Google is cutting back on its weekly TGIF all-hands meetings as it reels from unprecedented leaks and unrest

Sundar PichaiREUTERS:Hannibal Hanschke.JPG

  • Google CEO Sundar Pichai told staff that the company's all-hands meetings would become monthly instead of weekly occurrences, according to an email obtained by The Verge.
  • Pichai said the move was in response to a "coordinated effort" to share conversations outside Google as well as a desire to make better use of employees' time.
  • The town-hall style forums have often been cited as an example of Google's transparent company culture.
  • However, recent leaks have prompted Google to crack down on the sharing of information across the company.
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Google CEO Sundar Pichai told employees on Friday that the company plans to cut back on its weekly staff meetings, referred to as TGIFs, according to an email obtained by The Verge.

In the email, Pichai said that Google had seen "a coordinated effort to share our conversations outside of the company after every TGIF." As a result, it will move to monthly all-hands meetings and rethink how they're structured.

The move to curtail the TGIF meetings is a remarkable change to one of the company's most longstanding traditions. Google has been holding the weekly meetings - which actually take place on Thursdays to accommodate staff in other time zones - from its earliest days nearly two decades ago.

The meetings, in which anyone at the company can ask directly ask the CEO and founders a question, have been emulated by other companies including Facebook and Twitter and are now considered a Silicon Valley tradition.

For years, the confidentiality of the discussions at Google's TGIF meetings were sacrosanct among employees. Even with tens of thousands of employees listening to the meetings in real time or through replays, the discussions never leaked, as employees showed their appreciation for management's candor.

That changed in recent years, as employee activism over issues like gender equality, sexual misconduct and military contracts, has caused chaos within the company. Google has experienced an increasingly frequent stream of leaks from employees frustrated over a variety of Google's internal policies, business decisions, and partnerships.

Most recently, Google fired one employee related to media leaks and placed two on leave for allegedly improperly accessing information, and has cut back on information-sharing within the company.

Pichai also cited declining TGIF attendance and employees' differing expectations for the meetings as reasons to scale back. He said Google will still hold regular "Social TGIFs" and will "continue to hold town halls on important workplace issues."

Google declined to comment on this story.

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