Meta’s ‘efficiency’ layoffs take a toll on employee productivity

Meta, which owns Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp, said the layoffs were necessary to improve efficiency

Meta Platforms Inc. employees received news of the final round of previously announced job cuts on Wednesday, affecting thousands of employees across the company’s business divisions. Now, the remaining employees are holding out hope that an uneasy standoff at the company may be coming to an end.

In March, the restructuring was announced by CEO Mark Zuckerberg to eliminate 10,000 positions. The initial cutbacks affected the company’s recruiting and human resources departments, and in late April, jobs were slashed in Meta’s technical groups. Zuckerberg has said further reductions will come only in a “small number of cases” for the rest of the year, giving those in need a cool sense of relief.

The company, which owns Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp, said the layoffs were necessary to improve efficiency after over-hiring during the pandemic. Meta promised rapid product development and decision making that sent its shares up more than 100% so far this year. But the employees said that some important work and planning has come to a standstill. Notably, Meta is still deciding on its product roadmap for the rest of the year while the tech group organizes resources following the cuts, said a person familiar with the matter.

During the limbo, employees have been unsure with whom to collaborate, how to shift responsibilities on their teams or who will be cut, according to current and recently departed employees, who asked not to discuss internal issues. Zuckerberg announced which business units would be affected weeks in advance, leaving workers anxious and demoralized, fending for themselves or avoiding work until there were clear instructions, others said.

The fired employees were notified in person by email at 5 a.m. in San Francisco, one of the people said, and Zuckerberg plans to address those out of a job this morning. In some countries, a large part of the local workforce has been affected. In Ireland, Meta said on Wednesday it expected to eliminate around 490 roles across a range of teams, including finance, sales, marketing and engineering. The company had earlier also shut down its entire Instagram presence in London.

A spokeswoman for Meta declined to comment.

The third round of cuts this year follows a 13% reduction in Meta’s workforce in November – its first major layoff ever. The company is in a hiring freeze for most roles at once, and is going through the process of asking middle managers to become individual contributors, or in some cases risk losing their jobs.

Executives have attributed the rush of hiring during the pandemic, when people were stuck at home, to spending more time online on Meta’s social media platforms and increased advertising dollars. Then annual revenue growth declined for the first time last year as the economy looked less certain and Apple Inc. The changes made digital advertising less effective, prompting marketers to scale back spending. Due to falling sales, Meta faced harsh scrutiny over the billions of dollars it spends on a virtual reality platform called Metaverse, a business line that could take a decade to make money, and investors drove the stock down 64%. . Worst year on record.

In February, Zuckerberg announced that 2023 would be the “year of efficiency”, sending the stock up 23% in one day and validating cost-cutting measures. Even as the company is laying off employees, it continues to plow billions of dollars into infrastructure improvements for artificial intelligence technology and Zuckerberg’s vision of the metaverse.