Rachel Feintzeig, Charity L. Scott and Sharon Terlep, The Wall Street Journal, February 1, 2020

Chief executives routinely face barbs from investors and the media. Now some are dealing with criticism from a group closer to home: their own staffs.

Two recent workplace sagas—at online luggage seller Away and G/O Media, the publisher of former Gawker Media sites such as Deadspin and Gizmodo—highlight the more outspoken scrutiny that some leaders face from employees. At both companies, disgruntled workers led efforts to pressure their chief executives over behavior or decisions they didn’t like.

The top boss used to be more shielded from in-house criticism. With some exceptions, discontented employees tended to grumble among themselves or at a town hall meeting. They let labor leaders do the toughest talking, usually in pursuit of better wages or job security.

But at a time when digital forums like Slack and others are proliferating, workers aren’t just pressing employers to develop a stronger social conscience. They are taking leaders to task for their management style and, in some cases, calling for their jobs.


Companies are still trying to figure out how to handle crises born out of more openly critical employees, said Davia Temin, CEO of Temin and Co., a New York-based reputation and crisis-management firm.

“This is a new competency,” Ms. Temin said, “and I don’t think that it’s just a normal leadership competency that you learn in business school.” […read more]