" ITREALMS: Telecoms Clinic: Harvest of layoffs & Tech governance - ITREALMS

Monday, February 06, 2023

Telecoms Clinic: Harvest of layoffs & Tech governance - ITREALMS

Telecoms Clinic@ITREALMS ... making leadership SENSE with digital news!
Since the last quarter of 2022, the technology industry globally has witnessed series of layoffs. REMMY NWEKE now asked about the impact of good corporate governance, inclusion and expulsion in this seasons of layoffs.
Telecoms Clinic: Tech governance & harvest of layoffs - ITREALMS

In the beginning:

A 25-year old lady, Minat, until January 20, literally worked in what nowadays is famed as one of the technology industry companies as a ‘design engineer’ and during the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown, she got serious with her relationship and took it to the next level. Today, she has a daughter, about two years old and she just delivered a baby son during the last quarter of 2022. In fact, she was on maternity leave till this moment.

Experts have overwhelmingly defined technology industry as strictly companies that design, manufacture, or distribute electronic devices such as computers, computer-related equipment, computer services and software, scientific instruments, and electronic components and products, to name but a few.

Minat is also married to another tech industry person, a software engineer, Isiaku. They met at the company and became close and can be described as young couple. While Minat has worked in the company for some four years, Isiaku has been there for a decade. Both woke up penultimate Friday to behold that they have been laid off without any prior notice, just their workplace access were blocked except for an electronic mail (email) from the Chief Executive Officer (CEO), entitled "A difficult decision to set us up for the future."

The email was sent by CEO of Google and Alphabet, Mr. Sundar Pichai on Friday, January 20, 2023 to members of staff fondly called Googlers and the above scenario of Minat and Isiaku became the lot of some 12,000 employees, with various tales of woes, though some with gleam of light since death is not involved or recorded.

For the avoidance of doubt, since last quarter of 2022, many technology companies like Meta was reported to have sacked 11,000; Microsoft – 10,000; Amazon – 18,000; Twitter -, 3,750 and now Google – 12,000, in order to increase profit margins in their books. But Google layoff seems to be of extreme due to the timing and latel procedure which many including some Googlers saw as betrayal and stab on the back for knowledge workers; because most of them did not precisely understand the criterion for the layoff other than profit margins.

According to open sourced online encyclopedia, Wikipedia, "Knowledge workers are those whose main capital is knowledge. Examples include programmers, physicians, pharmacists, architects, engineers, scientists, design thinkers, public accountants, lawyers, editors, and academics, whose job is to "think for a living". In other-words, all those working in technology industry could best be described as knowledge workers.

The two minutes email:

In the two-minute read email, the CEO of Google and Alphabet, Pichai sent to Googlers, saying he had some difficult news to share and they, obviously at management, have decided to reduce workforce by approximately 12,000 roles. They have already sent a separate email to employees in the United States (US) who are affected. In other countries, this process will take longer due to local laws and practices.

“This will mean saying goodbye to some incredibly talented people we worked hard to hire and have loved working with. I’m deeply sorry for that. The fact that these changes will impact the lives of Googlers weighs heavily on me, and I take full responsibility for the decisions that led us here.

“Over the past two years we’ve seen periods of dramatic growth. To match and fuel that growth, we hired for a different economic reality than the one we face today. I am confident about the huge opportunity in front of us thanks to the strength of our mission, the value of our products and services, and our early investments in AI - Artificial Intelligence. To fully capture it, we’ll need to make tough choices. So, we’ve undertaken a rigorous review across product areas and functions to ensure that our people and roles are aligned with our highest priorities as a company. The roles we’re eliminating reflect the outcome of that review. They cut across Alphabet, product areas, functions, levels and regions.

“To the Googlers who are leaving us: Thank you for working so hard to help people and businesses everywhere. Your contributions have been invaluable and we are grateful for them. While this transition won’t be easy, we’re going to support employees as they look for their next opportunity.

In the US ...:

“We’ll pay employees during the full notification period (minimum 60 days). We’ll also offer a severance package starting at 16 weeks salary plus two weeks for every additional year at Google, and accelerate at least 16 weeks of GSU - Google Stock Unit – vesting. We’ll pay 2022 bonuses and remaining vacation time. We’ll be offering 6 months of healthcare, job placement services, and immigration support for those affected,” Pichai said, stressing that outside the US, they will support employees in line with local practices.

