Google parent company Alphabet held its regular all-hands meeting last week. In the meeting, CEO Sundar Pichai asked the company’s over 170,000 full-time employees for their input on how they can become more productive and efficient. As a result, Google launched a new initiative called “Simplicity Sprint” to “improve efficiency and employee focus during an uncertain economic environment,” according to CNBC.
Google’s all-hands meeting overview
The meeting occurred last Wednesday after Google reported its Q2 earnings on Tuesday. Unfortunately, the Q2 earnings and revenue of the company were “weaker than expected.” In addition, revenue growth plummeted to 13% in Q2 compared to 62% last year.
Pichai opened the meeting by saying, “I wanted to give some additional context following our earnings results and ask for your help as well. We are facing a challenging macro environment with more uncertainty ahead.” Then he added, “There are real concerns that our productivity as a whole is not where it needs to be for the headcount we have.”
Furthermore, Pichai urged employees to help “create a culture that is more mission-focused, more focused on our products, more customer focused. We should think about how we can minimize distractions and raise the bar on both product excellence and productivity.”
So, he asked all the company’s employees for their help. And then, he announced the launch of ‘Simplicity Sprint’ to “crowdsource ideas for quicker product development,” as per CNBC. Pichai stated that the company would let employees share their ideas through August 15 via an internal survey.
According to CNBC, “sprint is frequently used in software development and by tech startups to denote short, focused pushes toward a common goal.” Pichai says Simplicity Sprint will help the company “get better results faster.”
CNBC revealed some of the questions of the internal survey –
- What would help you work with greater clarity and efficiency to serve our users and customers?
- Where should we remove speed bumps to get better results faster?
- How do we eliminate waste and stay entrepreneurial and focused as we grow?
During the all-hands meeting, executives also expressed employees’ concerns over the possibility of layoffs. But, regarding that, Pichai let Fiona Cicconi, Google’s chief people officer, answer such queries. Cicconi said the company “doesn’t have plans for layoffs right now.” She said, “We’re asking teams to be more focused and efficient, and we’re working out what that means as a company. So even though we can’t be sure of the economy in the future, we’re not currently looking to reduce Google’s overall workforce.”
Cicconi further assured employees that despite the current trend of layoffs in other companies, “they’re still hiring for critical roles.” And she reiterated that it is Google’s “biggest hiring year in its history.” Besides, she is right. In Q2, Alphabet reported a boost in headcount to 21% to 174,014 employees, from 144,056 in 2021.
However, the company will be slowing the pace of hiring and investments in 2023 as Pichai noted in a previously internal memo that “we’re not immune to economic headwinds.” And asked employed to work “with greater urgency and more hunger than shown on sunnier days.”