Anxiety, pressure and confidentiality .. “Tik Tok” employees complain about the work environment

Some TikTok employees in the US complain about sleep deprivation exacerbated by regular weekend work and compulsory meetings with Chinese colleagues.

According to a report by the Wall Street Journal, a strict management style and internal work culture that contrasts with the thriving public image of TikTok supported the success of this platform.

Employees, many of whom have worked at other large technology companies, say TikTok emphasizes productivity and confidentiality to an unusual degree.

Several former U.S. employees said they worked an average of 85 hours of meetings per week during their time at TikTok’s headquarters in Los Angeles, and that they needed to take extra time to complete their regular work.

Another employee said he convinced his boss to exempt him from back-to-back work all night long only after he submitted medical lab results showing a potentially life-threatening condition.

Previous employees have described weight fluctuations, stress or emotional decline so severely that they have sought treatment.

One of them said that she experienced so much pressure to be present at Tik Tok during back-to-back meetings that she was unable to use a sanitary napkin during her period.

Several other list of challenges, including the interpretation of internal documents written in Chinese and translated with software that does not always capture the finer details.

And the well-known Tik Tok application is owned by “ByteDance”, which is headquartered in the Chinese capital, Beijing. The application recorded the largest number of downloads during the first quarter of 2022, according to analytics firm Sensor Tower.

In contrast, TikTok said it has made a number of adjustments to its practices and work culture to achieve its goal of building and strengthening an empowered team to support our growing global community.

“We encourage a culture of transparency and are committed to building a fair business and platform that allows our community and our employees to thrive,” he added in a written statement.

“The opposite of what the platform stands for”

Long working hours and strict deadlines are nothing new in fast-growing technology companies like Tik Tok, and sleep disruption is not a rare problem for employees of foreign companies, according to the newspaper.

But TikTok’s workforce in the United States embodies such pressure to an unusual degree, say many people who have worked there and elsewhere in the technology space.

The company practices secrecy over a lot of information and organizational schemes, especially for lower-ranking employees.

Some former employees said members of the HR and finance teams in the New York office for months did not know that there are separate teams performing the same tasks in California.

Babel Martinez, who until February was a global account manager for advertising sales at TikTok, said TikTok offers often included vague or missing figures, and its executives told him not to share certain data with lower-level employees.

He continued: “The signal I got was, ‘We do not trust you. There was a level of secrecy in TikTok that was very different from the other technology companies he worked for.

Many TikTok employees tolerate long working hours and a lack of work-life limits because they may be entitled to compensation in the form of shares if the parent company becomes known.

“We want to be on board this rocket vehicle,” Martinez said.

He remarked that he was leaving the company after objecting to having to work all weekend despite submitting his project on schedule, to which the response he received from a manager was: “It is not the way we do business here. “

ByteDance suspended its plans to make it public about a year ago when Chinese regulators urged it to focus on data security.

At a meeting in April 2021, Dylan Jonke, who has been working on app brand partnerships for more than two years, asked the U.S. head of human resources why senior leaders evaded compensation questions for 50 weeks in a row.

Junki said that if TikTok does not intend to provide answers to such questions, it should say so rather than reject it.

Shortly afterwards, senior leaders emailed Junki for his behavior and HR launched an investigation into whether TikTok could fire Junki, according to a person familiar with the discussions, before the man resigned two months later. submitted.

In the statement, TikTok did not comment on specific employee stories, including those of Junki.

Tik Tok describes itself as the home of “fun, entertaining, diverse and unexpected experiences”.

In a note posted internally at his departure, Junki said that “the way TikTok employees are treated is exactly the opposite of what the platform stands for.”

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