Alphabet’s Google became the most-profitable internet company by recruiting talented technologists and inspiring them enough to keep them around. That advantage may be slipping as some workers increasingly doubt the leadership and vision of CEO Sundar Pichai, according to recent results from an employee survey.

The annual internal poll, known as Googlegeist, asked workers whether Pichai’s vision of what the company can achieve inspires them. In response, 78% indicated yes, down 10 percentage points from the previous year.

Another question asked if employees have confidence in Pichai and his management team to effectively lead Google in the future. Positive responses represented 74% of the total, an 18 point decline from a year earlier.

There were similar declines for questions about Pichai’s decisions and strategies, his commitment to diversity and inclusion, and the compensation the company pays, according the results. Google shares the results with all employees to make sure concerns are heard. This time, 89% of workers took the survey. A Google spokeswoman declined to comment. While the survey findings are mostly positive, the declines are a worrying shift for Google, which prides itself on high employee morale, good working conditions and high pay.

If these things are beginning to erode, Google could lose talent to other technology firms, undermining its ability to build new services that drive its profitable advertising business. Still, most Googlers aren’t leaving soon, with 82% of survey respondents saying they plan to be working at Google one year from now. And 86% said they would recommend Google as a place to work.


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