Technology

The 13 questions Google asks about its managers when it gathers employee feedback

If you internalize any management advice, may it be this: Ask for and give regular feedback.

Countless studies have proven that frequent, specific feedback (be it critique or constructive praise) increases employee satisfaction, engagement, and performance, while fostering a culture of psychological safety organization-wide.

However, more often than not, workplace feedback only comes from the top-down. This can breed resentment and frustration among underlings, while handicapping leaders from learning invaluable development lessons themselves.

To ensure managers are learning from their teams, Google asks employees to fill out a 13-question manager feedback survey (on a Google form, naturally) on a semi-annual basis. The responses are recorded confidentially, and managers receive a report of anonymized, aggregated feedback, plus verbatim answers to two open-ended questions at the end of the form.

“The feedback a manager gets through this survey is purely developmental,” Google says. “It isn’t directly considered in performance or compensation reviews, in the hope that Googlers will be honest and constructive with their feedback.”

The first 11 questions ask employees to rate whether they agree or disagree with statements about their manager using a five-point Likert scale (from “strongly agree” to “strongly disagree”). Google says that each statement is based on one of the eight behaviors of successful managers at their company:

  1. My manager gives me actionable feedback that helps me improve my performance.
  2. My manager does not “micromanage” (i.e., get involved in details that should be handled at other levels).
  3. My manager shows consideration for me as a person.
  4. The actions of my manager show that he/she values the perspective I bring to the team, even if it is different from his/her own.
  5. My manager keeps the team focused on our priority results/deliverables.
  6. My manager regularly shares relevant information from his/her manager and senior leaders.
  7. My manager has had a meaningful discussion with me about career development in the past six months.
  8. My manager communicates clear goals for our team.
  9. My manager has the technical expertise (e.g., coding in Tech, selling in Global Business, accounting in Finance) required to effectively manage me.
  10. I would recommend my manager to other Googlers.
  11. I am satisfied with my manager’s overall performance as a manager.

The final two questions are open-ended:

  1. What would you recommend your manager keep doing?
  2. What would you have your manager change?

Google recently made the feedback survey public. It shared the complete form, along a number of other tools used to train and support managers, on its re:Work blog.

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Google is sharing its management tools with the world

Google logo on building.

Speaking at his alma mater in January, Sundar Pichai, Google’s low-profile CEO, revealed his key to effective management: “Let others succeed.”

Enacting Pichai’s advice is easier said than done. But Google is sharing some tools that might help. Its Re:Work blog is offering a series of instructive documents used by managers at Google. They cover everything from feedback and career development to setting agendas for one-on-ones, and codify the insights Google gleaned from spending years analyzing reviews and other observable data at the company to determine essential leadership traits.

Here’s an overview of what’s available. Each section header below has the link to the corresponding documentation from Google.

Manager feedback survey

Googlers evaluate their managers on a semi-annual basis with a 13-question survey. The first 11 measure whether employees agree or disagree with statements like “My manager shows consideration for me as a person.” The final two questions (“What would you recommend your manager keep doing?” and “What would you have your manager change?”) are open-ended.

At Google, these survey responses are reported confidentially, and managers receive a report of anonymized, aggregated feedback, plus verbatim answers to the two open-ended questions. “The feedback a manager gets through this survey is purely developmental,” Google says. “It isn’t directly considered in performance or compensation reviews, in the hope that Googlers will be honest and constructive with their feedback.”

Career conversations worksheet

Google’s management analysis reveals that above all, employees value knowing that their manager is invested in their personal success and career development. To help managers effectively discuss development with their direct reports, Google uses the GROW model—which organizes the conversation into four recommended sections:

  • Goal: What do you want? Establish what the team member really wants to achieve with their career.
  • Reality: What’s happening now? Establish the team member’s understanding of their current role and skills.
  • Options: What could you do? Generate multiple options for closing the gap from goal to reality.
  • Will: What will you do? Identify achievable steps to move from reality to goal.

