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The GrubHub CEO Proves That Bullies Exist on Both Sides of the Aisle in This Election...

There's a long history of company executives trying to manipulate the thoughts and actions of their employees.  In the 2008 and 2012 elections, many conservative founders/CEOs made formal email pleas to their employee bases asking them to consider voting against Obama, primarily because the specter of Obamacare was thought to be a poison pill of cost that was going to tie up cash and make it harder to run the businesses in question.

In addition, one of the biggest false positives in hiring is selecting people just like you.

Well, post election 2016, with Donald Trump getting ready to move into the White House, we have the best of both worlds - a liberal CEO who's not only giving his opinion, but asking people who don't agree with him to leave the company.

Because you know, we're best when everyone thinks like we do.

The founder/CEO is Matt Maloney of Grubhub, a company that lists 500-1000 employees on Linkedin and $400 million plus in Revenue in 2016.  You probably heard about his letter last week.  

Here's Maloney's full e-mail to employees, shared via GrubHub press release, so you can judge his intentions for yourself:

SUBJECT: So... that happened... what's next?

I'm still trying to reconcile my own worldview with the overwhelming message that was delivered last night. Clearly there are a lot of people angry and scared as the antithesis of every modern presidential candidate won and will be our next president.

While demeaning, insulting and ridiculing minorities, immigrants and the physically/mentally disabled worked for Mr. Trump, I want to be clear that this behavior - and these views, have no place at Grubhub. Had he worked here, many of his comments would have resulted in his immediate termination. 

We have worked for years cultivating a culture of support and inclusiveness. I firmly believe that we must bring together different perspectives to continue innovating - including all genders, races, ethnicities and sexual, cultural or ideological preferences. We are better, faster and stronger together. 

Further I absolutely reject the nationalist, anti-immigrant and hateful politics of Donald Trump and will work to shield our community from this movement as best as I can. As we all try to understand what this vote means to us, I want to affirm to anyone on our team that is scared or feels personally exposed, that I and everyone else here at Grubhub will fight for your dignity and your right to make a better life for yourself and your family here in the United States. 

If you do not agree with this statement then please reply to this email with your resignation because you have no place here. We do not tolerate hateful attitudes on our team.I want to repeat what Hillary said this morning, that the new administration deserves our open minds and a chance to lead, but never stop believing that the fight for what's right is worth it. 

Stay strong, Matt

If that letter proves anything, it's that bullies exist on both sides of the aisle.  Trump? Bully. Conservative, religious right GOP that got overrun in 2008?  Bullies.  Liberal left leaders who make statements like the one listed above?

Bullies. 

Maloney's statement is just an extension of a problem that led to the biggest upset in election history.  The GOP had a troubled candidate. The Democrats in power as well as many around you were quick to judge anyone who didn't automatically say they were voting for Clinton.

If you're not voting for Clinton you must be a racist, bigot or _____ (fill in the blank).  The same thing was going around back in the glory days of the religious right with a modified narrative.

What can you learn from a leadership perspective from the election and this note? When you're a manager of people at any level, you're there to lead everyone, not just the people who agree with your worldview.

And that usually means more listening than talking.  

Maloney? He's more about talking than leading.  And he just one-upped every conservative founder who directly asked their people to consider who they were voting for as a small business person.  

Most of those people didn't tell employees to leave (although the implication was that Obamacare could cost each company jobs). Maloney did. #weakness

PS - for someone lecturing about inclusion, that's a lot of white people/honkies/Caucasians pictured when Grubhub was listed on the stock market in 2014.  That picture appears below (email subscribers click through for picture - it's worth it).  #thingsthatmakeyougohmmmmm 

Grubhub stock exchange

 

 

Comments

AC

"There are only two things I can't stand in the world. People who are intolerant of other people's cultures.... and the Dutch"

- Nigel Powers

Jules

Kris,

Where in this post did it say that "If you're not voting for Clinton you must be a racist, bigot or _____ (fill in the blank)."?

I thought this memo was to inform a no tolerance for post election bullying. I am going to assume if a Clinton supporter harasses the employee that supporter Trump, they would be equally terminated. There is an uptick in harassment post election if the media is to be believed and I thought that it was a good idea to address this issue heads on then, waiting for someone do something because they lack common sense. I mean, I work in an organization where the majority of the employees are hourly, so I thought it would be wise to head this off, off the bat.

KD

AC - yes.... All of us have some contradictions, right?

