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How to Avoid A "Google Memo"

Posted by Donna Recchione on Aug 21, 2017 12:00:00 PM

In ICS insights

Perhaps by now you've heard or read the news about the now infamously viral Google memo, written by former Google engineer, James Damore. The memo—having also taken on the mantle of "manifesto"—has garnered a broad array of responses.

Some people laud the piece as a testament to candid exploration of the tech workplace and free speech while others feel that it is an indictment of and attack on women in technology.

One large issue for Google is that the memo has put the mammoth search engine in a public relations tailspin. Many people are left to wonder what the corporate culture of the company is really like for all employees. The overriding question may be: Is Google truly a bastion of diversity, or do they merely talk a good game?

Just What Is the Google Memo?

The title of the Google memo is "Google's Ideological Echo Chamber," which Damore wrote and distributed to an internal online discussion group after attending a "private diversity summit."

Not surprisingly, and as so frequently happens in the modern online world where leaks abound, the memo "jumped the fence" and went mainstream for all the world to read.

Damore's memo focused on his belief that men and women have fundamental psychological differences that are due to their underlying biology. According to Damore's piece, these differences make women "differently suited to and interested in the work that is core to Google."

If you didn't catch the subsequent firestorm, you can probably imagine it. Women struggle to make meaningful in-roads in tech roles in tech start-ups around the country and major corporations in the heart of Silicon Valley, only to read what they have long suspected: men feel that their abilities are lacking.

Why Did the Google Memo Happen and Why Is It So Important?

Damore has since stated that he wrote the memo to help the company fix what he believed was a problem and was trying to open a new dialogue, further stating that "I support Google...I don't support anyone who wants to hurt Google."

However, the memo has bred discontent for those he left behind at Google, and with the world at large.

Companies across the U.S. are wondering how to approach their needs for staffing solutions while also keeping an eye toward much-needed diversity in the tech industry.

How Can You Avoid Your Own Google Memo?

The diversity conversation is ongoing in every facet of the business world these days, but it is particularly important in the tech world, according to websites like TechCrunch. How do you avoid such a thing? A few of our favorite approaches include keeping an open pipeline of communication, providing a means for employees to voice concerns in a safe place, and offering a thorough education on your firm's diversity policy. 

Nobody wants their own Google memo, and they certainly don't want one that goes viral. If you are concerned about your employees writing a Google memo or that your staffing could use some work when it comes to diversity, contact our ICS staffing team to help. We proudly stand by a diverse team and have dealt with many companies that feel the same. The talk about diversity doesn't have to be taboo. 

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