A practice lots of tech employees accept as an office right is, at some business, now at risk of being abandoned.
For years, business big and little have allowed anonymous questions during all-hands conferences, as a way to motivate free-flowing discussion around delicate concerns.
However after a year that included a dissentious election, across the country protests for racial justice and a worldwide pandemic that drove much of business world to remote work, many employers are questioning the practice. Some companies are thinking about eliminating anonymous concerns altogether. Others are screening or modifying potentially offending ones.
As tech companies embark on a new year, advisors state, it is more vital than ever to make workers feel they are heard and to gather sincere bottom-up feedback for management. The finest way to do that is up for debate: Is privacy the most reliable system for employees to air grievances and get answers? Or does it hinder trust and openness? Who benefits when names are– or arent– connected to sensitive concerns and whos at threat of not speaking out at all?
” My individual philosophy would be to get rid of them,” stated Hubert Palan, president of Productboard, a San Francisco-based product-management software application business with about 230 workers. “If someone asks a confidential concern, it doesnt truly seem like transparency,” he said. “Are people scared that if they ask it not-anonymously, it will result in penalties or consequences?”

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