Googlers scramble for answers from leadership and colleagues as the company undergoes mass layoffs.
on Friday, the alphabetOwned by Google announce It was cutting 12,000 employees, roughly 6% of its full-time workforce. While the staff Preparing As for the potential layoff, they’re questioning leadership about layoff criteria that surprised some employees, who woke up to find their access to company property cut off. Some of the laid-off employees had been long-serving or were recently promoted, which raised questions about the criteria used to determine which jobs were cut.
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Shortly after CEO Sundar Pichai’s initial email to employees on Friday morning, Google search chief Prabhakar Raghavan sent an email to employees saying he “also feels a responsibility to reach out” and asking them to save questions for next week’s city council. Raghavan noted that there will be “bumps in the road” as the organization moves forward with layoffs.
The company provided a Q&A about the layoffs, which CNBC watched, but employees complained that it didn’t provide many details on many of the answers. Employees swept through Dory, the company’s question-and-answer platform, and set up virtual communities to find out who was laid off and why. The managers have been asking employees to conduct questions at the town hall that will be held next week.
Google did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The scramble highlights the challenges Google can face in maintaining a supportive and productive company culture for a turbulent workforce of more than 160,000 full-time employees. Further confrontations are likely, as the company said it plans to lay off international staff but has not yet identified any.
So far in the US, employees have been laid off across business units including Chrome, Cloud, and Experimental Area Unit 120. Some employees working on the company’s artificial intelligence programs have also been laid off, according to the report. bloomberg.
The list of top-rated employee inquiries, seen by CNBC, included specific questions for executives.
“How do you decide to lay off workers? Some of our top performers have been let go,” read one of the top-rated questions. “This negatively impacts remaining Googlers who see someone with great recognition, positive feedback, and a promotion but still get laid off.”
“What metrics were used to determine who was laid off?” Another question from the highest ratings was read. “Was the decision based on their performance, scope of work, both, or something else?”
Another asked, “How much runway do we hope to gain through layoffs?” and “Do you explain clearly what the layoffs enable Google that Google could not have done without the layoffs?”
Another high ranking person questioned CEO Sundar Pichai’s statement, who said, “I take full responsibility for the decisions that led us here.”
An employee at Dory asked, “What does being fully responsible entail?” “Responsibility without consequences seems like an empty trifle. Has the leadership given up on bonuses and salary increases this year? Will anyone step down?”
Some employees have gathered on their own, organizing ad hoc groups to try to get answers. Employees created a Google Spreadsheet as a way to keep track of who’s been laid off and what part of the business they’re in.
More than 5,000 laid-off employees have started a Discord channel called Post-Google Layoffs, which ranges on topics from catharsis to labor regulation and visa immigration. Some employees have organized virtual Google meetings with people on video calls. Others have tried to organize physical encounters.
Some have turned to the company’s internal meme generator as a way to communicate with each other, to get answers, and to get comfortable.
One meme featured Mila Kunis from the movie Friends With Benefits. Kunis spoke to the Google logo, saying, “The sad thing is, I used to think you were different.” Another showed former President Bill Clinton pointing to the word “zero” with the caption “The Leadership Reward.”
“Alphabet’s leadership claims ‘total responsibility’ for this decision, but this brings no relief to the 12,000 workers who are now without jobs,” Parul Kaul, CEO of the Alphabet Workers’ Union-CWA, said in a statement on Friday. “This is outrageous and unacceptable behavior by a company that generated $17 billion in profits in the last quarter alone.”
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