September 26, 2022: -As Google tries to navigate an unfamiliar environment of slowing growth, cost-cutting, and employee dissent over cultural changes, CEO Sundar Pichai finds himself on the defensive.
At a companywide all-hands, Pichai was faced with tough questions from employees about cuts to travel and entertainment budgets, which manages productivity, and potential layoffs, according to audio coming.
Pichai questioned, in a question that was highly rated by staffers on Google’s internal Dory system, which is the reason the company is “nickel-and-diming employees,” which slashes travel and swag budgets at a time when “Google is having record profits and huge cash reserves,” as it did come out of the Covid pandemic.
“How do I say it?” Pichai started his measured response. “Look, I hope all which reads the news externally. Because you know, we are being a bit more responsible through one of the toughest macroeconomic conditions underway in the past decade, and I think it’s important that we pull together to get through moments like this as a company.”
The recent all-hands meeting comes as Google parent Alphabet, Meta, and different tech companies are noticing a slew of economic challenges, which include a potential recession that soars inflation, rising interest rates, and tempered ad spending. For the past decade-plus, companies known for high growth and an abundance of fun perks are seeing what it’s like on a different side.
In July, Alphabet said its second consecutive quarter of weaker-than-expected earnings and revenue. The third-quarter sales increase is expected to dip into the single digits, down from more than 40% a year earlier. Pichai is admitting that it’s not just the economy that challenges Google but also an expanding bureaucracy at Google.
Still, he sometimes sounded annoyed in the meeting and reminded staffers, “We don’t get to choose the macroeconomic conditions always.”
Following the company’s headcount ballooning during the pandemic, CFO Ruth Porat said she expects a few economic issues to persist in the closest term. Google is canceling the following generation of its Pixelbook laptop and cutting the budget to its Area 120 in-house incubator.