“One Simple Thing” worksheet

To encourage personal well-being and work-life balance, Google uses the popular goal-setting practice “One Simple Thing.” The goal should be specific enough to measure its impact on one’s well-being. “Managers can encourage team members to explain how pursuing this one thing won’t negatively affect their work,” Google explains. “That goal then becomes part of a team member’s set of goals that managers should hold them accountable for, along with whatever work-related goals they already have.”

Some examples of “One Simple Thing” goals include “I will take a one hour break three times a week to work out,” and “I will not read emails on the weekends.”

1:1 Meeting agenda template

At Google, the highest-rated managers hold frequent one-on-one meetings with their direct reports. However, as most leaders know, individual check-ins can often feel rushed and disorganized. To squeeze the most out of each one-on-one (which Google managers are advised to hold every week or two) Googlers set up a shared meeting agenda ahead of time—which both the manager and the report should contribute to.

Some agenda items Google suggests include:

  • Check-in and catch-up questions: “What can I help you with?” and “What have you been up to?”
  • Roadblocks or issues
  • Goal updates
  • Administrative topics (e.g., upcoming vacations, expense reports)
  • Next steps to confirm actions and agreements
  • Career development and coaching

New manager training course materials

As Google explains, “These course materials were originally designed for Google managers to help them transition from individual contributor roles to manager roles.” As anyone who has done this can attest, conducting the transition gracefully requires a bit of perspective shifting, and more than a little awareness building.

The course materials include a facilitator guide (to help whoever is training the new managers), a new manager student workbook (including interactive exercises), and the presentation slides that Google trainers use internally.

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Mark Zuckerberg’s own paternity-leave plans are a step toward a more fair workplace

As he did after the birth of his first child in 2015, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is taking two months’ paternity leave from the company when his second daughter arrives. This time, Zuckerberg will break up the leave, spending one month at home with his children and wife Priscilla Chan right after the baby’s birth and taking the rest of the leave in December.

Zuckerberg is using only half of the four months of paid parental leave that Facebook allots male and female employees. It’s still far more time than the typical father takes off work for the birth of a child in the US, where only 15% of companies in a national survey last year offered paid paternity leave.

The lack of paid leave for men hurts parents who want to share the experience of caring for their babies, and contributes to the persistent lag in women’s wages and workforce participation. Fully paid paternity leave is key to breaking a vicious cycle in which employers pay women less and bypass them for promotions in anticipation that they’ll take time off to raise children, making the lower-earning female partner the natural choice to take unpaid or partially paid leave that’s ostensibly offered to both parents.

As Quartz’s Gwynn Guilford pointed out in a 2014 analysis of parental leave policies in Sweden and Japan, the more parental leave men take, the sooner women go back to work. A 2010 study in Sweden found that a woman’s future earnings rose 7% for every month her partner took under the country’s paid parental leave system, which incentivizes both parents to take time off. Sweden has one of the world’s highest rates of working women, and a nearly non-existent wage gap.

But it’s not enough for companies to offer paternity leave. Men have to actually take it, and this is where Zuckerberg’s decision to make his family plans public is significant. In a 2014 survey by the Working Mother Research Institute, men reported a significant gap between the availability of family-friendly, flexible working policies and the degree to which they were encouraged to take them. Those who did feel supported by their employers reported more satisfaction with the company, their careers, and their home lives.

“At Facebook, we offer four months of maternity and paternity leave because studies show that when working parents take time to be with their newborns, it’s good for the entire family,” Zuckerberg wrote in a Facebook post. “And I’m pretty sure the office will still be standing when I get back.”

Meanwhile, there’s no better way to encourage employee behavior than to lead by example.

 


Read next: A year after the UK created near-equal parental leave, women still do almost all the parenting

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A timeline of Vishal Sikka at Infosys: From high-profile outsider to dejected leader

India-Infosys-Vishal Sikka-Infosys-Narayana Murthy

Vishal Sikka, the first non-founder managing director & CEO of the Indian software major Infosys has resigned.

