GM clarifies RTO plans after ‘unfortunate and unintentional’ message sent out prematurely

After a backlash, the automaker said corporate employees will not be required to come back to the office until next year.

Corporate employees at GM will be expected to come back to the office next year. (Photo credit: Getty Images).

DETROIT: General Motors has apologized for a message it sent to corporate employees on Friday about its return-to-the-office policy and has clarified its plans. 

On Friday, the automaker’s senior leadership team distributed a memo to staffers stating that corporate workers will be required to work in-office at least three days a week, starting later this year. 

Yet after reported backlash and confusion from employees, GM sent out another memo on Tuesday, addressing some of the “questions, concerns and misconceptions” that leadership had heard. 

In this week’s memo, signed by CEO Mary Barra and other executives, including chief communications officer Craig Buchholz, GM clarified that it does not plan to mandate which days of the week employees will be required to be on campus. The change will not begin before the first quarter of next year.  

“We acknowledge that the timing of the message, late on a Friday afternoon, was unfortunate,” the memo said. “It was also unintentional.”

The executives said that the initial message was sent out after information was prematurely shared with some departments. As the company moves to a more regular in-person work cycle, its plan is to “collaboratively design the solution that best balances the needs of the enterprise with the needs of employees,” according to the memo.  

“We’re in the middle of a historic transformation, and in-person collaboration is a critical success factor as we move into a period of rapid launches,” the executives said in the memo.

The company also emphasized in the second memo that balancing the flexibility to ensure employees can manage their life outside of GM is a “primary consideration.”

“As we move through the process, which will be ongoing, we will be listening to employees and communicating with them regularly,” Maria Raynal, GM’s director of corporate news relations, told PRWeek via email.

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