Employee exodus: Basecamp workers quit after new policy

Staff can get political – just not on internal platforms

Employee exodus: Basecamp workers quit after new policy

A third of the workforce at team collaboration software group Basecamp reportedly accepted the company’s buyout offer in light of a new policy prohibiting political discussions at work. Departing staff included a few key members, such as the heads of marketing, design and customer support.

The wave of buyouts – which was first reported by The Verge – purportedly came in response to the rule, announced by CEO Jason Fried last week, which banned “societal and political discussions on our company Basecamp account”. Fried’s note also reminded employees: “We make project management, team communication, and email software. We are not a social impact company.”

Read more: Talking politics: How to deal with employee conflict

“We don’t have to solve deep social problems, chime in publicly whenever the world requests our opinion on the major issues of the day, or get behind one movement or another with time or treasure. These are all important topics, but they’re not our topics at work – they’re not what we collectively do here.

“Employees are free to take up whatever cause they want, support whatever movements they’d like, and speak out on whatever horrible injustices are being perpetrated on this group or that (and, unfortunately, there are far too many to choose from). But that’s their business, not ours,” he said.

Hours after Fried announced the policy, CTO David Heinemeier Hansson reiterated similar views in his own personal write-up: “Bring all your political advocacy to whatever personal spaces you have. Twitter, Facebook, your local advocacy group, all of it. Just don’t bring it into the internal communication platforms we use for work, unless it directly relates to our business.”

Read more: CEO email-blasts 10M customers to endorse Joe Biden

Last week, Basecamp said it offered team members an option of a severance package “worth up to six months salary for those who’ve been with the company over three years, and three months salary for those at the company less than that,” Heinemeier Hansson said in a separate blog post.

“No hard feelings, no questions asked. For those who cannot see a future at Basecamp under this new direction, we’ll help them in every which way we can to land somewhere else,” the CTO said.

Over the weekend, employees who took the buyout offer announced their departure on Twitter.

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