Three years after he took charge at the $10 billion IT behemoth, Sikka has finally quit following several months of discord with the company’s founders, including NR Narayana Murthy.

“Over the last many months and quarters, we have all been besieged by false, baseless, malicious, and increasingly personal attacks,” Sikka said in his resignation letter. “Allegations that have been repeatedly proven false and baseless by multiple, independent investigations. But despite this, the attacks continue, and worse still, amplified by the very people from whom we all expected the most steadfast support in this great transformation.”

Here is a timeline of Sikka’s troubled tenure at Infosys.

June 2014: Infosys announces the appointment of Vishal Sikka as its first non-founding CEO & managing director since the company’s inception over three decades ago. “Vishal brings valuable experience as a leader of a large, global corporation. His illustrious track record and value system make him an ideal choice to lead Infosys,” Infosys chairman NR Narayana Murthy says. Between 2013 and 2014, the firm had seen at least 13 top-level exits.

Aug. 2014: A week into his new job, Sikka promotes over 5,000 employees, in an attempt to retain staff at the Bengaluru-based company.

Oct. 2014: Murthy resigns as Infosys chairman. “We will focus heavily on growth, and for that we need the benefit of our cash reserves,” Sikka says in an interview (paywall) to Financial Times. “My plan will not be to what happened with earlier generations of low-grade software, of just always cutting costs, which is just a downward spiral. This is about renewing ourselves into a next generation services company.”

Dec. 2014: Sikka gifts iPhone 6s to 3,000 top performers. “Everyone around you looks up to you and it is this approach to work that will help us evolve into the next-generation IT services company that we aspire to be—with you at the heart and centre of it,” he tells employees in an email.

Feb. 2015: Infosys’s financials begin to improve. The company beats market estimates for the October-December quarter, declaring a 13% year-on-year growth in net profit and 26.7% rise in operating margins. It also announces a 7-9% growth forecast for sales for the year ending March 2015. The company acquires Israel-based software services company Panaya for $200 million. “The acquisition…will help amplify the potential of our people, freeing us from the drudgery of many repetitive tasks, so we may focus more on the important, strategic challenges faced by our clients,” Sikka says.

April 2015: The company announces the acquisition of e-commerce services provider Skava for $120 million. “The acquisition of Skava is part of Infosys’s strategy to help clients bring new digital experiences to their customers through IP-led technology offerings, new automation tools and unparalleled skill and expertise in these new emerging areas,” Infosys says in a statement. Sikka announces his “vision 2020,” targets $20 billion revenue for Infosys by the year 2020.

June 2015: On June 01, the company decides to allow all employees to wear denims and casual clothes to work throughout the week. While this may be normal for several technology companies in the US and elsewhere, it is a first for the more traditional Indian IT services sector. R Seshasayee, vice-chairman at truck & bus maker Ashok Leyland, appointed new non-executive chairman.

Oct. 2015: Rajiv Bansal, CFO, resigns. “I lived my dream at Infosys,” Bansal says in a letter. “There are very exciting opportunities in the world. I want to do something more exciting, more challenging, something where I can add more value. Looking forward to the next stage of my life.” He joins cab aggregator Ola as CFO in December.

Feb. 2016: The Infosys board raises Sikka’s compensation by 55% to $11 million. A few months later, only around 23.57% of promoter votes are cast in favour of a resolution reappointing Sikka as CEO. He was appointed CEO in 2014 for a five-year term. “I am not disappointed. I don’t care. I have 100% backing of the board and support from the shareholders,” Sikka says. “I still respect the founders. Why they did this, you should ask them.”

May 2016: Proxy advisory firms and analysts question the Rs23.02 crore severance pay, salary, and other benefits paid to Bansal.

Sept. 2016: Infosys stops paying the balance of Rs17.38 crore Bansal was to receive, as some of the company’s founders express their displeasure.

