More than 70% of employees surveyed in tech do not trust HR, according to a new Blind survey. Only 26% of respondents said they do trust HR, and another 4% said their companies have no HR department. The survey, which Blind conducted through its mobile app, collected responses from more than 11,000 users.
Of the 18 companies that generated the most survey answers, employees at Intel, Amazon and eBay reported the most distrust for their HR representatives. A whopping 83% of Intel employees distrust HR, with Amazon slightly behind them at 79% and eBay in third at 75%.
In a previous poll, Blind found that 42% of users wouldn’t feel comfortable reporting cases of sexual harassment to HR, and 41% have witnessed or experienced retaliation.
When Susan Fowler complained about the sexual harassment and discrimination she experienced at Uber to the company’s HR representatives, the people who were supposed to help her only exacerbated her frustrations, she wrote in a viral blog post last year. Fowler’s story is not unique within the tech sector. Women at Microsoft, for example, filed 238 gender discrimination and sexual harassment complaints in the last six years. Silicon Valley, the epicenter of the technology boom, has generally not been a model to the rest of the work world in its response to and efforts against sexual harassment or discrimination. And as all of those issues revolve around HR, it may not come as a surprise that many tech workers have little faith in the department.
In workplaces where inappropriate behavior continues to elicit poor excuses for discipline, HR leaders may need to step in to reform their departments and turn their organizations around. It’s hard, but it hasn’t proved impossible — Katee Van Horn carved a destination employer for women out of GoDaddy, a company that once boasted a reputation for risqué commercials.
Practically speaking, such a transformation involves quite a few steps. HR can start by addressing workplace culture, a move that will at once clean up the department’s own practices and seek to correct bad behavior around the office. An office cannot, to cite a common example, say it values inclusion and equality if it rarely hires minorities and groups of men exclude their female colleagues on frequent out-of-office outings. “A good culture is absolutely consistent with what it says and does,” Robert Glazer, founder and managing director of digital marketing agency Acceleration Partners, previously told HR Dive.