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Meta slashing 10,000 jobs as Zuckerberg overhauls culture, calls for more in-person work

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March 14, 2023
By Talent Canada

Mark Zuckerberg, chief executive officer of Meta. Photo: Meta

Meta is cutting another 10,000 jobs, and ending the search for around 5,000 additional open roles, according to CEO Mark Zuckerberg.

It has also unveiled sweeping cultural changes, including a plan that would see managers have no more than 10 direct reports and a call for staff to do less remote work and collaborate in-person as much as possible.

Zuckerberg made the announcement in a Facebook post on March 14 about the company’s “Year of Efficiency,” where he discussed the ongoing changes and the “uncertainty and stress” the looming cuts were causing employees.

“My hope is to make these org changes as soon as possible in the year so we can get past this period of uncertainty and focus on the critical work ahead,” he said.


Over the next couple of months, restructuring plans are focused on “flattening our orgs, canceling lower priority projects, and reducing our hiring rates,” he said.

Cuts in HR

As a result of the plan to slash hiring, Zuckberg said he made the “difficult decision” to reduce the size of the recruiting team at Meta.

“We will let recruiting team members know tomorrow whether they’re impacted,” he said. “We expect to announce restructurings and layoffs in our tech groups in late April, and then our business groups in late May. In a small number of cases, it may take through the end of the year to complete these changes.”

The timelines for cuts for international teams are different, he said, and local leaders will follow-up with more details.

“This will be tough and there’s no way around that. It will mean saying goodbye to talented and passionate colleagues who have been part of our success,” he said.

Post-cut plans

After the restructuring in complete, the company will lift hiring and transfer freezes. This summer, Meta plans to complete its analysis of its hybrid working model so it can be further refined, he said.

He also unveiled the company’s cultural principles, including:

Flatter is faster: “It’s well-understood that every layer of a hierarchy adds latency and risk aversion in information flow and decision-making. Every manager typically reviews work and polishes off some rough edges before sending it further up the chain,” he said. “We will make our organization flatter by removing multiple layers of management.”

“As part of this, we will ask many managers to become individual contributors.”

“We’ll also have individual contributors report into almost every level — not just the bottom — so information flow between people doing the work and management will be faster.”

Fully utilizing manager capacity: “We still believe managing each person is very important, so in general we don’t want managers to have more than 10 direct reports,” he said. “Today many of our managers have only a few direct reports. That made sense to optimize for ramping up new managers and maintaining buffer capacity when we were growing our organization faster, but now that we don’t expect to grow headcount as quickly, it makes more sense to fully utilize each manager’s capacity and defragment layers as much as possible.”

Leaner is better: Zuckerberg said one “surprising” result from the last round of cuts is that “many things have gone faster.”

“In retrospect, I underestimated the indirect costs of lower priority projects,” he said.

“It’s tempting to think that a project is net positive as long as it generates more value than its direct costs. But that project needs a leader, so maybe we take someone great from another team or maybe we take a great engineer and put them into a management role, which both diffuses talent and creates more management layers.”

Indirect costs can compound — including HR and IT — and it’s easy to underestimate them, he said. A leaner organization will executive its highest priorities faster, said Zuckerberg.

Keep technology the main thing: Meta is a technology company, and everything the company does is in service for its ultimate output: What it builds for people, he said.

“As we’ve grown, we’ve hired many leading experts in areas outside engineering. This helps us build better products, but with many new teams it takes intentional focus to make sure our company remains primarily technologists,” he said.

“As part of the Year of Efficiency, we’re focusing on returning to a more optimal ratio of engineers to other roles. It’s important for all groups to get leaner and more efficient to enable our technology groups to get as lean and efficient as possible,” he said.

Invest in tools to get more efficient: With a focus on the long term, Zuckberg wants to see investment in tools that make the company effective “not just this year.”

“Whether that’s building AI tools to help engineers write better code faster, enabling us to automate workloads over time, or identifying obsolete processes that we can phase out,” he said.

Buck2, Meta’s open source build system, is 50 per cent faster — which allows engineers to spend more time “iterating and less time waiting.”

In-person time helps build relationships and get more done: The company remains committed to distributed work — but it’s also committed to continuously refining its model.

“Our early analysis of performance data suggests that engineers who either joined Meta in-person and then transferred to remote or remained in-person performed better on average than people who joined remotely,” he said.

“This analysis also shows that engineers earlier in their career perform better on average when they work in-person with teammates at least three days a week.”

“This requires further study, but our hypothesis is that it is still easier to build trust in person and that those relationships help us work more effectively.”

He encouraged all employees to find more opportunities to work with colleagues in person.

Looking ahead

Zuckerberg acknowledged that sharing plans for restructuring and layoffs months in advance “creates a challenging period.”

“But last fall, we heard feedback that you wanted more transparency sooner into any restructuring plans, so that’s what I’m trying to provide here,” he said. “I hope that giving you a timeline and principles for what to expect will help us get through the next couple of months and then move forward as we implement these changes that I believe will have a very positive impact on how we work.”

His advice to staff was to “focus on what you can control.”

“That is, do great work and support your teammates. Our community is extremely resilient. Change is never easy, but I know we’ll get through this and come out an even stronger company that can build better products faster and enable you to do the best work of your careers.”

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