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Is this the beginning of the Texas Tech Exodus?

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Good morning! Welcome back to our weekly workplace newsletter where we share the latest tips, tools and insights to help you stay informed about the modern workplace. This week: what Salesforce is doing for Texas employees following Senate Bill 8, why one company is prohibiting Slack, and the diversity deficit.

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The Big Picture

The Texas tech backlash

Earlier this year tech companies, leaders and employees alike fled Silicon Valley for wide open dreams of the Lone Star State. People in the tech industry were lured to Texas by the idea of lower cost of living, no income tax and a vast pool of talent. Now some are considering their exit after the state's governor passed a strict ban on abortion.

The law poses an unfavorable situation for workers and corporations alike. Protocol highlighted the broadness of the new law, which calls for anyone involved (knowingly or unknowingly) with aiding and abetting an abortion after 6 weeks of pregnancy to be sued. Corporations are also having to take on questions of corporate responsibility and what support to provide their Texas-based workers. While some are putting relief funds in place for employees, others are straight up telling workers they'll help them move out of the state.

Salesforce's CEO Marc Benioff has been the most vocal leader in the tech industry thus far. He recently tweeted that the company will help employees leave the state if they wish to do so. The shift in expectations placed upon companies to be more purposeful leads some to believe that more companies will follow with similar moves.

This will become more common, said CB Bhattacharya, a professor in the Katz Graduate School of Business at the University of Pittsburgh, to Protocol. Bhattacharya, who authored the book "Small Actions, Big Difference: Leveraging Corporate Sustainability to Drive Business and Societal Value," focuses on sustainability and social value in business. "If something fundamentally goes against a company's beliefs, then it behooves them to speak out at that point in time and take corrective action. And there's no reason to believe that this is a one-off," he said.

Here's a look at what exactly Salesforce said and what it is doing for affected employees:

  • Marc Beinoff's tweet on Friday, Sept. 10: "Ohana if you want to move we'll help you exit TX. Your choice." Ohana is a Hawaiian term for family.
  • CNBC obtained Slack messages from the company on Friday which communicated to employees, "if you have concerns about access to reproductive healthcare in your state, Salesforce will help relocate you and members of your immediate family."
  • While the company has not released an official statement in opposition to the Texas abortion law, otherwise known as Senate Bill 8, the Salesforce Slack message was reported to also say, "We recognize and respect that we all have deeply held and different perspectives. As a company, we stand with all of our women at Salesforce and everywhere."
  • The company has not responded to Protocol for comment about when relocation efforts will begin and how much money will be offered to employees seeking to move. Salesforce currently has over 1,000 employees based in its Dallas office, according to Dallas News.
  • Why we can expect to see more moves like this in the future: "A business needs to understand that it's not about making money, it's about providing a societal benefit. Business exists to provide societal benefit … that's the only way that business is going to be surviving in the long run," Bhattacharya told Protocol. "I think going forward, we will see more authenticity in business."

What other tech companies are doing instead of leaving the state:

  • Relief funds - Bumble, the privately held dating app, is providing a relief fund for employees seeking care outside of Texas. Match Group has also created a relief fund for its employees.
  • Legal defense funds - Lyft and Uber have both announced that they've created legal defense funds to take care of any drivers sued under the law for aiding and abetting by driving someone to get an abortion.

Work Spot

Meetings optional. An introvert's paradise?

Convictional, an ecommerce software company, is bucking startup culture trends by making meetings optional and forbidding chat tools like Slack for communication. The untraditional move is a productivity play for the 30-person team. The absence of messaging platforms and frequent meetings offers its employees more time to work uninterrupted, Convictional's CEO Roger Kirkness told my colleague Allison Levitsky. The only required meetings are all-hands and weekly one-on-one meetings between employees and managers.

Like many tech companies, Convictional is now fully remote following the pandemic and faced with the challenge of recreating the casual meetings that happen in an office. But it's sticking behind its no-messaging practice in favor of enabling more deep work to be accomplished among engineers, sales and customer service representatives. "Chat message is, like, the enemy of working memory. If you have this problem that you're kind of rotating on, trying to figure out how to solve it, it's extremely harmful to be switching into 'I have this quick question I need to answer,' and then switching back into that work,'" Kirkness told Protocol.

Read the full story here.

Today's Tips & Tool

Productivity & Slack

Productivity and messaging: We do believe that these two things can go together if your company does not have a mandate against chat apps (see above). Setting your status on messaging platforms can better denote when it's ok and when it's off limits to message you. If updating your status is something you often forget, syncing your app with your calendar could save a lot of headaches and notifications. Here's how to sync Slack with your work calendar.

  • Why you would do this: Because your work bestie keeps sending you photos of their dog while you're on very important calls. Syncing your calendar is a way to manage expectations and encourage co-workers to think before sending.
  • How it works: First, pick your poison — install either Outlook Calendar or Google Calendar to your Slack in order to connect the account. At this time, Slack does not connect directly with Apple Calendar (users have to use a connecting app like Kyber to do so). Once installed, open the chosen calendar app inside of Slack. Send it a message as you would any other co-worker and then click the "Connect to the app" button. You will then be led through a series of prompts. Once the account is officially linked, click the "Turn On" button prompt so that it will sync with your Slack status. Now, when your calendar says you're in a meeting a calendar emoji will appear beside your name with the description "In a meeting."
  • Best use case: When you want to kindly tell people to leave you alone without having to lift a finger. Also works well when you want to block off time on your calendar for deep work, as your status will denote that you are busy and likely slow to respond.

A MESSAGE FROM ZOOM

Zoom is for you. From meetings, chat, phone, and webinars to conference rooms and events, Zoom powers all your communication needs. Zoom for Government, our separate, U.S.-based platform, offers the same Zoom experience but with the specialized security controls and certifications required by the U.S. government.

Learn more

Making Moves

  • Amazon hired Candi Castleberry Singleton as its new vice president of global diversity, equity and inclusion. Castleberry Singleton was a vice president at Twitter.
  • Activision Blizzard, Inc. hired Julie Hodges as chief people officer. Formerly, Hodges was the senior vice president of corporate HR and compensation, benefits and talent acquisition at The Walt Disney Company.
  • HR Acuity hired Rebecca Trotsky as VP of talent and employee relations strategy. Prior, Trotsky was the VP of talent development at Krispy Kreme.
  • Ecommerce fulfillment platform ShipBob hired Andy Pittman as the VP of global talent acquisition and onboarding. Prior, Pittman was the VP of talent strategy at Mailchimp.

By The Numbers

Workplace diversity deficit

Wiley's Diversity in Tech: 2021 U.S. Report released in August found that the diversity deficit in the tech industry persists.

  • Wiley's survey of over 2,000 early career tech workers and 270 business leaders found 70% of U.S. businesses "identify a lack of diversity in their workforces."
  • Also, nearly 70% of young tech workers "feel a lack of inclusion and belonging in their company's culture."
  • While a strong majority of companies recognize there is a lack of diversity in the tech industry, only 46% of those surveyed said they're actively working to address the issue within tech teams.
  • According to Todd Zipper, president of Wiley Education Services, U.S. companies are collectively spending about $8 billion a year on DEI training.

A MESSAGE FROM ZOOM

Zoom is for you. From meetings, chat, phone, and webinars to conference rooms and events, Zoom powers all your communication needs. Zoom for Government, our separate, U.S.-based platform, offers the same Zoom experience but with the specialized security controls and certifications required by the U.S. government.

Learn more

Around The Internet

A roundup of workplace news from the farthest corners of the internet.

Thoughts, questions, tips? Send them to workplace@protocol.com. Have a great day, see you next week.

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