Google is facing a big problem of slowing growth, cost-cutting and employee dissent over cultural changes and CEO undar Pichai is facing a backlash and is finding himself on the back foot. Google conducted a company-wide all-hands meeting known as TGIF (Thank God It’s Friday) in New York this week, and Pichai was attacked by the employees with several tough questions related to potential layoffs, managing productivity and more, according to audio obtained by CNBC. It can be known that the recent all-hands meeting comes as Google parent Alphabet, Meta and other tech companies are staring into a slew of economic challenges.
According to a report by CNBC, Google CEO was asked why the company is slashing travel and swag budgets at a time when “Google has record profits and huge cash reserves.” Responding to which Pichai said, "How do I say it?" "Look, I hope all of you are reading the news, externally. The fact that you know, we are being a bit more responsible through one of the toughest macroeconomic conditions underway in the past decade, I think it’s important that as a company, we pull together to get through moments like this."
The CEO was asked in the meeting to explain the statement he gave regarding the 20 percent productivity goal while slowing hiring and investments. Replying to which he said, “I think you could be a 20-person team or a 100-person team, we are going to be constrained in our growth in a looking-ahead basis,” Pichai said. “Maybe you were planning on hiring six more people but maybe you are going to have to do with four and how are you going to make that happen? The answers are going to be different with different teams.”
“Sometimes we have a product launch process, which has probably, over many years, grown more complicated than maybe it needs to be,” Pichai said. “Can we look at that process and maybe remove two steps and that’ll be an example of making something 20% more efficient? I think all of us chipping in and doing that across all levels, I think can help the company. At our scale, there is no way we can solve that unless units of teams of all sizes do better,” he added.
While answering on how the company will share its plans for potential job cuts, Pichai said that telling the entire workforce of cuts is “not a scalable way to do it,” but he said he will “try and notify the company of the more important updates,” according to the report. Pichai also addressed cost cuts issue, and indicated Google’s culture can still be enjoyable even if some things are being taken away.
He said, "I remember when Google was small and scrappy.”
He added, “Fun didn’t always — we shouldn’t always equate fun with money. I think you can walk into a hard-working startup and people may be having fun and it shouldn’t always equate to money”.
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