Zenefits CEO David Sacks has asked employees not to drink alcohol in office, as the new incumbent sets house following a scandal that resulted in the exit of founder Parker Conrad. Sacks sent a note to the employees on Wednesday (17 February) which said: "It is too difficult to define and parse what is 'appropriate' versus 'inappropriate' drinking in the office."
This is not the first ban that has been imposed in the San Francisco-headquartered company, which many have compared to a frat house. Sacks' order follows Emily Agin, the company's director of real estate and workplace services, asking its employees earlier not to have sex in the office building's stairwell.
In June 2015, she sent out a note to the employees that read: "It has been brought to our attention by building management and Security that the stairwells are being used inappropriately.... Cigarettes, plastic cups filled with beer, and several used condoms were found in the stairwell. Yes, you read that right. Do not use the stairwells to smoke, drink, eat, or have sex. Please respect building and company policy and use common sense...."
These bans by the company's top management are an effort to put an end to the inappropriate culture prevailing in its office, especially among the staff belonging to its sales division. Sacks has been sending a series of memos to the employees in February 2016 highlighting the importance of cultivating a more mature atmosphere that befits the highly regulated health-insurance space that the start-up operates in.
Yesterday (22 February), Zenefits spokesman Kenneth Baer said: "As Zenefits' new CEO has made clear, it is time to turn the page at Zenefits and embrace a new set of corporate values and culture. Zenefits is now focused on developing business practices that will ensure compliance with all regulatory requirements, and making certain that the company operates with integrity as its number-one value."
The alcohol ban also follows the resignation of founder Conrad as CEO earlier in February. This was attributed to this inappropriate fraternising culture at the company. Announcing the resignation, Sacks had criticised the culture, tone and business practices at Zenefits. "The fact is that many of our internal processes, controls, and actions around compliance have been inadequate, and some decisions have just been plain wrong. As a result, Parker has resigned," Sacks had said.
Zenefits, a software start-up, through its free online portal allows a team to manage all its human resource needs such as payroll, benefits and compliance at a single place. It has raised more than $500m (£354.53m, €452.85m) from investors till date and in May 2015 was valued at $4.5bn, according to The Wall Street Journal.