Google, last week laid off 12000 employees without any prior notice. Google parent Alphabet said that the layoffs were due to a “changing economic reality” and that hires had been made during times of growth. He further added that the decision of cutting 6% of the workforce was taken only after consulting with company’s founders and board. The move follows similar cuts at Microsoft, Amazon and Twitter. The layoffs come after similar job cuts at other tech giants, including Microsoft, Amazon, Facebook and Twitter.
The mass job cut news was given to the affected employees by CEO Sundar Pichai via email. Google’s operations underwent ‘rigorous review’ that is reflected in the layoffs. Pichai stated that the affected positions ‘cut across Alphabet, product areas, functions, levels, and regions.’ Employees who are laid off will be given a severance package that includes six months of health insurance, job placement assistance, and immigration support, starting at 16 weeks of salary plus two weeks for each subsequent year of employment at Google!
Pichai said, ‘as an almost 25-year old company, we’re bound to go through difficult economic cycles. These are important moments to sharpen our focus, re-engineer our cost base, and direct our talent and capital to our highest priorities.’
“If you don’t act clearly and decisively and early, we can compound the problem and make it much worse,” Pichai said. “These are decisions I needed to make”.
Alphabet faced ‘a different economic reality’ from the past two years when it rapidly expanded headcount, decisions for which Pichai said he took “full responsibility”.
What employees and ex-employees are saying about it?
Several employees have posted emotional notes and stories about their time at the company via social media.
Among them is a story that is making the internet collectively weep. Former Google Program Manager Katherine Wong posted on her LinkedIn profile. According to the California-based worker, her heart sank when she saw the mail. Wong, who is eight months pregnant, shared that she was fired a week before her maternity leave was to commence. The California-based professional, a program manager with Google, was left stunned because she had received good performance reviews.
A software engineering manager named Justin Moore who worked at Google for over 16.5 years and was sacked after his account was deactivated at 3 am. Mr Moore, in a LinkedIn post, wrote, “So after over 16.5 years at Google, I appear to have been let go via an automated account deactivation at 3 am this morning as one of the lucky 12,000. I don’t have any other information, as I haven’t received any of the other communications the boilerplate “you’ve been let go” website (which I now also can’t access) said I should receive.” The employee added that his time at Google was “largely wonderful” and that he was proud of the work he and his teams did. “This also just drives home that work is not your life, and employers — especially big, faceless ones like Google — see you as 100% disposable. Live life, not work,” the post further read.
“I along with 12,000 others thought today would just be an ordinary workday and as I logged to start my day, a message popped up that I was laid off,” former Googler Amanda Rajchel wrote on the platform, calling it a “devastating day.”
A report by the information reveals that Google CEO Sundar Pichai has even cut down roles of employees who received high-performance reviews or were in managerial positions with annual compensation packages of $500,000 to $1 million. The recent mass layoffs of 12,000 employees impacted workers across departments and organizations spanning from Google Clod and Chrome to Android.
Another person laid off last week, Decia Stanford, an early career recruiter, said that she had marked nine years at Google last month.
“I’m still processing as Google was a family and not just a company to me. I’ll miss all the amazing people I’ve worked and more than anything else,” she wrote.
Google has also asked managers to put more employees into low-performing categories during performance reviews, which made it easier to filter for employees who will be impacted by the layoffs. A Google employee also confirmed the new review system to check on employees to Business Insider and said that Google had last month brought in a new ‘support check-in’ policy that they described as a ‘compassionate-sounding euphemism for a performance warning mark on your personal record’.
When employees questioned the sudden decision to cut down the leisure budget amid record profits and huge cash reserves, CEO Pichai asked them not to equate money and perks with fun at work. “I remember when Google was small and scrappy. We shouldn’t always equate fun with money. I think you can walk into a hard-working start-up and people may be having fun and it shouldn’t always equate to money,” said Pichai in the all-hands meeting of September 2022. Later, the company decided to move forward with some drastic measures of cost-cutting and announced to fire 12,000 employees across the globe.