“I would get a death threat at 12 o’clock, and then at 12:05 I would have a meeting,” Mr. Davis said.
By early 2021, another employee relations investigation into his behavior was underway, in response to complaints that the culture of fear persisted. Ms. Christie said that employee relations looked into every employee complaint and that Mr. Davis was trying to change his behavior.
“We’ve got to find our own Twitter way of direct feedback that’s still empathetic, that’s still respectful,” she said. “That’s not an easy combination.” Mr. Davis was “heartbroken” by the employee complaints, she added.
Company data was beginning to reveal widespread discontent on the design and research teams. Attrition under Mr. Davis had risen and was about double the rate of overall attrition at Twitter, employees said. In annual surveys, employees who worked for Mr. Davis consistently said at a higher rate than other Twitter employees that they felt “psychologically unsafe.”
“I’ve been hearing and absorbing feedback about the culture and morale,” Mr. Davis wrote in a note shared with his management team that was seen by The Times. “I love and deeply respect this team, it’s the strongest team I’ve ever worked with, and yet it’s clear that many of you aren’t feeling that from me. I’m taking a step back to think about my style and approach.”
In March, after a year of battling election and coronavirus misinformation, many employees struggled with burnout. Mr. Davis announced that he planned to move away from the performance culture that had been his mandate.
“My goal is for us to transition to a team of belonging, which is less transactional and more focused on care and support,” Mr. Davis wrote in an email to employees. He cited the harassment he had received, and asked employees to be patient if they felt he had not done enough to support them.
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