Jules - I think it's hard to see that many people wouldn't think that was implied. Part of leadership is thinking beyond the statement your making and it's clear he didn't do that. Note - as I outline in the post, this is just another form of bullying, no different than so many others we've seen. I mention business owners freaked out by Obamacare, but they stopped short of asking someone to reply to resign. Not cool, no matter how much anyone tries to rationalize. Thanks for the note and the challenge to my way of thinking on this - always appreciated and encouraged...

KD

scott

That's not how I read that. I inferred that he was saying that people who didn't have inclusive values were not a fit for GrubHub and should quit. That's kind of the opposite of bullying in my mind.

LouvellaHR

First, can we all agree that this intersection of politics + social responsibility + business + workplace is fascinating?

Second, yes, he crossed the line of allowing his personal beliefs to influence a business and its employees. I wonder if that makes him a bad CEO or a brave one? Hear me out.

In recent years, it's been interesting to see corporations get involved in the fight for human rights. Huge companies with huge workforces took a stand last year against the Indiana anti-LGBT laws. They did the same with North Carolina's HB2. How is this different? (real question)

When I read it, I thought that it was more like a message of empowerment to all of his employees rather than a denunciation of those with a certain political belief. We don't tolerate discrimination in the workplace - he seemed to be just reiterating that (and injecting his own beliefs, I get that).

I do have respect for companies who find productive ways to live their values and unite people to do good. I'm not sure he did that here but I think it'll be interesting to see how all this impacts the business as time goes on.

Helen

It sounds like the CEO was reiterating a run-of-the mill Code of Conduct: "demeaning, insulting and ridiculing minorities, immigrants and the physically/mentally disabled... I want to be clear that this behavior - and these views, have no place at Grubhub."
In this example I only removed the reference to Trump's name and it's essentially a call for respectful and professional behavior.

Matt also focuses on the behavior, not the political views itself: "I want to be clear that this behavior - and these views, have no place at Grubhub."

Finally, Matt spells it out that this isn't about being against Trump himself when he speaks to being inclusive regardless of ideological preferences: "We have worked for years cultivating a culture of support and inclusiveness... including all genders, races, ethnicities and sexual, cultural or ideological preferences."

KD

Helen - respect your opinion and you're always welcome here.

Anyone who sends an email like this calling for resignations in this context? Bully. It's also pretty clearly insinuating that if you voted GOP, you must believe these things, act in that manner and should resign.

No different that when the religious right was exclaiming that if you didn't believe that gay marriage was incredibly wrong, you weren't a republican or a Christian. That was weak too. Also smug and pouty, just like Matt.

KD

KD

LouvellaHR- agreed. It's fascinating. As someone who has been a moderate republican, I agree with everything you said. I think he was doing more than empowering here, though. He's signaling to the people who believe what he believes politically that he's a tough guy and will seek to rid the company of the GOP filth, albeit through the protective lens of inclusion and diversity.

Interesting photo at the bottom in that context, eh? LOL.

KD

Helen

Matt doesn't mention a single political party, all he spoke about was about appropriate behavior in the workplace. (An example of risk management - someone in HR there is doing their job).

Your religious right example doesn't speak to appropriate behavior in the workplace like Matt does so it's not a parallel example.

I was very careful to not post my opinion and stick to the facts, which I did by copying and pasting Matt's words and bringing focus to keywords and phrases.

KD

Helen -

Again, you're always welcome here and glad you're passionate about this. But related to intent/outcomes, you need to read up related to how it has been perceived. Leadership isn't just about what someone meant, it's looking past intent and understanding how words, timing and more are interpreted. He failed in that regard - without question.

KD

Helen

Yep, I am passionate about this subject.

I'm passionate because I don't want anyone out there to fear being labeled a "bully" for explicitly stating that demeaning, insulting or ridiculing behavior towards a coworker isn't acceptable, under any circumstances. I really couldn't care less about the timing of the message because the time is always right for that kind of message. Who cares if ___(think of whoever is the worst person in the world, in your opinion) said this message - how awesome that that awful person at the very least has respect for others.

I appreciate the suggestion that I need to read how this message is being perceived - I read your blog, didn't I? (haha) What's being presented here is the flipside of how this is being message is perceived. Perhaps between these two perceptions, the truth may lie somewhere in the middle.

You are right, a lot of leadership is about perception. It's also about knowing yourself, your values and standing by them when the going gets tough. It's about knowing your employee demographics and addressing employee concerns when their worries could ultimately impact the business. If GrubHub talent responded well to their leader's message, and if that message helped employees get back to work, that may be all that Matt cares about. Talent management is about business at the end of the day.

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