders we have in the U.S. and technical women leaders globally," a spokesperson told Business Insider. That 30% might sound like a big jump, but the math makes it unambitious. According to its 2020 diversity report, just 2.6% of Google's leadership is Black, 3.7% is Latinx, and 0.5% is Native American. A 30% increase would boost that total of underrepresented groups from 6.8% to 8.8%. Or, if you take just the Black employees in leadership roles, it would boost the number of Black leaders from 2.6% to 3.4% by 2025. While each percentage point represents thousands of jobs, according to Google, that's still not a big improvement overall. As Daniel Zhao, a data scientist at Glassdoor pointed out in a tweet, Google would need to increase the number of Black employees in leadership roles by more than 400% to reach parity with Black population of the US, estimated to be 13.4% by the most recent census data. Pichai said Google will work to boost its leadership diversity by advertising senior leadership roles both externally and internally, and increase investment in Google officers outside of Mountain View such as London, Washington DC, and Atlanta. Many of the other changes Google is proposing feel more encouraging than what we've seen in the past. For example, the company said it will introduce a new "multi-series" training program for employees which "explores systemic racism and racial consciousness." NBC recently reported that Google had been scaling back its inclusion and diversity training programs since 2018. Pichai also said Google would convene a task force "to develop concrete recommendations and proposals for accountability across all of the areas that affect the Black+ Googler experience, from recruiting and hiring, to performance management, to career progression and retention." Those changes are good and should be celebrated, but when it comes to its commitment to boosting diversity numbers within the company, it's a shame Google couldn't be a little more ambitious.Join the conversation about this story » NOW WATCH: We tested a machine that brews beer at the push of a button
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos tells employees to cancel all meetings on Juneteenth: 'Slavery ended a long time ago, but racism didn't' (AMZN)
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos said in a companywide email on Tuesday that he's canceling all of...Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos said in a companywide email on Tuesday that he's canceling all of his meetings on Juneteenth, the day commemorating the end of slavery in the US. Bezos encouraged Amazon employees to do the same to take some time to "reflect, learn, and support each other," according to the email. Amazon is the latest high-profile company to instruct employees to take time off on Juneteenth. Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories. Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos wants employees to use June 19, the day known as Juneteenth commemorating the end of slavery in the US, as a day to "reflect, learn, and support each other," according to an internal email obtained by Business Insider. In the email, Bezos said that he's canceling all of his meetings that day, after having spent a lot of time thinking about the recent events that sparked the current Black Lives Matter movement. Although he didn't call it an official day off for the company, he encouraged all employees to cancel their meetings on Friday too, adding the company is offering online learning opportunities about Juneteenth throughout the day. Amazon's representative wasn't immediately available for comment. Recode's Jason Del Rey first tweeted about the email. Amazon is the latest company to instruct employees to cancel all meetings on Juneteenth. Other high-profile companies like Microsoft, Google, and Nike have made similar arrangements for their employees. The move follows growing calls for support of the Black Lives Movement internally at Amazon. An internal climate activist group encouraged employees to join the protests last week, while a group of employees are also taking steps to add "inclusion" to Amazon's famous leadership principles. Several Amazon executives addressed the issue in internal emails as well. Here's the full email Bezos sent to employees: Over the past few weeks, the [S-team] and I have spent a lot of time listening to customers and employees and thinking about how recent events in our country have laid bare the systemic racism and injustices that oppress Black individuals and communities. This Friday, June 19, is Juneteenth, the oldest-known celebration commemorating the end of slavery in the U.S. I'm cancelling all of my meetings on Friday, and I encourage all of you to do the same if you can. We're providing a range of online learning opportunities for employees throughout the day. Please take some time to reflect, learn, and support each other. Slavery ended a long time ago, but racism didn't. JeffSEE ALSO: In a leaked document, Amazon employees shared stories of racism and gender discrimination while calling for a new leadership principle on 'inclusion' Join the conversation about this story » NOW WATCH: Here's what it's like to travel during the coronavirus outbreak