Forget the quiet take-off. Meta and Google have learned the art of a quiet layoff: asking employees to pick new roles after teams are reorganized or disbanded, and running out of time in the reapplying process until some are left without a job.
The layoffs are still essentially still, albeit small, and unlikely to gain attention or be widely reported. It’s similar to IBM, Oracle and other companies that in the past have made few incremental cuts here and there to put a larger comprehensive layoff plan under the radar. It may also portend a larger execution of employees at some point.
The problems in Meta are well known, as this year Facebook’s parent company has faced a drop in revenue and daily active users at one point, while admitting that it paid $10 billion on metaverse stuff and that its ad sales have been hit hard by Apple’s campaign to let iOS users cancel Sign up for online tracking. The workload has also swelled during the pandemic, becoming bloated and unwieldy.
In response, Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg called on his giant to shape up, overheat and lose dead weight, leading to things like dissolving the Responsible Innovation Team (RIT) earlier this month.
Here comes the role of quiet layoffs.
Meta has a policy to give employees — such as those who work at RIT — 30 days to find a new job at the company, after which they are out of the job if they somehow don’t get a seat. Since tech darlings like Meta usually set the hiring bar relatively high, employees are generally supposed to be smart enough to retain another team and will find another one somewhere.
According to Meta employees and managers who spoke to The Wall Street Journal for a report released today, this process is pretty typical — but something has changed: Where previously it was natural to quickly fall into a new role, “reputable, strong workers are paid performance reviews.” on a regular basis.”
Whereas previously reshuffles took place in Meta without many people losing their jobs, now even competent and capable people are offered the door, in quirks and quirks. It is reported that Facebook wants to cut costs by at least 10 percent, which means less hiring. Not only the duds were left behind, but the regular staff as well.
At Google, nearly half of the 100-plus employees at the start-up’s Area 120 incubator this month have been given 90 days to find other jobs within the giant. In March, there was also internal pressure to give more than 100 people experiencing trouble in Google Cloud 180 days to find new teams, instead of 60 days. As with Meta, Google employees are expected to find other teams to join.
A Google spokesperson told the WSJ that nearly 95 percent of workers who expressed an interest in staying found new roles in time. Or in other words, more than five percent did not and were disqualified. There is no doubt that other parts of the workforce will be, or have been, cut in this way.
The cuts at Google come shortly after CEO Sundar Pichai said productivity at the web giant should be increased by twenty percent, a call that came just three months after the company slowed hiring after it embarked on a hiring spree during the coronavirus pandemic.
According to a Wall Street Journal story, Meta had 83,553 employees at the end of the second quarter of 2022, up 32 percent from the same period last year. Google parent company Alphabet counted 174,014 heads in the second quarter, a 20.8 percent increase over the same period in 2021. Now it appears both companies are struggling to deal with or make the most of these new people.
Google’s chief financial officer said earlier this year that headcount is the main driver of the company’s expenses, and leadership at Facebook and elsewhere has made similar statements. Amazon’s chief financial officer said the first-quarter hiring boost amid the Omicron phase of the coronavirus outbreak left his company with overstaffed, too.
Meta appears to be taking a different approach to layoffs, with Zuckerberg directing managers in June to aggressively fire low-performing employees. As we wrote at the time, this was very likely a way for the meta to drive some layoffs without actually acknowledging that she was doing it, drawing bad press and other negative attention.
This time around, it looks as though Google and Meta have learned a lesson: Don’t dump people and feed layoffs rumors, or make statements confirming it. Instead, simply merge teams and shut them down, tell the press you’re reassigning workers, ignore when displaced employees ask about these roles, and leave them out of order after two months. ®
note: This article was written from an American perspective. We know that in other places, such as the UK at least, companies are required by law to make some effort, whatever the code, to find other work for you within the organization if you become redundant, in general. America, not so much.
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