Google asks employees for ideas on improving productivity • The Register

Google is asking its 174,000 domain employees to improve efficiency and ways to boost productivity on the back of last week’s less glitzy financial results and an uncertain global economy.

The call to arms was discussed at a regular town hall meeting on July 27 where staff raised concerns about the layoffs, and Google parent Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai asked for recommendations, according to reports. sources consulted by CNBC and documents from the event.

“I wanted to provide some additional context following our revenue results and ask for your help as well,” Pichai said. “Clearly we face a challenging macroeconomic environment with more uncertainty ahead.”

Alphabet released calendar second-quarter financials the day before – July 26 – that showed a 13% increase in revenue to $69.86 billion, considerably slower than the 62% expansion seen over the past year. the previous fiscal year when the pandemic was still in full swing.

“There are real concerns that our productivity as a whole is not where it should be for the number of employees we have,” Pichai told workers at the town hall meeting.

The boss further urged workers to “create a culture that is more mission-driven, more product-driven, more customer-driven. We should think about how we can minimize distractions and really raise the bar for product excellence and productivity. »

Under the title Simplicity Sprint, the company wants Googlers to publish their ideas in an internal survey with a deadline of the middle of this month.

Questions include, according to CNBC: “What would help you work with more clarity and efficiency to serve our users and customers? Where should we remove speed bumps to get better results more quickly? How do we eliminate waste and stay enterprising and focused as we grow?”

The tone of Pichai’s speech spooked some Google employees, with one asking if any layoffs were on the horizon. Company executives did not provide a firm no.

“We’re asking teams to be more focused and efficient and we’re also thinking about what that means as a business. While we can’t be sure about the future economy, we are not currently looking to reduce Google’s overall workforce,” said Fiona Cicconi, Google’s chief human resources officer.

“I really understand that there is some anxiety about this due to what we hear from other companies and what they are doing and as Sundar mentioned we are still hiring for critical positions” , she added.

In mid-July, it emerged that Google was “slowing the pace of hiring for the remainder of the year, while supporting our most important opportunities.” He would still focus on “engineering, technical and other critical roles”.

This all comes at a time when tech giants are watching every customer move with interest as clouds gather over the economy.

Google’s latest results were in line with Wall Street expectations, but growth rates were most modest in digital advertising – Google’s core business – and the Cloud division posted bigger losses than there are. a year.

Alphabet’s chief financial officer, Ruth Porat, said the company is “investing to support long-term growth and given the benefits we are seeing… looking at the path to profitability.”

No leader was willing to say when that day might come. Maybe the employees can help. ®

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