May 15, 2022
Photo: Wes Hicks via Unsplash
Welcome back to our Workplace newsletter. Today: Allison Levitsky on how to fire people remotely, Lizzy Lawrence on why your video meetings don’t have to be so lame and a survey on the key to employee retention.
— Michelle Ma, reporter (email | twitter)
It’s true: Layoffs are spreading in Silicon Valley. As companies that over-hired break tough news to a workforce that’s largely remote or hybrid, layoff etiquette has never been more confusing.
With 2,500 layoffs this week, Carvana is the latest company to fumble its layoff announcement with a mass Zoom call. A spokesperson said that fewer than half of its employees learned of the layoff this way, but those who were on the call still weren’t happy about it.
Personal follow-ups with individual managers are the key to making a Zoom layoff less painful, said Sandra Sucher, the Harvard Business School professor who wrote “The Power of Trust: How Companies Build It, Lose It, Regain It.” The mass Zoom call or email gives the CEO or business leader an important platform to apologize and take responsibility for the decisions that led to the layoff, she said.
Others disagree. A former Better.com executive described that company’s Zoom layoffs as “barbaric” and “inhumane.” Large Zoom calls aren’t the right approach to layoffs, according to that exec.
One regret many companies are bound to have: Don’t over-hire in the first place. That’s one lesson that Khaled Hussein learned when he laid off almost half of his employees at Tilt, the startup he sold to Airbnb in 2017.
The distributed workforce isn’t going anywhere and neither are our video calls. Google is trying to make them better with AI, but a former Evernote CEO is trying something a little different. The company that started in 2020 focused on helping people who cared deeply about creating impressive video presentations is now courting the casual user. Mmhmm has launched a web-based product that lets people record, watch and talk over video together, combining the synchronous (live video) and asynchronous (recorded video) parts of the product to fit the ever-evolving needs of hybrid life.
100% of C-suite staff surveyed by Workplace by Meta said that frontline workers were a strategic priority for their business in 2022, but nearly two in three of them said that keeping their frontline staff, who bear the brunt of the stresses of the workplace most acutely, had only become a priority since the pandemic hit.
According to survey data from Kizen, a software startup based in Austin, Texas, the biggest drivers of dissatisfaction in the workplace are office culture, money and a bad manager. But when asked what they disliked most about their jobs, the majority of workers (24%) answered “nothing.” ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Twitter just ousted two of its top leaders. One of them is on paternity leave right now.
Protocol interviewed Mark Zuckerberg about Meta’s VR ambitions.
Another sign of the times: SoftBank is cutting its startup investments by 50-75%.How do you calculate work-from-home carbon emissions? Depends on who you ask.
Businesses are starting to turn to workplace communication tools. Such tools enable frontline workers to feel more connected to the rest of their business, to raise concerns and to provide feedback on potential pain points or points of improvement. By bridging that divide, companies can unlock new savings and efficiencies, and build a business that can last for the long run.
A roundup of workplace news from the farthest corners of the internet.
Confessions of a chief happiness officer
Leaked memo: Here are Apple’s anti-union talking points for store managers
Starbucks workers are inspiring Amazon’s union organizers
The key to retaining younger workers? Better onboarding.The expert who coined the term “The Great Resignation”: “We’re not going back.”
Thoughts, questions, tips? Send them to firstname.lastname@example.org. Have a great day, see you Tuesday.