Google’s Code of Conduct has famously included the line “Don’t be evil” for years, but now the new corporate structure, which means the online search giant has become part of new parent company Alphabet, has dropped the phrase.
Instead, the official Alphabet Code of Conduct simply says, “Do the right thing.”
The Google code stated that “Don’t be evil” was “about providing our users unbiased access to information, focusing on their needs and giving them the best products and services that we can. But it’s also about doing the right thing more generally – following the law, acting honourably and treating each other with respect.”
The statement essentially set out the ethos of the company and the way employees were expected to behave as its representatives to the outside world.
Alphabet Code of Conduct
The new corporate structure, aimed at separating the massive tech giant that Google has become into more manageable and distinct divisions, means that Alphabet is now the over-arching parent company under which Google falls.
The new code starts off by saying: “Employees of Alphabet and its subsidiaries and controlled affiliates (“Alphabet”) should do the right thing – follow the law, act honourably, and treat each other with respect.”
Importance of codes
A code of conduct is far more than a simple PR blurb that sets out a vision for a company. It is actually a set of rules that provides employees at all levels with a clear picture of how they are expected to act and respond in certain situations.
In today’s business world, where the ethics and practices of a company can cause reputational damage with serious effects, having a strong outline is essential.
Whilst for many outsiders, the “Don’t be evil” line may have seemed like an in-joke or a tech start-up gag aimed at larger corporate rivals, the swift and massively successful rise of Google saw it take on a greater significance for others.
Now that the phrase has been quietly dropped for the more grown-up sounding “Do the right thing”, perhaps it is a sign of the maturity of the company itself.