Google workers demand ‘psychological safety’ from bosses after mass layoffs

Google workers who survived the company’s recent purge of 12,000 of their former colleagues questioned executives at a tense town hall meeting on Monday – anxiously demanding assurances that their jobs won’t be next on the chopping block .

A UK-based Google employee told management that “psychological safety is paramount” after parent company Alphabet Inc. lost around 6% of its full-time workforce.

The employee was outraged that among those fired by Google were high performers and people with immigration visas.

“How are we supposed to feel safe again? wondered the employee. His comments were reported by Insider.

Workers at the tech giant appeared to be struggling to process the news.

“Layoffs seem random,” wrote one employee in a question that was submitted to superiors through Google’s internal messaging system, Dory.

Google CEO Sundar Pichai has denied that the layoffs of 12,000 employees were random.
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“I’m pro-Google, but I’m pretty shaken up right now. Help me understand.”

Another employee also wondered why the company fired those who were considered high performers.

“Should I continue to work very hard? Does it matter?” wondered the employee.

Google CEO Sundar Pichai has denied the layoffs were random and urged his managers to stay focused on their jobs as the company navigates tough economic terrain that has forced other tech giants to eliminate workers.

“I understand that you are worried about the continuation of your work,” Pichai said. His comments were reported by CNBC.

Pichai acknowledged that he was “also very sad about the loss of very good colleagues throughout the company”.

“For those of you outside of the United States, the delay in being able to make and communicate decisions about roles in your region is undoubtedly causing anxiety,” the CEO said.

Pichai revealed at the meeting that he consulted with Google co-founders and majority shareholders Sergey Brin and Larry Page, as well as board members before proceeding with the layoffs.

He said Google launched a hiring wave in 2021, which Pichai called “one of the strongest years we’ve ever had in company history.”

Google’s revenue jumped 41% this year, according to Pichai, who estimates the company was on the same growth trajectory for 2022.

“In this context, we made a set of decisions that could have been good if the trends continued,” Pichai said.

“You have to remember that if the trend had continued and we hadn’t hired to keep up, we would have fallen behind in many areas as a business.”

He added that executives would have to agree to pay cuts and reductions in their annual bonus, although he did not give details.

Other Google executives said some 750 top executives spent weeks trying to figure out which employees would be fired.

Other tech giants like Amazon, Microsoft, Twitter, Meta and Snap have also laid off large numbers of employees in recent months.

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