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The culture tech companies worked so hard to nurture is being lost amid layoffs


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Companies like Amazon AMZN and Meta are laying off thousands of employees to cut costs, but in the process they’re losing something of unquantifiable value: workplace culture. Whatever the business standards used, cuts must pass a cultural test if they are to avoid paying for long-term toxicity consequences in the workplace. We need to get the human side right, like putting reliability first.

Businesses must not only curb spending, but deal with the looming recession. On the one hand, the consequences of hastily and poorly coordinated fires can be costly. The need to rehire talent, unexpected turnover, uncertain economic bottlenecks and, ironically, a still-tight labor market can turn into a management nightmare. Meanwhile, the rest of the workforce will be left in a workplace that has changed so much that de-engagement and quiet retirements could become the new normal.

Management of business-based rights

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Distribute the pain only if your talents are evenly distributed. Reducing a certain percentage of employees across all teams assumes that talent is fungible and uniformly composed of equal shares of top, average, and below-average performers. With these assumptions in place, performing an even cut makes sense and simplifies the decision-making process. Additionally, this method spreads the pain across the team, so cuts may not seem unfair if there are no over- or under-performing groups.

If high growth is your criteria for selection, be sure to address backlash. Unequal growth across business lines may justify targeting low-growth teams first. Take Amazon layoffs, for example. Due to the lower margins associated with this line of business, Alexa-enabled devices have had a greater impact than others. But while this approach may sound reasonable, employees will feel they are paying a price for senior management’s inefficient decisions. After all, if your business isn’t profitable enough, isn’t it because of poor strategic decisions and unfilled operational gaps?

Innovation is prioritized only by those who believe in it. Companies like Meta, which has cut headcount to keep costs down but are focused on new product development, may be motivated to save the manpower needed for these new initiatives. Unsurprisingly, a former Meta employee reported that the criteria behind the cut were unclear, leaving even top performers with the ax in hand.

It makes sense; with fewer employees, Meta may want to ensure that those remaining on staff can contribute to both mature and new products. However, if innovation is a priority for headcount reduction, retaining those who believe in trying new things may be just as important as retaining the right technical talent.

Use the possibilities to never miss your top learners. Leaders making cutbacks should consider their employees’ growth potential, not just individual performance. Within this frame, more evaluation takes place. For organizations looking to reduce costs and improve productivity, removing dead branches that are less likely to underperform is the safest choice. Likewise, it’s easy to retain stars who are potential top performers.

But when producers are less likely to grow and contribute more, and learners are more likely to underperform, the choice becomes less straightforward.

Producers can be evaluated in terms of small contributions, such as their impact on high-growth teams/businesses. Although pricey, these mature performers may offer more than the company’s cost.

Among the learners, the choice of who to keep is not so clear. Some employees in this group may need more experience to catch up. Some perform below expectations due to underlying work culture and business strategy gaps. In either situation, cuts can lead to false negatives.

Finally, one of the key questions for all organizations undergoing headcount reduction is whether optimizing the current talent pool requires better fit across key groups and roles. is. For example, companies should evaluate whether team placement of stars, producers, and learners maximizes the impact and growth of these contributors.

pass the culture test

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Assessing the transparency and fairness of the layoff criteria an organization wants to use is essential, but it also needs to consider what role bias, narrative and change might play. By making these assessments and readjusting accordingly, you can reduce the negative impact of layoffs on workplace culture.

Manage bias. At a minimum, passing the culture test means an organization resists the temptation to abandon troublemakers. This group of employees consists of people who are not afraid to give feedback and change the status quo, and move to the top of the list when managers have to decide who to fire. often

But managing the cultural biases that can lead to layoffs also means making layoffs that aren’t grounded in implicit talent theory. These deep-rooted but largely imprecise beliefs about which talents will give the best returns often lead to false positives and mistakes, while at the same time promoting unnecessary wastage.

And there are other things to consider.

Manage paradoxes. With the endless potential of current workforce reductions, laying off employees can be a high cultural cost for most tech companies. Organizations have always made employees feel like they are part of an exclusive club by pampering them with lavish perks and unique work environments. Now that story sounds paradoxical.

If a company filters out substandard talent, that means the genius pool story is inaccurate. Let Therefore, to manage the upcoming layoff process, work design and perception processes should be used to increase employee self-efficacy and give them the opportunity to influence the rest of the staff.

However, if the current outflow of talent is top notch, it can spread perceptions of injustice. For example, employees may feel they are paying the price for poor management decisions. Or they may believe they are being sacrificed to reassure shareholders that the business is being managed more sensibly. In this scenario, not only is trust eroded, but employees are more likely to lose engagement and turn over.

Manage Evolution. The human side of the layoff process proves to be just as important as meeting business priorities, so companies need to be honest with their employees and hold them accountable for their accidents. Similarly, organizations must avoid spreading false myths about growth as they part with the old genius culture. Finally, as they look to what comes next, they look forward with a true sense of purpose and a holistic and transformative vision of the value they are entrusted with creating. Through these readjustments, they not only manage their recent U-turns more effectively, but also lay the groundwork for evolving and returning to the ascent cycle faster.




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