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Lyft head of engineering extols employees to engage in open communication

lyft, lyft autonomous
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Recognizing the importance of communication, Lyft’s head of engineering Jill Wetzler has asked employees to reach out to her in a letter that appeared to be strangely emotional (In a good way!) considering that it was coming from the top executive of a significant company.

We have countless examples to remind us that communication during workplace, and more importantly, communication that flows both way, is important. Unless feedback reaches those at the top and succor reaches those at varying rungs of the corporate ladder, a company won’t be the well-oiled machine, a single unit in effect, that it should ideally be. Corporate culture has been thrown into disrepute lately what with allegations of harassment and a lack of communication between different levels.

Wetzler’s letter appeared to reach out directly to those, who could have been affected by some sort of issue at the workplace and has been unable to come clean about it. The letter made its way to Lyft employees via the anonymous chatting app Blind.

Here is a copy of the letter, as obtained by TechCrunch:

To those who are either posting or lurking here: I want to offer up my availability to chat freely.

I struggle with my own work/life balance, anxiety around compensation, and the conflict between feeling grateful for the many privileges I have while still wanting better from my peers, my company, and my industry. I often feel really energized by our company mission and the amazing people here, and yet like most women my age I daydream about when I’ll leave tech.

One thing I want for Lyft (and any company I work for) is for us to iterate and improve. I want transparency in communication, both from our leadership and from our individual contributors. This is not to say I begrudge anyone posting on Blind. But I also want you to know I’ll talk to anyone about anything without judgment. I can’t always promise change but can at least ensure you’re heard.

If you want to take me up on it, send me an email or Slack DM and we’ll grab 30 minutes. I can promise you whatever level of anonymity you want, as long as it’s not something I’m required to escalate (harassment, discrimination, etc.). If I ever had to escalate something, I’d let you know ahead of time and help you through it.

I’m sincere in this. I come to work every day to be around great people. Let’s talk action and make Lyft better together. Let’s connect with each other.

The letter doesn’t exactly come out of the blue. Lyft arch-rival had recently found itself embroiled in a huge controversy that saw an ex-employee she faced while working for the company. This letter could well be something meant to head off situations like that and ensure that employees have an alternate, more informal channel to get their problems heard in case the formal ones are not working out.

The effort is commendable and is one that should have come and should have been emulated by others before Susan Fowler had to experience harassment at work. However, late is better than never and other companies would do better to establish such informal channels as well.

A bibliophile and a business enthusiast.

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