Dissatisfied Google employees have put top executives on the hot seat a few times this year.
Most recently, they questioned CEO Sundar Pichai at a plenary meeting this week about cutting corporate spending amid a challenging economy, CNBC first report.
At the meeting, employees submitted questions through an internal Google tool, and colleagues then voted on popular questions for the executive to answer.
When asked why the company is constraining certain budgets, such as travel and entertainment, Pichai pointed to the possibility of an impending recession. “How do I say it?” he say. “We’re a little more accountable through one of the toughest macroeconomic conditions going on in the last decade.”
Pichai’s comment follows two-quarters of growth was smaller than expected for Google’s parent company Alphabet as the tech giant adapts to the post-pandemic economy. “We don’t always get to choose the macroeconomic conditions,” Pichai said.
During the meeting, other employees took aim at remarks Pichai made earlier this month about shooting for 20% increase productivity throughout the company.
Pichai tried to provide clarity in his answer, highlighting plans to slow future hiring. “Maybe you’re planning to hire six more people but maybe you’ll have to do with four and how are you going to make that happen?” he say. “The answers will be different with different teams.”
He also noted that the company hopes to streamline some of its operations. “Sometimes we have a product launch process that, maybe over the years, has become more complicated than it might be,” he said, noting that his 20% goal can be achieved by cut those complications. “At our size, there’s no way we can solve that unless team units of all sizes do better.”
During the meeting, Pichai also addressed the idea that cutting some perks shouldn’t signal a change in the company’s culture. “I remember when Google was small and sketchy,” he said. “We should not always equate joy with money.”
Earlier this year, Pichai and other executives staff question in another hands-on meeting focuses on the results of its annual ‘Googlegeist’ survey, which reveals employee dissatisfaction with compensation. At the time, it defended Google’s compensation, but said it would monitor employees’ growing dissatisfaction over the matter.
“This trend – it concerns us and we are watching it closely,” replied Brett Hill, vice president of corporate compensation.
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