Google has issued new guidelines in a memo for how its roughly 100,000 employees ought to conduct themselves.
According to Washington Post, the company has asked its employees to ‘Keep your heads down and do your job.’ According to the new guidelines, open and free-ranging discussions around politics, news, name-calling, bullying, and other non-related topics have been banned. However, work-related and fact-based conversations, as well as manager-led crackdowns on violative speech or behavior are welcomed.
“Our primary responsibility is to do the work we’ve each been hired to do, not to spend working time on debates about non-work topics,” said the Google memo, posted to its website. “Avoid conversations that are disruptive to the workplace or otherwise violate Google’s workplace policies. Managers are expected to address discussions that violate those rules.”
A company spokeswoman, Jenn Kaiser, said the guidelines were in response to “a year of increased incivility on our internal platforms.”
However, there are concerns that the guidelines could create a divide between employers and employees who have long cherished the devil-may-care attitude of Google’s workplace and the organization’s top management which appears to be looking to instill a more buttoned-up culture.
Recently, the company has been rocked by criticism from the White House over apparent anti-conservative biases and by employees who have openly protested against its handling of sexual harassment claims against executives with a highly visible public profile.
The company is trying to curtail the misuse of online platforms and planning to remove particular discussion forums, revoke commenting, viewing, or posting privileges, or take disciplinary action.
Kaiser shared in media, “Working at Google comes with tremendous responsibility. Billions of people rely on us every day for high-quality, reliable information. It’s critical that we honour that trust and uphold the integrity of our products and services.”