Facebook employees fear cuts after explicit warnings from Zuckerberg’s leaders

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Facebook has a message for employees, one that has been delivered relentlessly by executives in recent weeks: It’s time to get in shape.

In a note earlier this month, the company’s chief human resources officer advised team leaders to return to the “rigorous performance management” practices Facebook used before the coronavirus pandemic, including providing critical feedback to struggling employees.

“If someone is still unable to meet expectations with this additional support, moving them out of the Meta is the right thing to do,” Laurie Guler wrote in a note seen by The Washington Post.

The letter, one of several such recent messages to the social media giant’s workforce, is part of a broader crackdown after years of lax management practices, according to current and former employees who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive and internal matters. Postings of letters obtained by The Washington Post.

Facebook executives have issued an astonishing number of directives, defining a new era of higher performance expectations and slower hiring as the company emerges from the pandemic with a growing list of economic challenges.

“The atmosphere is intense,” said one employee. “People know budgets are being cut.”

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Rude messages from company leaders have created a wave of anxiety and resentment among the Facebook workforce as many employees question the company’s new priorities. It will affect their careers, according to current and former employees. Some are concerned about the possibility of losing their jobs or having their annual bonus cut. Others worry that the company’s already rigorous environment will grow more competitive as employees race for fewer promotions and more desirable positions and jobs, people said.

“Any company that wants to have a lasting impact must practice disciplined prioritization and work with a high level of intensity to reach goals,” Facebook spokesman Tracy Clayton said in a statement.

Once a symbol of Silicon Valley’s prosperity, Facebook has for years been offering its employees cutting-edge perks like free food, generous family benefits and some of the highest salaries across the tech industry. The lucrative compensation, coupled with the allure of tackling exciting problems at a company changing the way billions communicate, has given Facebook an edge to recruit and retain outstanding talent.

And now that uncertainty is beginning to unravel as Facebook grapples with both the macroeconomic challenges that bring down many tech companies and specific threats to its business. The company’s stock price has been cut in half this year, after dismal earnings in March Reflecting that its advertising activity has been hurt by Apple’s decision to impose a new privacy rule to prevent data collection for targeted ads.

Meanwhile, growth in its leadership The social network stopped for the first time In the past year, the company has faced unprecedented competition for young users, creators and advertisers from newer social media platforms, such as TikTok and Snapchat.

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The company changed its name last year to Meta, reflecting a big bet for its future in building the so-called metaverse. The department aims to build immersive digital worlds that can be accessed by virtual reality devices, and is currently a money-losing endeavor, according to company filings.

This means that many Facebook managers and HR reps are required to take on an entirely new responsibility: leading a workforce of 77,000 members through a downturn.

“Sentiment, not just at Facebook but across big tech, has plummeted because it has been a fairy tale over the past decade,” said Dan Ives, an analyst at financial services firm Wedbush Securities. Now, among the specific business challenges associated with metavir, “it’s a darker chapter for the company that they need to navigate.”

There are signs that Facebook is making changes. The company recently repurposed people away from the Facebook News tab and Bulletin newsletter platform as these teams focus on attracting creators to their social networks, according to the company. And at least one full-time employee has already been told that his role is no longer necessary and must find another job within the company or leave, according to An employee familiar with the matter.

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Facebook’s head of diversity, Maxine Williams, said in an interview last week that the company had not imposed a formal hiring freeze, but acknowledged changing some hiring targets for certain roles or departments. She said team leaders are required to consider which open roles are really necessary and which are not. Williams said managers may also move employees from lower priority roles to more important projects.

“How we do it is kind of reminding managers as if you need to focus,” Williams said. “If we don’t focus well, we’ll be scattered all over the place, doing everything and doing nothing well.”

Zuckerberg and other executives have also indicated in recent weeks that it is time for employees who do not meet the company’s standards. Maher Saba, Facebook’s head of engineering, sent a note to managers earlier this month encouraging them to identify low performers and place them in an internal HR system. “As a manager, you can’t allow anyone to be neutral or negative for Meta,” Saba said.

Many inside Facebook are wary of strong rhetoric from executives about the need to weed out low performers and it’s just a cover to start making even bigger cuts — ones that might include adequately performing workers. This concern was evident in Blind, a workplace app that gives users with Facebook email unrestricted access to a private and anonymous message board.

The forum, which is usually a place where Facebook employees give their unequivocal opinions about their workplace, has in recent weeks become a breeding ground for worker resentment, concern about the company’s financial direction, and concern about the future with the company, according to the messages. Viewed by The Washington Post.

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“It’s so sad [that] After many years in dead things [are going down] This path, culture is going to hell,” one user wrote. “Before you say that, I’m leaving, just waiting for my September extra pay because I worked so hard to earn it.”

“Does anyone feel safe here?” Post another employee.

Williams and others within Facebook have argued that executives’ focus on targeting low performers reflects a desire to inculcate the rigorous culture of employee performance management that existed before the pandemic. In early 2020, Facebook suspended biannual performance reviews and offered generous covid-19 leave policies so employees feel free to juggle the demands of home and their jobs.

Some employees agree that Facebook’s management culture has become – in some cases – too weak during the pandemic.

That likely depends on when the employee started working at Facebook, and how long they’ve been in the workforce, Williams said. It is possible that those who have worked in other companies have experienced this culture before.

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But Facebook workers also fear that economic uncertainty and the tightening of the company’s belt will make it harder to get promotions, better salaries or more lucrative bonuses, People said.

In Silicon Valley, stocks typically make up a large part of the compensation, and the decline makes it more difficult for companies to attract and retain talent.

One Blind user wrote: “I’m honestly just thinking about taking a break and living off the savings or doing something simple until this economic cycle passes.” “I don’t want to work under constant pressure.”

Another factor adding to the uncertainty is the company’s shift from a twice-yearly schedule to performance reviews. Clayton said in a statement that the company has adopted the new modelAnd the With one review each year, “to better reflect the direction of the company with remote work in mind.” He added that employees “have always been responsible for a goal-based, high-performance culture.”

Usually, managers have been advised to give a wide range of ratings to their reports from that employee who only meets certain expectations From their job to this factor is to redefine their role expectations, according to current and former employees.

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Then managers — in coordination with HR — made sure the ratings were “calibrated” across teams, with at least some employees getting lower ratings, the people said.

While the solidity of the process seemed fair on paper, in practice it means that some good workers end up with lower grades simply because their manager is under pressure to fill the category, according to some employees. If Facebook wanted to reduce the size of its workforce, it could make it difficult to achieve higher ratings and make it easier to get lower ratings.

“This feels like a shift in the internal culture. Krystal Patterson, a former . said Facebook lobby member. “The evaluation process is naturally stressful. The bar is very high there.”

Elizabeth Duskin contributed to the report.

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