Many U.S. companies have or are in the process of laying off thousands of employees, but these layoffs aren’t simply a result of economic downturn. There’s also quite a bit of rightsizing going on. Amazon and Zoom went on a hiring spree during the pandemic but demand decreased so staff had to be cut. Amazon laid off 18,000 workers while Zoom reduced their workforce by 13%. Rightsizing is a common strategic business tool used by companies to reduce expenses, as well as finance new objectives.
Google’s parent company Alphabet, laid off 12% of its workforce at the beginning of the year. Has Google lost money? Can they not afford to pay those 12,000 laid off employees? The answer is a resounding no. Google is still considered to be one of the most profitable tech companies in the world. In fact, they are the third highest earning publicly traded tech company behind Apple, and Microsoft. CEO Sundar Pichai told CNN that the layoffs were part of an effort to refocus on the company’s core business, as well as its early investments in artificial intelligence.
Meta meanwhile scheduled their second round of layoffs since November of 2022 when 11,000 employees were let go. Another 10,000 workers will be laid off by May as part of Meta’s $3 to $5 billion restructuring plan. Co-Founder Mark Zuckerberg announced they will be “creating a new top-level product group focused on generative AI”. It seems Alphabet’s Google will have some AI competition in Meta.
One of the most recent and highly publicized examples of rightsizing came from McDonald’s, the fast-food company. They are reducing their corporate workforce to fund “Accelerating the Arches”, a reorganization plan that proposes 1900 new locations by the end of 2023. 900 of the new units will be in China. And McDonald’s will prioritize digital, delivery, and drive-thru “to enable the McDonald’s System to be faster, more innovative, and more efficient”, according to President and CEO Chris Kempczinsk.
No matter the reason behind them, layoffs are painful. Companies that lay off employees may take a temporary hit to their reputation but the workers who lose their jobs suffer mentally, physically, and financially. Indeed published a 10-step plan titled, “How to handle getting laid off” and step 1 is crucial. After losing a job you must give yourself time to decompress. Once you’ve given yourself time to regroup, you’ll be able to more easily figure out your next steps.