Nov. 2016: In a newspaper interview, Sikka says his job has affected his physical well-being. “My health has suffered for sure. It is a very complex transformation we are doing (at Infosys), far more complex than people understand,” Sikka says.

Dec. 2016: The founders, including Murthy, SD Shibulal, and Kris Gopalakrishnan meet V Seshasayee and Vishal Sikka, expressing their unhappiness with Seshasayee, citing corporate governance issues.

Feb. 2017: In a scathing interview Murthy questions the corporate governance practice at Infosys. “We have seen a concerning drop in governance standards at Infosys. Let me illustrate this with just one example. Providing huge severance pay (with 100% variable) to some departing employees while giving only 80% variable for employees in the company is one such example. Such payments raise doubts whether the company is using such payments as hush money to hide something,” he says.

Soon after, Seshasayee says says there is no conflict of interest between the founders and the board. Sikka says the talk about corporate governance was “distracting” and that he has good relations with the founders, including Murthy.

Shortly, an anonymous letter is sent to the Securities and Exchange Board of India and the US Securities and Exchange Commission alleging that the Panaya acquisition was overvalued. It is possible that some Infosys executives had benefited from the deal, the letter claims. Reports also emerge that former CFO Bansal wasn’t in favour of the deal.

June 2017: Infosys scraps Sikka’s target of $20 billion revenue by 2020. Reports emerge that the founders were planning to sell their stakes. “We would like clarify the reports in the media speculating on the plans of stake sale by the promoters. This speculation has already been categorically denied by the promoters,” an Infosys spokesperson says in a statement.

Meanwhile, two independent firms appointed by Infosys clear the company of all charges of financial impropriety in the Panaya and Skava deal. “We found no evidence whatsoever to support any of the new allegations in the complaints regarding wrongdoing by the company or its directors and employees, and those allegations were rebutted by substantial and credible evidence,” Gibson Dunn & Crutcher, a US-based law firm, says.

July 2017: Ritika Suri, an executive vice-president at Infosys, who was in charge of large deals and led the Panaya acquisition, resigns.

Aug. 2017: Infosys declines a request from Murthy to make public the report of Gibson Dunn & Crutcher.

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Jeremy WebbA timeline of Vishal Sikka at Infosys: From high-profile outsider to dejected leader
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A timeline of Vishal Sikka at Infosys: From high-profile outsider to dejected leader

India-Infosys-Vishal Sikka-Infosys-Narayana Murthy

Vishal Sikka, the first non-founder managing director & CEO of the Indian software major Infosys has resigned.

Three years after he took charge at the $10 billion IT behemoth, Sikka has finally quit following several months of discord with the company’s founders, including NR Narayana Murthy.

“Over the last many months and quarters, we have all been besieged by false, baseless, malicious, and increasingly personal attacks,” Sikka said in his resignation letter. “Allegations that have been repeatedly proven false and baseless by multiple, independent investigations. But despite this, the attacks continue, and worse still, amplified by the very people from whom we all expected the most steadfast support in this great transformation.”

Here is a timeline of Sikka’s troubled tenure at Infosys.

June 2014: Infosys announces the appointment of Vishal Sikka as its first non-founding CEO & managing director since the company’s inception over three decades ago. “Vishal brings valuable experience as a leader of a large, global corporation. His illustrious track record and value system make him an ideal choice to lead Infosys,” Infosys chairman NR Narayana Murthy says. Between 2013 and 2014, the firm had seen at least 13 top-level exits.

Aug. 2014: A week into his new job, Sikka promotes over 5,000 employees, in an attempt to retain staff at the Bengaluru-based company.

Oct. 2014: Murthy resigns as Infosys chairman. “We will focus heavily on growth, and for that we need the benefit of our cash reserves,” Sikka says in an interview (paywall) to Financial Times. “My plan will not be to what happened with earlier generations of low-grade software, of just always cutting costs, which is just a downward spiral. This is about renewing ourselves into a next generation services company.”

