Barbados Times

Barbados, Caribbean & World News
Monday, Jan 30, 2023

Inside Google's all-hands meeting: Layoffs shatter the company's aura of stability and abundance.

Inside Google's all-hands meeting: Layoffs shatter the company's aura of stability and abundance.

The internet giant announced 12,000 jobs cuts last week. On Monday, it held a townhall meeting with employees. Here's what happened.

Google held a townhall meeting with employees on Monday to discuss the company's plan to lay off 12,000 staff, the biggest job cuts in the company's 25-year history.

The internet giant is still wildly profitable and has more than $100 billion cash, along with a reputation for high pay, lavish perks, and job security. So the news, which arrived internally via an abrupt email on Friday, hit many employees hard.

Amazon, Microsoft, Meta, and Twitter have also slashed thousands of jobs in recent months. Last week, more than 40,000 layoffs were either announced or begun across the tech industry. Google held out longer than most rivals and, in many ways, it has more to lose. The company thrived over the years by being seen as a great place to work. That helped it recruit the best engineers and other tech specialists. If these layoffs undermine this reputation, Google may struggle to compete for talent in the future.

Insider obtained recordings of the Google all-hands meeting, along with screenshots of employee comments, questions, and other reactions. Here's what happened.


Employees want 'psychological safety'
Philipp Schindler


The overriding sentiment was shock from being suddenly exposed to the vicissitudes of working at a public company during a downturn. Two employees asked for "psychological safety" at work and said the job cuts, and how they were conducted, have threatened this sense of stability.

Executives, including CEO Sundar Pichai, responded with a mixture of empathy, support, resources, facts, and counter-arguments.

"If you interpret psychological safety as removing all uncertainty, we can't do this," said Philipp Schindler, Google's chief business officer.


Who takes responsibility for Google's overhiring?
Sundar Pichai, Alphabet CEO


The company hired rapidly in recent years and has now had to reverse some of that as the economy slows and advertisers pull back on spending. Pichai has said he takes responsibility for the strategic error.

One Googler asked what that means during the townhall meeting. "Responsibility without consequence seems like an empty platitude. Is leadership foregoing bonuses and pay raises this year? Will anyone be stepping down?"

Pichai said Google executives would take a "very significant reduction in their annual bonus." Apple CEO Tim Cook is taking a 40% cut in target compensation for 2023.


Why weren't Google managers warned?
Fiona Cicconi


Employees found out if they were laid off via an email sent Friday morning, and many of those cut have said they lost access to work devices and the corporate network around the same time.

Some Googlers have criticized the abrupt and impersonal nature of their layoffs, with one staffer calling it "a slap in the face." During Monday's townhall meeting, employees asked why so many managers were left in the dark about the job cuts.

"In an ideal world, we would have given managers a heads-up, but we have over 30,000 managers at Google," Google's chief people officer, Fiona Cicconi, said in the meeting.


Was a big activist hedge fund involved?
Ruth Porat


TCI, a leading activist hedge fund, in November called on the tech giant to pare back its headcount.

In a letter to Pichai, TCI said it was particularly concerned with how bloated Google had gotten over the years. According to TCI's calculations, which were illustrated via color-coded graphs, the company's headcount had grown 20% per year since 2017. Over that time, total employees more than doubled from just above 80,000 to close to 190,000. The hedge fund was also vexxed by what it said was the company's above-market compensation.

On Monday, Googler's demanded to know whether TCI was behind the decision to cut 12,000 positions, and whether the company was still running its business for the long-term.

Ruth Porat, Google's chief financial officer, said Google has more information about its own performance and priorities than outside investors. Pichai weighed in, too.

Newsletter

Related Articles

Barbados Times
Close
0:00
0:00
Bill Gates is ‘very optimistic’ about the future: ‘Better to be born 20 years from now...than any time in the past’
Tesla reported record profits and record revenues for 2022
Prince Andrew and Virginia Giuffre Photo Is Fake: Ghislaine Maxwell
Opinion | Israel’s Supreme Court Claims a Veto on Democracy
Moonwalker Buzz Aldrin Gets Married On His 93rd Birthday
Who’s Threatening Israeli Democracy?
Federal Reserve Probes Goldman’s Consumer Business
China's first population drop in six decades
Microsoft is finalising plans to become the latest technology giant to reduce its workforce during a global economic slowdown
China's foreign ministry branch in Hong Kong urges British gov't to stop the biased and double standards Hong Kong report
Tesla slashes prices globally by as much as 20 percent
1.4 Million Copies Of Prince Harry's Memoir 'Spare' Sold On 1st Day In UK
After Failing To Pay Office Rent, Twitter May Sell User Names
Lisa Marie Presley, singer and daughter of Elvis, dies aged 54
FIFA president questioned by prosecutors
Britain's Sunak breaks silence and admits using private healthcare
Hype and backlash as Harry's memoir goes on sale. Unnamed royal source says prince 'kidnapped by cult of psychotherapy and Meghan'
Saudi Arabia set to overtake India as fastest-growing major economy this year 
Google and Facebook’s dominance in digital ads challenged by rapid ascent of Amazon and TikTok
FTX fraud investigators are digging deeper into Sam Bankman-Fried's inner circle – and reportedly have ex-engineer Nishad Singh in their sights
TikTok CEO Plans to Meet European Union Regulators
UK chaos: Hong Kong emigrants duped by false prospectus
France has banned the online sale of paracetamol until February, citing ongoing supply issues
Japan reportedly to give families 1 million yen per child to move out of Tokyo
Will Canada ever become a real democracy?
Hong Kong property brokerages slash payrolls in choppy market
U.S. Moves to Seize Robinhood Shares, Silvergate Accounts Tied to FTX
Effect of EU sanctions on Moscow is ‘less than zero’ – Belgian MEP
Coinbase to Pay $100 Million in Settlement With New York Regulator
FTX assets worth $3.5bn held by Bahamas securities regulator
A Republican congressman-elect is under investigation in New York after he admitted he lied about his education and work experience.
Brazilian football legend Pele, arguably the greatest player ever, has died at the age of 82.
Hong Kong to scrap almost all its Covid rules
EU calls screening of travellers from China unjustified
US imposes Covid testing for visitors from China
Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy Addresses Joint Session of Congress - FULL SPEECH
If a country is denied the right to independence by another, it is not in a union. It is in a dictatorship.
Where is Rishi? Chancellor Jeremy Hunt's excuses about the UK's economic challenges just don't make sense
Former FTX CEO Bankman-Fried finally arrested in Bahamas after U.S. files charges
Corruption works: House Financial Services Chair Waters doesn't plan to subpoena her donor, Sam Bankman-Fried, to testify at hearing on FTX collapse
Ronaldo's new contract...
Prince William's godmother resigns honorary royal role after exposing her/their racism
British PM Rishi Sunak pledges further action on strikes to 'protect lives'
Tax fraud verdict again exposes illusion of Trump the master businessman
Tax fraud verdict again exposes illusion of Trump the master businessman.
Double standards: UK lawmakers attack EU chief over Ireland claims
Yellen hints at ‘national security’ probe into Twitter purchase
Elon Musk reinstates Donald Trump's Twitter account.
George W. Bush and Barack Obama will hold back-to-back disinformation conferences
Mission Improbable: Tom Cruise & Queen Elizabeth
×