Morale issues abound at Meta amid layoffs, Remote jobs become scarcer from outsourcing

Plus, Italy’s battle with ChatGPT.

Greetings, comms pros! Let’s look at some news stories from this week and see what lessons we can learn from them.

1 . Job cuts and absentee leadership create negative morale at Meta

Meta hasn’t had the easiest go of it lately, with reports of employee backlash after a round of layoffs earlier this year. Now the hit parade continues with reports of decreased morale in the face of adversity at the organization.

According to the New York Times:

The layoffs and absentee leadership, along with concerns that Mr. Zuckerberg is making a bad bet on the future, have devastated employee morale at Meta, according to nine current and former employees, as well as messages reviewed by The New York Times.

“So many of the employees feel like they’re in limbo right now,” said Erin Sumner, a global director of human resources at DeleteMe, who was laid off from Facebook in November. “They’re saying it’s ‘Hunger Games’ meets ‘Lord of the Flies,’ where everyone is trying to prove their worth to management.”

The piece went on to state that other big tech companies like Microsoft, Google and have also laid off workers in recent months, in addition to taking other measures to cut spending like eliminating employee perks.

When you’ve lost the enthusiasm and morale of your employees, it’s tough to come back to a state of normalcy. Maintaining a positive work culture is foundational to the success of any organization — and it’s just as critical to communicate with employees to keep them updated as the company goes through transition times. Keeping them in the dark or allowing confusion to take root can sow the seeds of resentment, negative reviews, proprietary leaks, mass resignations and much more.

2. Remote jobs are being outsourced as more employees return to office

If you’re looking for a full-time remote job, it might be getting a little tougher.

According to Insider:

As of March, roughly 13% of US job postings were remote, according to the staffing firm Manpower Group, down from 17% in March 2022 but up from the pre-pandemic level of 4%. By the end of 2023, Nick Bloom, Stanford economist and leading work-from-home researcher, previously told Insider that the share of remote postings could fall to 10%.

“Employees in the US still want fully remote roles but these are shrinking,” Bloom said, pointing to the businesses that have called employees back to the office at least a few days per week.

The report went on to say that some companies are choosing to offshore some jobs to save money — and that’s obviously a  bottom-line decision that doesn’t factor in employee experience — or opportunity cost. Organizations seeking to modify the work arrangements of their employees should always include data and employee feedback while taking individual circumstances into account. Remote work isn’t going away in the long term, and organizations that want to eliminate the option for new hires should consider how this will contribute to — or more likely detract from — their employee value proposition.

3. Italy gives OpenAI list of requirements to lift ban on ChatGPT

We’ve talked quite a bit here at Ragan about the impacts of generative AI on communicators. From how it’ll need to be talked about to employees to the implications of AI on the future of the workplace,  developments are happening so fast that there’s always much to be discussed.

But what about the potential restrictions that are put on AI software? That’s what Italy is dealing with right now — after banning the program amid privacy concerns and issuing requirements that will need to be fulfilled for ChatGPT’s creator, OpenAI, to operate.

Italy was the first country in Europe to put restrictions on ChatGPT, but its actions have attracted attention from lawmakers internationally, according to Reuters. Experts on AI have stated that some restrictions are needed on the tech in order to protect national security interests, employment prospects, and education.

This trend will bear watching as time goes on. With technology so new and capable of so much disruption in the marketplace, more governments might seek to enact specific regulations around what it can and cannot be used for. Whether this will happen stateside remains unclear, but any trends seeking to legislate AI is worth keeping an eye on in case of a potential domino effect.

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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