Harvard Expert Criticizes Meta’s Layoffs

Bullion Bite
Harvard Expert Criticizes Meta’s Layoffs

Harvard University expert Heidi K. Gardner has criticized the way that Mark Zuckerberg has conducted some of the layoffs at Meta, formerly known as Facebook. Gardner says that firing employees over email is "absolutely horrific," and that it could be a reflection of poor leadership. She believes that every leader who calls himself a leader has the responsibility to exhibit ethical leadership and communicate honestly, transparently, and humanely with employees before the events take effect.

A growing number of former Meta employees have come forward in recent weeks, complaining about the way they were laid off through email. Jennifer Haynes, a former Meta technical recruiter, filmed herself checking her email and finding out in real-time that she had been laid off. The email read: "Your administrator has suspended your Meta Dropbox account. You no longer have access to the account [or] files." The day before, Zuckerberg had sent a letter to employees, laying out a timeline for when the job cuts would hit the company’s recruiting, tech, and business departments.

Gardner says that it is a helpful strategy for Zuckerberg to communicate the layoffs in advance. However, delivering the news through email sends the message that employees are "chess pieces that can be moved about and discarded at will." She adds that remaining employees need to know how the departing employees are being treated because it is a clear signal of how much the company and its leaders care about employees.

Last year, Harvard Business School senior fellow Bill George accused Zuckerberg of "derailing" the company after its expensive pivot into metaverse development and failure to effectively compete with rivals like TikTok. However, since launching Meta, formerly known as "TheFacebook," in 2004, Zuckerberg has grown his Harvard dorm room startup into a tech giant with a $532.92 billion market cap, as of Wednesday afternoon.

Zuckerberg announced that the layoffs would make Meta more efficient, improving its financial performance in a difficult environment. Investors have reacted positively to the announcement, with a share of Meta stock worth $205.53 as of Wednesday afternoon, up from $180.90 on March 13, the day before the layoffs were announced. Gardner believes that the signal was intended for Wall Street, and that investors want to know that the CEO is using resources wisely. Meta and Zuckerberg have yet to comment on the criticism.

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