Google CEO Tells Workers They Don’t Need Money to Have Fun

Google CEO Sundar Pichai sits in a red chair at the 2022 Code Conference.

It’s easy to tell workers that fun doesn’t have to cost money when you have a lot of money, I dare say.
Photo: Jerod Harris (Getty Images)

Google CEO Sundar Pichai, who heads one of the richest companies in the worldmost likely doesn’t want to talk money to employees as Big Tech giant is in the middle of cut costs and slow down hiring. But since the employees asked for it, he wants them to do one thing: stop equating “pleasure” with “money”.

Pichai’s commentsmade at a town hall meeting with the entire company earlier this week, was revealed in a new CNBC reportwho obtained an audio recording of the meeting. At the meeting, which Pichai held in New York with a live audience of Googlersemployees asked the CEO why the company was ‘nickencing and obscuring them’ by limiting travel and cutting entertainment budgets and benefits, especially at a time when the company had “record profits and huge cash reserves”.

In response, the Google chief said the company was “just being a bit more responsible” in one of the toughest macroeconomic situations of the past decade.

Elsewhere in the meeting, Pichai spoke about how cost cutting has affected work enjoyment. He referenced the days when Google was “small and rambling” in its attempt to justify changes to the company’s culture and benefits.

“I remember when Google was small and scrappy,” Pichai said at the reunion, as CNBC reported. “Fun hasn’t always been – we shouldn’t always equate fun with money. I think you can get into a startup that works hard and people can have fun and that shouldn’t not always be synonymous with money.

The question about company perks is not without basis. For years, Big Tech employees at Google and elsewhere have benefited from mind-boggling perks, at least to us peasants. These include onsite massage therapists, cooking classes, at-home fitness, and art programs, according to the “Benefits” page on Google Careers.

It’s unclear if any of these perks will disappear, although some swag is disappearing. Google officials who spoke at the town hall told employees to expect smaller, more informal New Year’s parties and celebrations, specifically asking them to “try not to go overboard.” “.

Regarding travel restrictions, some Google employees pointed out that it was contradictory to tell workers they had to follow the company’s return-to-work policy, but also emphasize that there was “no need to travel” or “log in in person.” In April, Google announced that workers should be in its physical offices at least Three days per week.

Pichai said he understands the new travel policy isn’t ideal. He explained that while seeing each other in person helps employees work better, sometimes they can.

“If you haven’t seen your team in a while and it will help you in your work by getting together in person, I think you can,” the Google chief said. “I think that’s why we don’t say no to travel, we leave the discretion to the teams.”

Notably, Google officials said the company isn’t considering making any changes to pay raises, equity and bonuses, stressing that they will continue to pay employees “at the top. range of the market so that we can be competitive”. ”

Pichai echoed the sentiment and said the company was “engaged” take care of employees. This likely includes its highest-paid executives, who in 2021 earned total compensation of between at least $14 million and more than $28 million, according to parent company Alphabet repositories with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Pichai’s total compensation was $6.3 million last year.

The head of Google did not respond to employee questions whether the company would reduce executive compensation.

Gizmodo contacted Google for comment on Saturday, but did not receive a response at press time.

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