Dec. 2014: Sikka gifts iPhone 6s to 3,000 top performers. “Everyone around you looks up to you and it is this approach to work that will help us evolve into the next-generation IT services company that we aspire to be—with you at the heart and centre of it,” he tells employees in an email.

Feb. 2015: Infosys’s financials begin to improve. The company beats market estimates for the October-December quarter, declaring a 13% year-on-year growth in net profit and 26.7% rise in operating margins. It also announces a 7-9% growth forecast for sales for the year ending March 2015. The company acquires Israel-based software services company Panaya for $200 million. “The acquisition…will help amplify the potential of our people, freeing us from the drudgery of many repetitive tasks, so we may focus more on the important, strategic challenges faced by our clients,” Sikka says.

April 2015: The company announces the acquisition of e-commerce services provider Skava for $120 million. “The acquisition of Skava is part of Infosys’s strategy to help clients bring new digital experiences to their customers through IP-led technology offerings, new automation tools and unparalleled skill and expertise in these new emerging areas,” Infosys says in a statement. Sikka announces his “vision 2020,” targets $20 billion revenue for Infosys by the year 2020.

June 2015: On June 01, the company decides to allow all employees to wear denims and casual clothes to work throughout the week. While this may be normal for several technology companies in the US and elsewhere, it is a first for the more traditional Indian IT services sector. R Seshasayee, vice-chairman at truck & bus maker Ashok Leyland, appointed new non-executive chairman.

Oct. 2015: Rajiv Bansal, CFO, resigns. “I lived my dream at Infosys,” Bansal says in a letter. “There are very exciting opportunities in the world. I want to do something more exciting, more challenging, something where I can add more value. Looking forward to the next stage of my life.” He joins cab aggregator Ola as CFO in December.

Feb. 2016: The Infosys board raises Sikka’s compensation by 55% to $11 million. A few months later, only around 23.57% of promoter votes are cast in favour of a resolution reappointing Sikka as CEO. He was appointed CEO in 2014 for a five-year term. “I am not disappointed. I don’t care. I have 100% backing of the board and support from the shareholders,” Sikka says. “I still respect the founders. Why they did this, you should ask them.”

May 2016: Proxy advisory firms and analysts question the Rs23.02 crore severance pay, salary, and other benefits paid to Bansal.

Sept. 2016: Infosys stops paying the balance of Rs17.38 crore Bansal was to receive, as some of the company’s founders express their displeasure.

Nov. 2016: In a newspaper interview, Sikka says his job has affected his physical well-being. “My health has suffered for sure. It is a very complex transformation we are doing (at Infosys), far more complex than people understand,” Sikka says.

Dec. 2016: The founders, including Murthy, SD Shibulal, and Kris Gopalakrishnan meet V Seshasayee and Vishal Sikka, expressing their unhappiness with Seshasayee, citing corporate governance issues.

Feb. 2017: In a scathing interview Murthy questions the corporate governance practice at Infosys. “We have seen a concerning drop in governance standards at Infosys. Let me illustrate this with just one example. Providing huge severance pay (with 100% variable) to some departing employees while giving only 80% variable for employees in the company is one such example. Such payments raise doubts whether the company is using such payments as hush money to hide something,” he says.

Soon after, Seshasayee says says there is no conflict of interest between the founders and the board. Sikka says the talk about corporate governance was “distracting” and that he has good relations with the founders, including Murthy.

Shortly, an anonymous letter is sent to the Securities and Exchange Board of India and the US Securities and Exchange Commission alleging that the Panaya acquisition was overvalued. It is possible that some Infosys executives had benefited from the deal, the letter claims. Reports also emerge that former CFO Bansal wasn’t in favour of the deal.

June 2017: Infosys scraps Sikka’s target of $20 billion revenue by 2020. Reports emerge that the founders were planning to sell their stakes. “We would like clarify the reports in the media speculating on the plans of stake sale by the promoters. This speculation has already been categorically denied by the promoters,” an Infosys spokesperson says in a statement.

