Days after Google announced the largest round of layoffs in the company’s 25-year history, executives defended the job cuts and took questions from the concerned workforce during a meeting with employees on Monday.
Google CEO Sundar Pichai implored employees during the meeting to stay motivated at a time when Google faces stiff competition in areas such as artificial intelligence, while also trying to explain why some employees were cut without warning.
This comes as Google decided on Friday to lay off 12,000 employees, or approximately 6% of its full-time workforce. As the staff prepared for possible layoffs, they wanted answers about the criteria that were used to decide who stays and who leaves. Especially since some of the laid-off employees worked for long periods and were recently promoted, according to what was reported by “CNBC”, and which was reviewed by “Al Arabiya.net”.
Pichai said 2021 marked “one of the strongest years we’ve ever seen in the company’s history, with revenue growing 41%.” “Google has expanded the number of employees to keep pace with this expansion, with the company assuming continued growth.”
“In this context, we have taken a set of decisions that may be correct if growth trends continue,” he added.
Executives said 750 senior leaders were involved in the process, adding that it took a few weeks to decide who would be laid off.
In terms of the criteria for cuts, Google’s director of personnel, Fiona Ciccone, said executives looked at areas where work was necessary, but the company had too many people, as well as places where work was not critical. Ciccone added that the company took into account skill sets, the number of years in the job for which experience or relationships are important, and productivity indicators such as sales quotas and employee historical performance.--
Pichai indicated there would be salary cuts for executives, but provided limited details. He said all vice presidents “will see a very significant reduction in their annual bonuses” this year.-
Before the job cuts, Google made the decision to pay 80% of bonuses this month, with the rest expected in March or April. In previous years, the full bonus was paid in January.
Asked how to target employees who have been with the company for more than 15 years, Vice President and Chief Talent and Learning Officer Brian Glaser said, “We all know that no one is immune from a change in position.”
Pichai reminded the employees that the company has important work ahead, especially in terms of rapid advances in artificial intelligence. Last month, Google employees asked executives at a meeting whether the AI-powered ChatGPT chatbot represented a “missed opportunity” for Google.
Pichai said Monday that it “will be an important year given the rapid developments in artificial intelligence,” which will have an impact across the company.
Pichai added, “There is a paradigm shift in artificial intelligence and I think with the focus of our talent and the work that we will do here, it will be a big bet and I hope it will be.”