GM delays return-to-office mandate after employee backlash


General Motors CEO Mary Barra speaks with reporters as she awaits President Joe Biden’s arrival at the media day of the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Michigan, Sept. 14, 2022.

Rebecca Cook | Reuters

DETROIT — General Motors is conducting claims management around its return to office plans after a Friday afternoon notice to employees that had sparked backlash and confusion.

The company’s senior management team said on Friday that company employees must return to physical locations at least three days a week, starting later this year, in what the company called an evolution of current remote work policies.

On Tuesday, a second message brought back that timing, clarifying that the company will not mandate specific days in the office, but will instead leave that decision to individual teams.

“Our plan has always been, and still is, to co-design the solution that best balances the needs of the business with the needs of each of you,” read the memo, signed by CEO Mary Barra and others. executives, a copy of which was viewed by CNBC.

The follow-up message says no employee will have to return to the office until the first quarter of next year.

“While we have maintained a highly collaborative culture in a very challenging time over the past two years, the intangible benefits of face-to-face collaboration will become a critical success factor as we enter a period of rapid launches,” said Tuesday’s message. . “This evolution is about being ready for the next phase of our transformation.”

A GM spokesperson confirmed the message’s authenticity, saying it wanted to “provide more clarity to address some of the questions and concerns we have received”. She said the timing of the return to office has shifted, but “the overall plan hasn’t really changed.”

Both posts are a major change from the automaker’s flexible “work properly” rules, which were announced by Barra and praised by the company in April 2021. GM described it as a flexible, evolving policy that will differ depending on the employee, the week and the project.

GM apologized Tuesday for the timing of the original message and its vagueness. Leaders said the earlier communication was sent after some information about the company’s plan was shared prematurely with some departments.

“We chose to communicate company-wide before we had a chance to collaborate more broadly on the implementation plan. We believe the benefits of being transparent – ​​even with sub-optimal timing and partial detail – outweighed the risk of creating mistrust by letting you hear the information second hand,” reads the Tuesday message.

GM said it will provide more information by the end of next month, as the company plans to “continue to listen to your feedback in the coming weeks so we can incorporate it into our implementation plans.”

The Valley Voice
The Valley Voice
Christopher Brito is a social media producer and trending writer for The Valley Voice, with a focus on sports and stories related to race and culture.


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