Mark Zuckerberg failed to conceal his annoyance with an employee who asked about vacation days during a meeting in which the Meta CEO revealed plans to cut underperforming workers, according to a report.
During a company-wide Q&A meeting on June 30, the Facebook boss warned a recent market slump “might be one of the worst downturns that we’ve seen in recent history” as he explained the reasoning behind the cost cuts, The New York Post reports.
During the virtual session, Zuckerberg reportedly “appeared visibly frustrated” after one Chicago-based employee asked whether “Meta Days,” or extra time off introduced during the COVID-19 pandemic, would continue in 2023.
“Um … all right,” Zuckerberg said after hearing the prerecorded question, according to a recording obtained by TheVerge. “Given my tone in the rest of the Q&A, you can probably imagine what my reaction to this is.”
In the same meeting, Zuckerberg revealed that Meta would be implementing higher standards for its employees — and cutting ties with those who were unable to meet the new performance threshold.
“Realistically, there are probably a bunch of people at the company who shouldn’t be here,” Zuckerberg said.
“Part of my hope by raising expectations and having more aggressive goals, and just kind of turning up the heat a little bit, is that I think some of you might decide that this place isn’t for you, and that self-selection is OK with me,” Zuckerberg added.
Meta has enacted a hiring freeze and other cost-cutting measures as it contends with a major downturn in the market and invests in a costly shift toward the metaverse. The company’s stock is down more than 50 per cent this year.
In the June 30 meeting, Zuckerberg said Meta would slow its hiring plans for engineers by at least 30 per cent this year — adding roughly 6,000 or 7,000 workers rather than the 10,000 it initially projected. Some empty roles will remain unfilled.
Zuckerberg’s open declaration that workers were on the chopping block drew stunned reactions from some of the virtual meetings’ attendees, according to TheVerge. The billionaire said the company did not plan to implement lay-offs but had not yet ruled them out either.
“Did Mark just say there are a bunch of people at this company that don’t belong here[?]” one staffer asked on an internal messaging platform.
“Who hired them?” another employee quipped.
Others lauded Zuckerberg’s shift in tone.
“This is wartime, we need a wartime CEO,” one employee wrote.
A Meta representative downplayed Zuckerberg’s comments in a statement to TheVerge.
“Any company that wants to have a lasting impact must practice disciplined prioritisation and work with a high level of intensity to reach goals,” Meta spokesman Joe Osborne told the publication.
“The reports about these efforts are consistent with this focus and what we’ve already shared publicly about our operating style.”
Meanwhile, employee faith in Meta’s upper management has reportedly plummeted as the company contends with market-related challenges as well as ongoing scrutiny from politicians over their business practices.
An internal survey said just 39 per cent of Meta employees were optimistic about the company’s future, while just 42 per cent had “confidence in leadership.”
Meta shares were down nearly 2 per cent in early trading Tuesday ahead of a critical earnings report on Wednesday. The company is in danger of posting its first-ever quarterly revenue decline for the second quarter after reporting its slowest growth since going public in the first quarter.
This post originally appeared on the New York Post and has been republished with permission