Meanwhile, two independent firms appointed by Infosys clear the company of all charges of financial impropriety in the Panaya and Skava deal. “We found no evidence whatsoever to support any of the new allegations in the complaints regarding wrongdoing by the company or its directors and employees, and those allegations were rebutted by substantial and credible evidence,” Gibson Dunn & Crutcher, a US-based law firm, says.

July 2017: Ritika Suri, an executive vice-president at Infosys, who was in charge of large deals and led the Panaya acquisition, resigns.

Aug. 2017: Infosys declines a request from Murthy to make public the report of Gibson Dunn & Crutcher.

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Microsoft wants to end the tyranny of lawyers billing by the hour

Microsoft wants a new way to pay its legal bills

If you’re a lawyer, or if you’re ever spent more than 10 minutes talking to one, you know all about the misery of hourly billing.

Under a typical agreement, attorneys bill clients for all the time spent on their case. Writing letters, looking up precedents, deposing witnesses, making phone calls—the meter is always running, and clients can expect to see it all in the bill at the end.

But hourly billing is actually a misnomer. Because many tasks take less time than that, firms often require attorneys to bill in six-minute increments. Lawyers hate the system, because they have to account for every six-minute block of their time. Clients hate it, too, because every task, no matter how short, is rounded up to six minutes, inflating the cost. (At a $1000-per-hour firm, sending a 30-second text can cost a client $100.) And though firms can profit from it, the system invites extra squabbles with clients over billing, which can quickly sour relationships.

Now, one of the biggest US corporations wants to shake up how it pays its legal bills. Microsoft, which spends hundreds of millions of dollars on litigation annually, plans to eliminate hourly billing for most of its legals needs. The software giant plans to have 90% of its legal needs handled on a retainer basis or other alternatives to hourly billing, within two years, the New York Times reported (paywall). That could portend a major shift for law firms, which currently bill about 16% of their revenue through alternatives to billable hours, like flat rates per project.

The hope at Microsoft is that the new billing methods will encourage more collaboration between the company and its outside legal advisors. “We want to create a situation that encourages our lawyers to be able to pick up the phone—without going through bureaucracy or worry about how to pay for it—and talk to the law firm about whatever is needed,” David Howard, Microsoft’s deputy general counsel, told the Times.

Fourteen firms that work for Microsoft—including K&L Gates, named in part after former partner William Gates, father of Microsoft’s co-founder—have agreed to the change.

Now if only plumbers and auto mechanics would try something similar.

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Battling job loss and irrelevance, wrecked Indian techies are seeking emotional help online

India Scarce Workers

Indian techies are living through a nightmare and desperately seeking mental and emotional support—online.

India’s $150 billion IT sector, which directly and indirectly employs around 10 million people, is in hot water. Once a prized area of employment, it now faces multiple challenges: shrinking international markets, dramatically changing job profiles, and massive cost-cutting. The result is an expected bloodbath.

And all this is wreaking mental and emotional havoc among employees. Adding to the woes are the lack of a support system and the stigma attached to mental healthcare. So the traumatised ones are increasingly turning to online counsellors.

An acute cash crunch, heightened anxiety, worsening depression, low self-esteem, and lack of motivation are only some of the problems the besieged employees are haunted by, according to YourDost, one such counseling service.

Over the past few days, YourDost opened up a hotline for those who had recently lost their jobs or who fear being laid off. Between June 29 and July 01, the platform logged over 260 phone calls and around 800 chats. The biggest share of these, 43%, came from the IT industry.

According to the startup’s records, 57% of the callers did not seek any support from friends, family, or professionals before reaching out via the hotline.

“They did not want to be tagged as ‘mad,’” YourDost co-founder Puneet Manuja told Quartz. “Culturally, we’re not very open to sharing our vulnerabilities.” However, the anonymity offered online, where professional counselors speak to people hiding behind self-selected usernames, makes people comfortable.

