Zuckerberg sends memo about layoffs to Meta workers, Musk bans Twitter employees from working at home

Plus, a look at whether or not laid-off Beyond Meat employees are falling on the sword for poor management.

1. Mark Zuckerberg sends employees a memo announcing Meta layoffs plans to lay off more than 11,000 people

Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg sent a memo around to employees announcing that the organization is laying off more than 11,000 people — around  13% of its workforce.

In the memo, Zuckerberg explained the reasoning behind the layoffs:

At the start of Covid, the world rapidly moved online and the surge of e-commerce led to outsized revenue growth. Many people predicted this would be a permanent acceleration that would continue even after the pandemic ended. I did too, so I made the decision to significantly increase our investments. Unfortunately, this did not play out the way I expected. Not only has online commerce returned to prior trends, but the macroeconomic downturn, increased competition, and ads signal loss have caused our revenue to be much lower than I’d expected. I got this wrong, and I take responsibility for that.

In this new environment, we need to become more capital efficient. We’ve shifted more of our resources onto a smaller number of high priority growth areas — like our AI discovery engine, our ads and business platforms, and our long-term vision for the metaverse. We’ve cut costs across our business, including scaling back budgets, reducing perks, and shrinking our real estate footprint. We’re restructuring teams to increase our efficiency. But these measures alone won’t bring our expenses in line with our revenue growth, so I’ve also made the hard decision to let people go.

 Later in the memo, Zuckerberg outlined some of the details of the layoff, including the fact that affected employees will receive 16 weeks of severance, six months of healthcare, and payment for any remaining PTO time.

Although layoffs at Meta have been speculated for a while, Zuckerberg led with an employee-first approach, outlining a clear path forward and answering how employees will be affected by the layoffs. Most importantly, Zuckerberg’s messaging points to why the process is happening. If you’re going to have to share bad news internally and you have too many employees to do it in a one-on-one situation, taking this approach makes the situation more personal and human, acknowledging how the employee experience will be affected and demonstrating that the company is still considering them as part of the layoff process.

2. Elon Musk bans Twitter employees from working remotely

The hit parade of questionable Elon Musk decisions marches on. In his latest controversy, Musk announced a ban on remote work at Twitter.

According to Engadget:

Elon Musk has banned Twitter employees from working remotely, saying they need to spend 40 hours a week in the office unless he gives his express permission otherwise. Bloomberg reported from the company’s first official all-hands communications from Musk since bought the platform. He said workers need to prepare for “difficult times ahead” for advertising-led business like Twitter, and that he wants to see subscription fees account for half the company’s revenue.

Musk has banned remote work at Tesla and SpaceX too, but the Twitter remote work ban is notable for a few reasons. First, Twitter had built its business model over the last few years around a situation in which employees could work remotely no matter what. To pull that back from thousands of workers without notice or communication creates a litany of other issues for employees without any managers or processes in place to protect the employee experience.

It’s also important to note that this move is the latest in a string of odd moves by Musk since taking over Twitter which included his decision to allow verification to all users for a fee, potentially giving rise to misinformation, to eliminating “days of rest” that Twitter employees had instituted to give their employees a break each month. To cap it all off, Musk let go of a group of Twitter employees, only to beg some to come back the next week.

To put it bluntly, this is not how you should handle communications with your employees. Talk to them, find out why things are working for them, and go from there. If you’re treating things like a despot, it’s not likely to work out for you.


3. Are laid-off employees at Beyond Meat the scapegoat for bad management?

Last month, Beyond Meat laid off about 4% of its workforce due to what it called difficult economic conditions. However, Forbes contributor Michele Simon argues that the former employees might be catching the brunt of some bad decision-making and hires.

According to Forbes:

Mismanagement is also apparent from the various shake-ups in C-suite positions, raising serious questions about Beyond Meat’s leadership’s decision-making (and corporate culture) when it comes to hiring the right people.

The nose-biting COO Doug Ramsey is the most blatant example. As a refresher, Ramsey was arrested in September for allegedly biting a man’s nose following a college football game in Arkansas. Ramsey left Beyond Meat in October after the company suspended him.

The piece goes on to state that C-level executives have bloated compensation packages that ultimately ended up costing lower-level employees their jobs. With a 91:1 ratio between CEO pay and typical staff pay, there’s a large gap to overcome at Beyond Meat.

The main lesson here is one of self-awareness. Everyone is going through tough economic times. But if you’re going to find something to blame, don’t blame those who work hard on your behalf when you make bad choices.

4. How about some good news?

Have a great weekend, comms all-stars!

Sean Devlin is an editor at Ragan Communications. In his spare time he enjoys Philly sports, a good pint and ’90s trivia night.


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