A recession is on the horizon, and it is pushing some companies to implement hiring freezes and layoffs.
The tech sector has been particularly hard hit; according to an online aggregator called layoffs.fyi, more than 80,000 tech workers have lost their jobs in 2022. Examples include Netflix, Snap, Peloton, and Okta.
Social media giant Meta is facing the same challenges as its competitors. It has implemented a hiring freeze, and it has hinted at layoffs being on the horizon. This is largely in response to its first ever revenue drop since the company was founded in 2004.
Back in July, Meta’s chief product officer Chris Cox told employees that the tech giant needs to “prioritize more ruthlessly” and “operate leaner, meaner and better executing teams”.
But now Meta has gone one step further and, according to reporting by The Wall Street Journal, it aims to cut its workforce by 10% in the next few months.
However, Meta is taking a slightly different approach to its downsizing. It will be eliminating certain job types, but it won’t then automatically lay off workers in those roles, instead it will give them 30 days to apply for other jobs within the company.
It is unclear which departments and roles are most at risk at Meta, but research by Revelio suggests that recruiters are one job group most at risk of layoffs in a recession.
Meta has long used this tactic to lay off low-performing workers, but is now using it for high-performing workers in roles that are becoming less essential to the business in a looming recession.
A spokesperson told the Journal that the 30-day window enables the company to retain top talent it might have lost if it had done a conventional lay off. However, employees told the Journal that this window is called the ’30 Day List’ and is more like a form of HR purgatory.
The spokesperson referred UNLEASH to Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s comments on a July earnings call: “Given the continued trends, this is even more of a focus now than it was last quarter.
“Our plan is to steadily reduce headcount growth over the next year.
“Many teams are going to shrink so we can shift energy to other areas, and I wanted to give our leaders the ability to decide within their teams where to double down, where to backfill attrition, and where to restructure teams while minimizing thrash to the long term initiatives.”
Zuckerberg added on the call: “This is a period that demands more intensity, and I expect us to get more done with fewer resources.
“We’re currently going through the process of increasing the goals for many of our efforts. Previously challenging periods have been transformational for our company and helped us develop our next generation of leaders.
“I expect this period to be no different. I expect we’ll find a way to keep investing in our top priority areas, and I think we’re going to come through this period as a stronger and more disciplined organization.”
Inside Google’s 60-day layoff tactic
Meta is not alone in reorganizing teams and giving employees a window to find a new job in-house; the Journal reported this is something that Google has also been doing.
But in Google’s case employees are given 60 days to find a new job at the company. Just last week, roughly half of Google’s 100 startup accelerator employees were told to look for new opportunities; they were given an extra 30 days if their projects were canceled.
This situation at Google comes as CEO Sundar Pichai called on employees to be “more entrepreneurial” and 20% more productive in this challenging economic environment.
A Google spokesperson told UNLEASH: ““As Sundar announced in July, we’re slowing our hiring and sharpening our focus as a company, but we remain focused on hiring engineering, technical and other critical roles.
“We continue to look for ways we can increase our productivity and ensure we’re focused on our long-term priorities.”
As layoffs are operating in tandem with the ‘Great Resignation’, it is likely that more and more companies will take a similar approach to job cuts. It allows them to ensure they are keeping their top talent, even if it is in a slightly different, more business critical role than the one they were originally hired to do. Watch this space.
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