The anonymity is particularly helpful to men—of all those who called YourDost, 67% were male. Elaborating on this, Manuja said, “The macho mard ko dard nahi hota (a man doesn’t feel pain) attitude associated with us stops us from expressing ourselves, seeking support. In this medium, we can seek help without hurting that image.”

Over 42% of the calls received came from small cities like Alwar in Rajasthan, and Muzzafarnagar and Kanpur in Uttar Pradesh, indicating that the problem goes beyond the tech sector or the big cities. India may be the world’s fastest-growing major economy, but there is no respite yet from joblessness.

Given the gravity of the situation, Indians will need all the help and support they can get. However, there are only 3,800 psychiatrists, 898 clinical psychologists, and 1,500 psychiatric nurses to look after a country of 1.3 billion people.

Two-and-a-half-year-old YourDost and a handful of others such as Gurugram-based ePsyclinic, Mumbai-based InnerHouse, and Bengaluru’s Seraniti are plugging that huge gap.

And it couldn’t have been more timely for the hapless Indian employee.

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Jeremy WebbBattling job loss and irrelevance, wrecked Indian techies are seeking emotional help online
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Battling job loss and irrelevance, wrecked Indian techies are seeking emotional help online

India Scarce Workers

Indian techies are living through a nightmare and desperately seeking mental and emotional support—online.

India’s $150 billion IT sector, which directly and indirectly employs around 10 million people, is in hot water. Once a prized area of employment, it now faces multiple challenges: shrinking international markets, dramatically changing job profiles, and massive cost-cutting. The result is an expected bloodbath.

And all this is wreaking mental and emotional havoc among employees. Adding to the woes are the lack of a support system and the stigma attached to mental healthcare. So the traumatised ones are increasingly turning to online counsellors.

An acute cash crunch, heightened anxiety, worsening depression, low self-esteem, and lack of motivation are only some of the problems the besieged employees are haunted by, according to YourDost, one such counseling service.

Over the past few days, YourDost opened up a hotline for those who had recently lost their jobs or who fear being laid off. Between June 29 and July 01, the platform logged over 260 phone calls and around 800 chats. The biggest share of these, 43%, came from the IT industry.

According to the startup’s records, 57% of the callers did not seek any support from friends, family, or professionals before reaching out via the hotline.

“They did not want to be tagged as ‘mad,’” YourDost co-founder Puneet Manuja told Quartz. “Culturally, we’re not very open to sharing our vulnerabilities.” However, the anonymity offered online, where professional counselors speak to people hiding behind self-selected usernames, makes people comfortable.

The anonymity is particularly helpful to men—of all those who called YourDost, 67% were male. Elaborating on this, Manuja said, “The macho mard ko dard nahi hota (a man doesn’t feel pain) attitude associated with us stops us from expressing ourselves, seeking support. In this medium, we can seek help without hurting that image.”

Over 42% of the calls received came from small cities like Alwar in Rajasthan, and Muzzafarnagar and Kanpur in Uttar Pradesh, indicating that the problem goes beyond the tech sector or the big cities. India may be the world’s fastest-growing major economy, but there is no respite yet from joblessness.

Given the gravity of the situation, Indians will need all the help and support they can get. However, there are only 3,800 psychiatrists, 898 clinical psychologists, and 1,500 psychiatric nurses to look after a country of 1.3 billion people.

Two-and-a-half-year-old YourDost and a handful of others such as Gurugram-based ePsyclinic, Mumbai-based InnerHouse, and Bengaluru’s Seraniti are plugging that huge gap.

And it couldn’t have been more timely for the hapless Indian employee.

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Ousted Uber CEO Travis Kalanick is on the committee desperately seeking his replacement

Uber CEO Travis Kalanick smiles as he addresses a gathering during a conference.

It’s not all that unusual for CEOs to set up, or even judge, the competition for his or her replacement. General Electric, for instance, has long had a detailed, orderly process (pdf) for finding its next leader.

