Google employees scramble for answers after long layoffs

Google employees are scrambling for answers from management and co-workers as the company undergoes a massive layoff.

Friday, AlphabetGoogle, owned by Google, announced the cut of 12,000 employees, or about 6% of the full-time workforce. As employees prepared for a possible layoff, they questioned management about the criteria for layoff, which surprised some employees, who woke up to find their access to company properties cut off. Some of the laid off employees had been long-serving or recently promoted, raising questions about the criteria used to decide which jobs were cut.

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Shortly after CEO Sundar Pichai’s first email to employees on Friday morning, Google’s head of search Prabhakar Raghavan sent an email to employees saying he “also feels a responsibility to reach out to main” and asking them to record questions for next week’s town hall. There will be “bumps in the road” as the organization moves forward with the layoffs, Raghavan noted.

The company provided an FAQ on the layoffs, which CNBC has seen, but employees have complained that it doesn’t go into great detail on many of the answers. Employees flooded Dory, the company’s platform with questions, and set up virtual communities to determine who was fired and why. Managers have told employees to hold questions for town hall next week.

Google did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The stampede highlights the challenges Google may face in maintaining a supportive and productive corporate culture for its restless workforce of more than 160,000 full-time employees. Further confrontations are possible, as the company said it plans to lay off international employees but has not yet determined which ones.

So far in the United States, employees have been laid off across all business units, including Chrome, Cloud and its experimental unit Area 120. Some employees working on the company’s artificial intelligence programs have also been laid off. , according to Bloomberg.

A list of top-rated employee requests seen by CNBC contained pointed questions for executives.

“How were the layoffs decided? Some high performers have been let go from our teams,” reads one of the top-rated questions. “It negatively impacts the remaining Googlers who see someone with high recognition, positive reviews, promotion but still getting fired.”

“What metrics were used to determine who was fired? read another top rated question. “Was the decision based on their performance, the scope of their work, or both, or something else?”

Another asked: ‘How much track do we hope to gain with the layoffs?’ and “Could you clearly explain what the layoff allows Google to do that Google could not have done without the layoff?” »

Another highly rated questioned CEO Sundar Pichai’s statement, who said, “I take full responsibility for the decisions that got us here.”

“What does full accountability entail?” an employee asked Dory. “Responsibility without consequence seems like an empty platitude. Is management waiving bonuses and pay raises this year? Will anyone quit?

Some employees have come together on their own, organizing ad hoc groups to try to get answers. Employees created a Google doc spreadsheet to track who was laid off and what part of the company they worked for.

More than 5,000 laid off employees started a Discord channel called Google post-layoffs, covering topics ranging from venting to work organization and visa immigration. Some employees have held virtual Google meetings with people on video calls. Others tried to organize physical meetings.

Some have turned to the company’s internal meme generator as a way to connect with each other, for answers and for comfort.

A meme showed Mila Kunis from the movie “Friends with Benefits.” Kunis addressed the Google logo, saying the line, “The sad thing is, I actually thought you were different.” Another meme showed former President Bill Clinton waving the word “zero” with the caption “Leadership paycut.”

“Alphabet management claims full responsibility for this decision, but that brings little comfort to the 12,000 workers who are now out of work,” Alphabet Workers Union-CWA executive chairman Parul Koul said in a statement Friday.This is egregious and unacceptable behavior from a company that made $17 billion in profits in the last quarter alone. »

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