Google’s top executive told his employees that they need to improve their focus and productivity as the tech giant faces fierce economic headwinds that has employees worried they may lose their jobs.
Sundar Pichai, the CEO of Google’s parent company Alphabet, told his employees in an all-hands meeting on Wednesday that he would be soliciting ideas on how best to get “better results faster.”
“I wanted to give some additional context following our earnings results, and ask for your help as well,” Pichai told his employees in comments first reported by CNBC.
“It’s clear we are facing a challenging macro environment with more uncertainty ahead.”
He added: “There are real concerns that our productivity as a whole is not where it needs to be for the head count we have.”
Pichai wants to solicit employee input as to how the company can “create a culture that is more mission-focused, more focused on our products, more customer focused.”
“We should think about how we can minimize distractions and really raise the bar on both product excellence and productivity,” he said.
Last week, Alphabet reported its slowest quarterly revenue growth in two years as the digital advertising market is feeling the pinch of an economic recession.
In the three-month period which ended in June, Alphabet generated $69.7 billion — a 13% increase from the same quarter last year.
But it was the lowest rate of growth since the second quarter of 2020, when the company reported its only year-over-year revenue decline in its history.
In order to turn things around, Pichai announced the launch of “Simplicity Sprint,” a new initiative whereby management invites employees to pitch ideas as to how to streamline productivity and expedite product development.
Pichai told his employees that the initiative is aimed at getting “better results faster.”
Management handed out an internal survey to employees who are invited to jot down ideas.
The survey includes questions such as: “What would help you work with greater clarity and efficiency to serve our users and customers? Where should we remove speed bumps to get to better results faster? How do we eliminate waste and stay entrepreneurial and focused as we grow?”
Executives also tried to ease concern among workers that layoffs were in the offing.
Google’s chief people officer, Fiona Cicconi, told employees that the company continues to hire and that at the moment there were no plans to lay people off.
Ominously, she did not rule out layoffs in the future.
“We’re asking teams to be more focused and efficient and we’re working out what that means as a company as well,” Cicconi said.
“Even though we can’t be sure of the economy in the future, we’re not currently looking to reduce Google’s overall workforce.”
Cicconi added: “I really get that there is some anxiety around this based on what we’re hearing from other companies and what they’re doing and as Sundar mentioned, we’re still hiring for critical roles.”