Amazon layoffs hit Alexa while other employees searched for answers.


The biggest layoffs in Amazon’s history began on Tuesday, with job cuts at the company’s money-burning Alexa voice assistant division and voluntary takeover offers sent to many HR employees. But after initial news reports of imminent layoffs, two full days of not hearing from Amazon’s top leaders came in a rare layoff in the tech giant’s 27-year history. , caused confusion and anger among rank and file employees looking for answers.

The cycle began Monday morning when The New York Times reported that Amazon would cut about 10,000 jobs, or about 3% of its corporate staff worldwide. Amazon recently froze hiring in some departments and canceled several experimental initiatives. Company executives warned in recent calls with reporters and Wall Street analysts that shoppers are wearing their belts and so will Amazon.

After initial reports of the expected layoffs, many employees expected someone at the top of the company to contact them soon. it didn’t happen. After all, it took him 48 hours after news of the layoffs first broke before company executives admitted the harsh reality to the rest of the company. Still, many employees were unsure if they too would lose their jobs anytime soon.

“I’m not even sure I want to work for this company anymore,” a senior Amazon manager who has worked at the company for more than a decade told Recode Wednesday afternoon, citing the lack of transparency from company leaders. This is a horrible way to treat people.”

Amazon’s job cuts are the latest in a ruling class of tech companies accustomed to years of underwhelming growth and convinced by the success of their pandemic-fueled business that an economic recession is not around the corner. It is only for Amazon’s layoffs The messiness of his rollout highlights how rare such moments are for the king of ecommerce. Amazon laid off hundreds of employees in 2018, but the last major layoff he did was in 2001. After the dot-com crash, he cut 1,500 of his employees, or 15% of his workforce at the time. Short US recession.

This time, by the evening of the day the news first broke, many employees had put aside their work for the day and talked to their colleagues to gather information about the future of their lives. Some managers told employees their department was safe, while others said they knew very little. A source familiar with the decision said the leader of the company’s business wanted to reach out to those who were losing their jobs first about the layoffs before sending a message to the entire company.

Tuesday morning it started happening. Some of his Amazon employees (most notably those who work in the fancy but unprofitable Alexa voice assistant division) spotted a calendar invitation to a 15-minute video conference. They were informed of the bad news via script. Soon, fired employees began flooding LinkedIn with personal announcements. One employee in her AI department at Alexa said 60% of her on her team had been laid off “due to downscaling/prioritizing projects.” Alexa is one of Amazon’s best-known flagship brands, but in his eight years since the voice assistant service launched and skyrocketed in popularity, the company hasn’t been able to generate significant revenue. The Wall Street Journal reported in early November that the division that houses Alexa and Amazon’s own tech gadgets has lost more than $5 billion a year in recent years.

Meanwhile, other employees have compiled lists of departments experiencing cuts and potentially safe, based on a combination of LinkedIn confessions, self-reported information, and insider rumors.

Then, on Tuesday night, most of the company’s HR department, including recruiters and software engineers, received an offer to acquire or a voluntary release program. In exchange for voluntarily leaving the job, Amazon offers the employee three months’ salary and one week’s salary for each of her six months’ tenure with the company. I was. Those who receive it will have two weeks to make a decision. Department leaders will not rule out involuntary layoffs in the new year if further cuts are deemed necessary. It caused more anxiety for both employees and managers.

“They are upset that they were given this ‘choice’ without any information about what the future holds,” one manager told Recode.

By Wednesday morning, most Amazon employees hadn’t heard anything from the company’s top executives, despite cuts the day before in other areas such as Alexa and Amazon Luna, the cloud gaming business. Employees said that little work was done and business-oriented emails slowed down a bit.

“The truth of the matter is that if the company had been more transparent, this shit wouldn’t have happened,” another senior Amazon manager told Recode. I wonder if it’s us.”

Finally, around 11 a.m. Wednesday, Amazon executive Dave Limp, who oversees Amazon’s broad range of consumer electronics and the division that runs Alexa, posted a message about the cuts that started the day before.

“After a series of in-depth reviews, we recently made the decision to consolidate several teams and programs,” he wrote. “One of the consequences of these decisions, he said, is that some roles will no longer be needed. He knows this will result in the loss of talented Amazon employees from the Devices & Services organization, so he is sharing this news. I am very sorry to have to.”

Around the same time, Amazon spokesperson Kelly Nantel issued a public comment to reporters.

“As part of our annual business plan review process, we are constantly looking at each business and what we think should be changed,” it reads. “Going through this, given the current macroeconomic environment (and years of rapid hiring), some teams are making adjustments. We are not taking these decisions lightly and are working to support employees who may be impacted.”

Unfortunately for Amazon employees, just because there’s been no news of layoffs in their departments so far, doesn’t mean it won’t come. Beyond the company’s Alexa and HR divisions, The New York Times reported that Amazon’s core retail business will eventually suffer cutbacks as well. A source with direct knowledge of the layoff plans told Recode that business reviews of him (and specific decisions about who’s next) are still ongoing in each division of the company.



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