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Google CEO Sundar Pichai in May 2019. Photo: Josh Edelson/AFP/Getty Images

Google CEO Sundar Pichai told employees at an all-staff meeting this week that "it's definitely gotten harder" to see how to make improvements after breaking employees' trust at the company's current scale, the Washington Post reports.

Our thought bubble, via Axios' Ina Fried: Google has prided itself on having a vocal employee base. In recent months, the tech giant has struggled with handling workers who question its every move and want a say in everything from who is hired or retained to who the company does business with.

Driving the news: In early October, Google employees reportedly discovered a previously unknown team within the company that is building a surveillance tool to "monitor workers' attempts to organize protests and discuss labor rights," Bloomberg reports.

  • On Thursday, Pichai and Google's Global Head of Policy Karan Bhatia defended he company's hiring of former Department of Homeland Security official Miles Taylor.
  • Google management deleted two employee questions about Taylor ahead of the all-hands meeting on Thursday, Buzzfeed reports.

What they're saying: “We are genuinely struggling with some issues — transparency at scale,” Pichai said at the closed-door meeting, the Post reports. He said trust is "one of the most foundational things for the company."

  • "[H]e wasn't involved in the ban, and he was also not involved in the family separation policy," Bhatia said of Taylor at the all-hands.
  • Taylor served as counselor to former DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen during the implementation of the Trump administration's "zero tolerance" or family separation policy.

Background: Google employees have protested the company's work with U.S. Customs and Border Protection and the its policies on sexual harassment — the latter of which resulted in a walkout of 20,000 Google staff.

  • Google has moved to more comprehensive e-learning format as part of its updated mandatory sexual harassment training, which is available only in the U.S. until it goes global in 2020, a Google spokesperson confirmed to Axios.

Go deeper: Google's restlessness for better company culture

Go deeper

54 mins ago - World

U.S. strikes Iran-backed militia structures in Syria

President Biden at the Pentagon on Feb. 10. Photo: Alex Brandon - Pool/Getty Images

The United States on Thursday carried out an airstrike against facilities in Syria linked to an Iran-backed militia group, the Pentagon announced.

The state of play: The strike, approved by President Biden, comes "in response to recent attacks against American and Coalition personnel in Iraq, and to ongoing threats to those personnel," Pentagon press secretary John Kirby said in a statement.

Senate parliamentarian rules $15 minimum wage cannot be included in relief package

Photo: Al Drago/Getty Images

The Senate parliamentarian ruled Thursday that the provision to increase the minimum wage to $15/hour cannot be included in the broader $1.9 trillion COVID relief package.

Why it matters: It's now very likely that any increase in the minimum wage will need bipartisan support, as the provision cannot be passed with the simple Senate majority that Democrats are aiming to use for President Biden's rescue bill.

Dave Lawler, author of World
1 hour ago - World

Biden's big Saudi reset

Mohammed bin Salman. Photo: Ryad Kramdi/AFP via Getty

President Biden spoke with Saudi Arabia's King Salman this evening ahead of the release of a CIA report expected to implicate the king's son, and the kingdom's de facto ruler, in the murder of a U.S.-based journalist, Jamal Khashoggi.

Why it matters: In one month, Biden has ended support for the Saudi war effort in Yemen, frozen a large arms deal and snubbed Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) by declining to speak with him directly.