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."