Mark Zuckerberg, whose wealth has grown almost $47 billion this year, told staff to be ‘scrappier’ amid mass layoffs

May 26, 2023, 9:15 PM UTC
Mark Zuckerberg on three digital screens
Mark Zuckerberg wants a "scrappier" Meta.
Michael Nagle—Bloomberg/Getty Images

Facebook-parent Meta has been on a roller-coaster ride lately that includes CEO Mark Zuckerberg declaring a “year of efficiency”, culling thousands of employees, and cutting perks. Some of those measures have been reflected in the company’s strong stock performance, boosting Zuckerberg’s net worth by $46.6 billion to $92.3 billion this year, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. 

Despite the gains, the mandate for Meta’s employees is to be “scrappier.”

“Going through restructuring and layoffs and changes like this is obviously a very difficult thing,” Zuckerberg told employees in a company-wide call on Thursday, according to the Washington Post. “So it’s not like we’re going to end up in exactly the place that we were before because that wasn’t my goal. I wanted to get to a scrappier place.”

Since last year, Meta has implemented two rounds of job cuts: 11,000 in November and another 10,000 announced in March. All those firings fall under Zuckerberg’s broader restructuring to achieve greater efficiency. 

He told employees that one of his goals is to have “a stronger technology company that can build better products faster,” The Post reported. Another reason was to improve Meta’s financial performance to fund long-term projects amid a challenging economic environment. 

During the pandemic, the company went on a hiring spree, doubling its workforce from 2020. But that backfired as employees found themselves being “hoarded” like Pokémon cards and lacking any real work to do. 

Zuckerberg’s announcement of a “year of efficiency”, plus strong first-quarter earnings raised investor optimism and helped to send the company’s shares soaring 23% that day. Meanwhile, Meta’s investments in artificial intelligence and the virtual world of the metaverse are still in full swing, according to Bloomberg. The company unveiled its computer chips last week that could boost its A.I. and video processing infrastructure.

Meta’s goal to be “scrappier” borrows a term often used to describe startups that are strapped for money and resources, and therefore must make the most of what’s available. Zuckerberg reportedly said that he wanted Meta to be less bureaucratic so work can be done faster even with fewer workers.

“It just forces us to find ways to be scrappier and get things done more efficiently,” Zuckerberg said, according to the Post. “It means that there are going to be fewer environments or projects where there are too many cooks in the kitchen, which is just a kind of common complaint that I hear over and over again across the whole company.”

In an earnings call earlier this year, Zuckerberg hinted at slashing layers of management to make the organization leaner and day-to-day operations more efficient.

Meta did not immediately return Fortune’s request for comment.

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