Photo by lalo Hernandez on Unsplash

Google is one of the world’s wealthiest companies with a market cap of over $750 billion USD.  While the company is known for its innovative spirit, it still struggles with day to day issues including diversity, inclusion, and human resource execution.

The most recent backlash against the company from a workplace perspective came on November 1st when company employees walked out of the company’s offices around the world “in protest of the search giant’s handling of sexual harassment claims — specifically at the executive level.”  The walkout was coordinated in a response to a New York Times article in which it revealed that “Android creator Andy Rubin was accused by a worker of having coerced her to perform oral sex on him in a hotel room in 2013. Google reportedly found the allegation to be credible. The company then asked for his resignation, gave him an exit package of $90 million, and didn’t mention the misconduct in his departure announcement, according to the Times.”

Ruth Porat, chief financial officer of Alphabet and Google, has tried to put tensions at ease by stating that the company is committed to addressing concerns of inclusion, but it is too early for results to materialize just yet.

In addition to the former misstep, Google, along with Facebook and Twitter, were required to testify “before the Senate over election security, disinformation and the perceived biases of the companies’ algorithms. Larry Page, CEO of Google’s parent company Alphabet, and Pichai, CEO of Google itself, were invited, but both declined, spurring widespread anger from lawmakers.”

Walking the tight rope between public perception and internal perception has been hard for Google, and it is already costing the company revenue.  Last month, Google had to “pull out of bidding for a $10 billion Pentagon contract after employee protests. Google said that the project may conflict with its principles for ethical use of AI.”

How Google responds to the current environment will be key to determining where the company lands in the future.  So far, there is a lot to work on.