A number of controversies have enveloped Google in the past year, including Project Maven and the U.S. military, Project Dragonfly for China, and the handling of sexual harassment. This has impacted Googler confidence in Sundar Pichai and other senior leadership according to a new internal survey.

The annual Googlegeist asks employees a number of questions about management and how they think the company is performing. Results are shared internally, with Bloomberg noting participation by 89% of employees this year.

One yearly question about worker “confidence in Pichai and his management team to effectively lead Google” saw an 18 percentage point decline to 74%. Another asking if the CEO’s vision of the future is inspiring comes in at 78%, down 10 points.

These results are relatively high, but the declines are notably across the spectrum. A question about whether Google has the right priorities is 66% positive from 79% last year, while one relating to fair and equitable compensation dropped 11 points to 59%.

Googlers for the most part have expressed this discontent through protests, with many believing that they can influence change. In fact, 82% said they plan to stay at the company for the next year — down only a point — while 86% said they’d recommend Google as a place to work.

For the most part, employee protest has successfully changed the direction of the company. Project Maven involving machine learning to catalog drone footage was halted, while Google created AI Principles and an internal review structure. Meanwhile, outside pressure and employee protest led to the end of Project Dragonfly.

However, discontent remains with Google’s past handling of sexual harassment by senior executives that received generous exit packages.

Google added new questions to the latest survey, highlighting potential management concerns. Employees were asked if Google responds quickly and consistently to verified cases of proven misconduct. 53 percent responded positively.


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