But it is a bit odd for a CEO to be deeply involved in the succession process when he’s already been thrown out of his job.

Travis Kalanick, who was ousted from Uber on June 20, is a member of the search committee looking for a new CEO. And as The Wall Street Journal recounts, the search isn’t going so well. Several candidates have already dropped out of the running including Meg Whitman, the CEO of Hewlett Packard Enterprises (HPE) and former CEO of eBay.

While some think Whitman would have been a great choice—at 60 she is young enough to take on a new challenge and she clearly has technology chops—sources suggested to the Journal that Whitman didn’t have the support of board member Arianna Huffington, who is Kalanick’s closest ally on the board and is said to want a leader more like him.

Uber wants to find a new CEO by Labor Day, a short timeline even without the complication of having a failed CEO on the search committee trying to secure his replacement. CEO searches typically take at least six months and often take longer than that.

The Journal reports that Kalanick, before his ouster, was troublesome in the search for a chief operating officer to work with him, rejecting several candidates before the search was suspended in the wake of his ouster. There’s no reason to believe he’ll be any more helpful in finding the person who will replace him.

Indeed, Kalanick is said to be consolidating power so he can retake an operating role—even that of CEO, the New York Times reported. (paywall)

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LinkedIn data can predict how likely you are to quit, and it’s being sued to keep it public

LinkedIn is in a squabble with hiQ labs over its data.

LinkedIn has 500 million profiles online, an extraordinary wealth of information about the education and career paths of nearly 7% of all of humanity—and an absolute treasure trove for companies that build recruitment and human resources software. One of them is hiQ Labs, a startup that scrapes LinkedIn data to build an algorithm to predict whether employees will quit.

HiQ relies on the small portion of Linked profiles that are publicly available, and sells its products to employers looking to precent their best workers from jumping ship. It’s suing LinkedIn—now a unit of Microsoft—to ensure it keeps access to the data, a preemptive strike after LinkedIn sent hiQ a cease-and desist letter in May, according to the Wall Street Journal (paywall).

LinkedIn says its data is proprietary, and says that hiQ violates hacking statutes by scraping its data. HiQ says LinkedIn is stretching the definition of the law, and is asking a federal judge to declare it has acted legally.

LinkedIn argues hiQ is violating the trust LinkedIn users place in the site. HiQ’s algorithm scours LinkedIn pages for profiles that have recently been updated, a sign that the person behind the profile may be looking for a new gig. “If LinkedIn members knew that hiQ was accessing and collecting their data in this manner, many would not update their profiles,” LinkedIn told the courts, according to the Journal

In an email to Quartz, hiQ CEO Mark Weidick said LinkedIn is trying to muscle into its business:

I’m a huge fan of the idea behind LinkedIn and always have been. I’ve been found, and found people, through the information we all choose to make public on LinkedIn. We understand LinkedIn wants to get into our business, and that’s fine. But LinkedIn is trying to illegally force out a smaller competitor so that they can have the business for themselves, plain and simple.

As social media sites like LinkedIn and Facebook grow to gargantuan size, they’re attracting smaller companies that feed off them, like the remora that cling to the bellies of a great white shark. Often the parasite goes unnoticed, until it makes a pest of itself.

LinkedIn is in the odd position of arguing that web pages available to the public are not, in fact, public after a third party has figured out how to make money off them. It’s not unlike when Major League Baseball tried to declare that the statistics its players generated were its intellectual property, only after fantasy sports sites began to cash in on them.

In this case, it appears hiQ has discovered a useful application for LinkedIn’s data, but its scope is limited by having access to only 175,000 profiles. Given LinkedIn’s push into selling human-resource services to corporations, providing insight into the plans of employees is a smart business. Perhaps the solution is striking a deal with hiQ to give it access to the rest of the data for a fee, or perhaps LinkedIn should just buy it outright.

 


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Jeremy WebbLinkedIn data can predict how likely you are to quit, and it’s being sued to keep it public
read more