Inclusion off the table. Is Basecamp right?

The topic of workplace wellness and inclusion has rightly been top of the agenda for business leaders, as huge swathes of the workforce are still working from home

Many businesses have coped remarkably well, and their teams have dealt with these profound changes without too much impact on the company.

Having chatted to several of those who have taken lockdown in their stride, a key to successfully navigating this was the positive, inclusive culture they had established before COVID took hold.

So, as we now grapple with phasing people back into the office, it was interesting to read an article from Basecamp founder Jason Fried.

In his blog from April 26, 2021, Jason set out a new vision for the company that, some might say, flies in the face of this stronger-together, inclusive culture.

His manifesto for Basecamp outlines the following six directives:

  • No more societal and political discussions on our company Basecamp account
  • No more paternalistic benefits
  • No more committees
  • No more lingering or dwelling on past decisions
  • No more 360 reviews
  • No forgetting what we do here.

Jason believes the abolition of committees will transfer ownership back to those responsible, with huge issues such as diversity, equality and inclusion resting squarely on the shoulders of their Head of People Ops.

He asserts that people need to take ownership of their business area; that is what they are paid to do.

The problem is that research has shown that a collective approach is crucial to addressing issues such as diversity and inclusion, which in turn inspires greater innovation amongst the team.

In Fried’s mind, what’s important is not “forgetting what we do here”.  He is adamant they need to get back to solving the tech problems of their customers and not concerning themselves with societal issues.

However, as we know, innovation is a crucial element in problem-solving, and the most innovative companies thrive on diversity of thought, inspired by their inclusive leadership.

It will be interesting to see how Basecamp and their team come to terms with their own “new normal”.  Undoubtedly a step in a different direction; hopefully, it works for them.



Written by Published: 20/05/2021 News

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