According to a blog penned by four Forrester analysts, the trend for tech whistleblowers to quit their jobs while many of their colleagues engage in “quietly quitting” should be a wake-up call to industry leaders.
A scorching job market for security, risk and privacy professionals combined with hiring a value-based workforce is creating a singular opportunity for tech majors, according to Forrester Quartet, Sarah M. Watson, Jeff Pollard, Eli Mellon and Alla Valente.
“This unique combination of circumstances presents an opportunity for technology leaders to make digital ethics, security improvements, risk programs and trust initiatives key topics of conversation,” he wrote.
He explained that many tech firms, including Twitter, have put responsible and ethical technology principles into practice in the form of AI ethics boards, responsible innovation guidelines, and offices for the ethical and humane use of technology. But these self-regulatory half-hearted measures are being called a wash of morality.
“Many tech companies are values- and ethics-first,” senior analyst Mellon told TechNewsWorld. “However, when they don’t deliver on those promises – especially with customer data – customers take notice and lose trust in them.
Customers are not the only notice takers. “It detracts from the talent who wants to work at a particular firm if a person knows they may be fired or silenced for allegedly speaking about interpersonal ethics and values, Mellon said.
The dangers of integrity hiring
When firms say they are developing technology responsibly, it attracts talent who believe in those values, the blog authors noted. “Employees are making proactive decisions based on a common set of goals and need to feel more connected to the potential employer’s vision and purpose,” Liz Miller, Constellation Research’s vice president and principal analyst, told TechNewsWorld. ,
When you choose people with ideals and integrity, you get people with ideals and integrity, the blog authors argued — and when you treat those people in ways that are unfaithful, they just don’t conform. – They rebel.
“Today’s employees value their employer’s mission, vision and promise,” Miller observed. “If you break that value chain, you do it at your own risk.”
“They will leave, which is an operating loss and cost,” she continued, “but there is also a great possibility that their frustrations, their experiences and their frustrations will carry over to social and digital channels.”
“Not listening to employees is as dangerous as not listening to customers,” she said.
The authors of the blog have mentioned that the damage caused to an organization by a whistleblower is like a wound inflicted by oneself. The bloggers wrote, “These people, led well before those concerns made headlines, tried desperately to change things inside their companies, but were pressured to conform, completely ignored.” and was later sidelined.
Bottom Line Trump Ethics
Anyone who has been paying attention to corporate America or technology companies shouldn’t be surprised by the wash of ethics, declared John Bumbaneck, a leading threat hunter at Netenrich, a San Jose, California-based IT and digital security operations company.
“At its core, business ethics requires executives to maximize shareholder value by making money,” he told TechNewsWorld. “They will adopt as few ethics as possible to avoid impact on the bottom line.”
“Unless one improves the business ethics of leaders – either by regulation or by changes in legislation – business leaders will continue on their current path,” he said.
If they continue on that path, they are likely to continue to find whistleblowers on it – even in the face of industry-wide layoffs and recessionary pressures. The blog authors state that the SEC has awarded $1.3 million to 278 whistleblowers since 2012. These incentives bring resources and greater legal protection, so it is unlikely that accountability seekers for the harms of technology will hold back, the authors said.
He also noted that technical staff is funding the organization works and providing advice and advice to whistleblowers. The same resource that put Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen before Congress with a bipartisan moral-terror message also supported Twitter whistleblower Peter “Muj” Zatko, he wrote.
In some industries, layoffs can have an impact on employees who are willing to trade their jobs for their ethical beliefs, Mellon acknowledged, but not in cybersecurity. “Security talent is still in high demand – especially ethical and experienced talent,” she said. “Unless the talent gap in security is narrowed, there will still be a high demand for talent.”
go silent or not go quietly
Because few job markets compare security, risk, and privacy in terms of supply versus demand, the blog authors noted, that puts them in a unique position to lead change.
Furthermore, they point out that when internal advocacy fails, a clear and effective external playbook now exists. Admitting defeat, resigning with a vague “time to move on” and telling close friends how bad things were, is the old way of quitting, he maintained.
Lots of articles want to convince everyone that keeping quiet is the new normal, he continued. Whistleblowing is the opposite of leaving calm. Hiring value-based, empowered employees in areas with scorching demand and then not listening to them almost guarantees they won’t quit quietly.
However, Bumbleneck argues that most employees would rather leave quietly than face the consequences of whistleblowing. “Whistleblower protections are not really effective,” he insisted. “Employers may not retaliate directly but they may do so quietly over time.”
“Whistleblowers making press will often see job prospects drying up,” he said. Quietly quitting is a safe way for employees to exit the corporate environment that gives them ethics concerns without the professional implications of speaking up.
“The reality is,” he continued, “until you reach a certain point in your career, the risk of losing income and not being able to replace it will keep most people silent.”
“There are exceptions to those who leave and make statements in public, and this is reserved for professionals who are at the top of their careers who still have earnings potential,” he said. “Even most mid-career professionals can be silently blacklisted for this kind of behavior, which means most of them will keep going quietly.”