Google employees are ready to cut costs as anxiety grows

The GoogleWorkers in Switzerland wrote this month to the vice-president of human resources to express their concerns about the possibility that a new system for employee evaluation could be used to screen workers.

“The number and reach of reports that have reached us indicates that at least some managers have been hard-pressed to implement a quota,” five workers and employees wrote in the letter, in a process that could result in employees receiving negative evaluations and potentially losing their jobs. Obtained by The New York Times

The letter stated that some Google employees are now taking recent management decisions as warnings about possible layoffs. According to 14 interviews, the Silicon Valley giant has become an anxious hotbed, with the impending closing of a small office, the cancellation of a content moderator project, and various attempts to ease budgets during 2023 planning meeting. The interviewees spoke on condition that they remain anonymous for fear of reprisal.

In some cases, Google employees have interacted directly with the program launched by the company in July to streamline operations, reduce red tape, and increase productivity. They have also held budget talks in other cases because some teams aren’t able to hire more next fiscal year, the people said. They also said that workers are concerned about decisions made months ago that have taken on new meanings for some.

Concerns grew after tech industry peers at Google issued pink slips amid a global economic stress. Last month, Meta (the owner of Instagram and Facebook) clearing his ranks by 11,000About 13 percent of its workforce. Amazon has also begun to reduce its services About 10,000 people in corporate and technology jobsAbout 3 percent of the employees are from the company.

Even Google, which is expected to make tens of trillions in profits this year due to its growth, has had to cope with a slowdown. Alphabet was Google’s parent company in October as the digital advertising market declined. You mentioned that the profit decreased27 percent in third quarter compared to the previous year, to $13.9 million

Google did not respond to The Times’ request regarding employee concerns. Sundar PichaiIn October, the CEO of the company, Jeremy Sullivan, stated that it would “focus on a specific set of products and business priority.” He stated that the company would slow down its hiring and “limit” its expenses growth.

Google has avoided large-scale job losses, unlike other tech companies. According to Mark Mahaney, analyst at Evercore ISI, however, investors have pushed Google into being more aggressive in “defending” its large dividend.

He stated that cutting costs and reducing your headcount is one of the best ways to achieve this. He said that it was “a bit bizarre” that parent Google had hired 30,000 workers in the last three quarters, given current economic trends. Alphabet had 186.779 employees as of September 31st.

Google has paid more attention to its costs in recent months. The program to streamline operations was launched in July. Soon after, she dropped a few projects including the Pixelbook laptop. stadia, its own streaming platform that allows you to play video games. It also cut funding. Area 120An internal product incubator.

A representative from Google’s Human Resources told a worker recently that the company would review the possibility of further layoffs in 2019. According to an audio recording obtained at The Times, it was a decision made by Mr. Pichai.

The conversations were confidential and the person who was familiar with them said that Google told employees it will prioritise cutting travel costs and real estate expenses before it seeks layoffs. The company plans to close a small Michigan office in Farmington Hills, Michigan (a suburb near Detroit), next month.

Tensions have been fuelled by project cancellations, reorganizations and other actions. According to four people familiar, YouTube closed a project that employed 80 workers in its Farmington Hills office. The decision also meant that some employees couldn’t find new jobs at the company. YouTube has hired them to supervise content on the platform. 14 workers were fired by Google.

Before using anonymous sources, what do we consider? Are you familiar with the information sources? What is their motivation for telling us this? Does it have a track record of reliability? Can we confirm the information The Times still uses anonymous sources as a last resort even though it has answered all these questions. The identity of the source is known by at least one editor and the reporter.

Google stated that it was not looking to reduce its workforce with these types of reorganizations but that some roles might be eliminated as the company reassesses priorities.

Four people familiar with this situation said that certain teams that have grown in the past will not find the ability to hire more staff next year. One person said that planning for 2023 is more important than ever. This includes asking the manager to plan for 10 different budget scenarios and not just three or 4. Two people stated that leaders in planning discussions pressurize managers to justify their expenditures, asking them if there are any workarounds or team restructurings that could save money.

Many employees were worried that Google could use its new performance-based appraisal system to speed up layoffs. Googler Reviews and Development was installed by the company in May.

According to two people familiar, the system requires managers to rate the bottom 2 percent as “not having enough impact”. Another 4 percent should also be considered to have a moderate impact.

There are growing concerns that the bottom 6 per cent, or approximately 11,000 people, could be responsible. target for separationAccording to four people. Also, as previously reported by the technology news website the information.

Google now has two low-performing employees in its GRAD system, as opposed to one in the previous program. This could result in a larger number of workers at the bottom. According to four employees and the letter, the system had a bumpy rollout. Managers and employees were confused about how it should operate.

Google stated that it expects employees to become more familiar with the system over time. She said that her no-surprises policy means that employees will know in advance if they are doing poorly.

Managers must notify employees at “checkin support” meetings before they distribute the two lowest ratings. Google stated that each such meeting would not result is a lower rating. However, they also run support checks-ins for employees who require extra help with their commitments.

The company also stated that employees would be provided with pointers if their manager wanted to put them on a “performance enhancement” plan. This plan requires workers to improve within 60 days in order to retain their jobs. Google workers had the option to either stay on the performance-improvement plan or quit by purchasing the buyout package.

Google stated that it has not made any changes to increase the number performance plans and that it has offered these types of separation options for years.

The 15-member employee representation committee, ERCH, led the delivery of this month’s letter by some Googlers in Switzerland, to Fiona Cicconi.

One of their main concerns was that the company might have a limit on the number of employees who could use check-in support. This could put their jobs at risk.

Google stated that it does not impose a quota for support check-ins. After implementing the GRAD system almost no one used these meetings, so I asked the leaders to communicate the importance of the meetings with the managers.

The Swiss signatories also stated that there was confusion between workers and managers regarding who would be eligible for assistance. They asked Ms. Cicconi for guardrails to ensure that the system does not lead to mass shootings.

They wrote that while it is natural for new operations to not go smoothly at first, this should not be at the expense or the welfare, careers, and compensation of Google employees.”

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