He pointed out that as an almost 25-year-old company, Google is bound to go through difficult economic cycles, which he said are important moments to sharpen the focus, re-engineer cost base, and direct talent and capital to the highest priorities. The CEO recognised that being constrained in some areas allowed them to bet big on others, thereby “Pivoting the company to be AI-first years ago led to groundbreaking advances across our businesses and the whole industry.”

In appreciating those early investments, Pichai noted that Google’s products are better than ever, and as they even get ready to share some entirely new experiences for users, developers and businesses, too. Promising that they have a substantial opportunity in front of them with AI across all products and are prepared to approach it boldly and responsibly.

However, Pichai said, “All this work is a continuation of the “healthy disregard for the impossible” that’s been core to our culture from the beginning. When I look around Google today, I see that same spirit and energy driving our efforts. That’s why I remain optimistic about our ability to deliver on our mission, even on our toughest days. Today is certainly one of them.”

So, what is good corporate governance?

Governance experts at Chron.com, outlined some seven characteristics of a good corporate governance to include 'Clear organizational strategy; Effective risk management; Discipline and Commitment; Fairness to Employees and Customers; Transparency and information sharing; Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR); and Regular Self-Evaluation.'

The major concern on this table is "Fairness to Employees and Customers" and whether if all the tech companies that laid off employees lately, even-though employers, have the right, were they right in the manner they went about it?

On Fairness to Employees and Customers:

As said by Chron.com experts, "Fairness must always be a high priority for management. For example, managers must push their employees to be their best, but they should also recognize that a heavy workload can have negative long-term effects, such as low morale and high turnover." Companies, they also said, must be fair to their customers, both for ethical and public-relations reasons. Treating customers unfairly, whatever the short-term benefits, always hurts a company’s long-term prospects.

Employment Relationship:

The International Labour Organisation (ILO) posited that the employment relationship is the legal link between employers and employees. It exists when a person performs work or services under certain conditions in return for remuneration. However, that reciprocal rights and obligations have continued to be, the main vehicle through which workers gain access to the rights and benefits associated with employment in the areas of labour law and social security. Thus, the key reference for determining the nature and extent of employers' rights and obligations towards their workers.

The issue became increasingly widespread phenomenon for dependent workers who lack protection because of one or a combination summed up in a general discourse at the 2006 International Labour Conference which led to adoption of the Recommendation (No. 198) inter alia "the formulation and application of a national policy for reviewing at appropriate intervals and, if necessary, clarifying and adapting the scope of relevant laws and regulations, in order to guarantee effective protection for workers who perform work in the context of an employment relationship; the determination - via a listing of pertinent criteria - of the existence of such a relationship, relying on the facts relating to the performance of work and the remuneration of the worker, notwithstanding how the relationship is characterized in any contrary arrangement that may have been agreed between the parties; and the establishment of an appropriate mechanism - or the use of an existing one - for monitoring developments in the labour market and the organization of work so as to be able to formulate advice on the adoption and implementation of measures concerning the employment relationship.
comedian Shraddha Jain (aiyyoShraddha) @ITREALMS

Between Inclusion and Expulsion?:

For many in the technology industry, one of the mantra of Human Resources team is that your being hired is about inclusion into their “family” but the modus oparandi for expulsion vis-a-vis layoffs lately does not depict the family ties or relationships they preach.

Also, the tech industry should therefore ensure that despite purported disruptions of technologies that human dignity is maintained its work space, beyond free lunch campuses provided by most of these companies.

Maybe a take home from a video extract by a comedian Shraddha Jain (aiyyoShraddha), the digital creator who was rated the best reaction to this season of lay offs by tech giants; with hope that those affected by recent layoffs could find a moment of laughter at this difficult transition time and draw some lines between inclusion and expulsion in a digital eco-system by insisting on only package and not baggage in a new role.

No comments:

Featured post @ITREALMS

Night travel: Over 80 passengers robbed, vehicle set ablaze+video – ITREALMS

ITREALMS ... making leadership SENSE with digital news! Over 80 passengers on night travel to the Eastern part of Nigeria with Ifesinachi Mo...