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Adobe has pledged not to cut any employees this year, in contrast to many of its tech industry peers who are cutting staff at an alarming rate. Chief People Officer Gloria Chen made this pledge during an interview with Bloomberg on Wednesday.
Instead of conducting company-wide layoffs, the company has realigned some employees into positions that support essential initiatives and eliminated a small number of jobs.
Adobe is defying the tech industry's trend of mass layoffs this year, according to Chief People Officer Gloria Chen in an interview with Bloomberg Wednesday at their Downtown campus. As they prepare for the opening of Founders Tower office building, Chen pledged that no mass layoffs would take place this year.
"We're committed to continuing our growth here in San Jose, and that means no company-wide layoffs this year," she stated. This announcement follows a wave of mass layoffs at tech companies such as Amazon, Twitter and Meta.
Chen noted that Adobe has fared better than its tech-industry peers, which are typically dependent on advertising spend and facing steep declines in revenue. This is because the software firm has been focused on expanding its user base to casual consumers and small businesses rather than just businesses.
Chen informed Bloomberg that their strategy has been successful so far and continues to fuel growth. But they must exercise caution when making future hiring and expense-related decisions, she stressed.
As CEO of an employee-centric company, she's always on the lookout for ways to enhance employees' experiences. That includes giving them flexibility to work remotely or taking advantage of different job types that fit better with their current career path.
She wants employees to feel valued in their positions. According to her, if an employee doesn't feel supported in continuing work at the company, they should not stay.
Additionally, she says the company has implemented programs to boost employee engagement and foster better workplace cultures, particularly for younger employees. These efforts have yielded higher employee satisfaction scores as well as a more positive overall culture within the organization.
Chen has been employed at Adobe for more than two decades, holding senior leadership roles in global sales operations, customer service and support, as well as strategic planning. She currently oversees all human resources functions within the company - including talent development and diversity/inclusion initiatives. Furthermore, Chen serves on the boards of The Tech Interactive in San Jose and Carnegie Mellon Electrical & Computer Engineering advisory council.
Adobe has been the beneficiary of a nimble business model for more than two decades, ever since computer scientists Chuck Geschke and John Warnock founded it in 1991. Their model has been tailored to match changing computing technologies over time - from standalone PCs to digital communications networks - without losing its core essence.
It has also served as a model for other technology companies, such as Apple Inc., which is building an office complex in San Jose. Apple plans to increase their capacity with a new tower and pledges not to lay off employees before 2023.
The 18-story Founders Tower is part of an expansive project that will eventually house approximately 4,000 employees. Adobe is consolidating its downtown presence and strengthening ties with the city, which they have worked diligently to do for many years.
"San Jose is an incredible city to live and work," Adobe Chief People Officer Gloria Chen shared during our visit to their downtown headquarters in March 2023.
She explained that the office space is designed to enable employees to have a flexible approach to their workday, with areas designated for collaboration and quiet time. The interior design of the building has been color-coded to create different moods - orange for group engagement and connection, blue for focused work, and green for learning and collaboration.
Kline noted that many spaces in the new building are expansive, featuring open floor plans and raised floors for easier navigation. The tower's largest self-contained assembly space is called Rathaus - an auditorium capable of seating 500 to 600 people, according to Kline.
In addition, the tower's public spaces include a museum featuring artworks by local artists and a cafe site. Soon, an attached restaurant will open after construction of a pedestrian bridge connecting it to three towers across John P. McEnery Park is complete in February 2023, according to an Adobe spokesperson.
Automation and global competition have caused havoc in workplaces, leading many companies to opt for layoffs as the go-to response. Unfortunately, research shows that job cuts rarely help senior leaders meet their objectives and can actually harm employee engagement and company profitability in the long run.
Over the past decade, there has been an unprecedented wave of layoffs that has hit not only startups and mid-sized firms but also major tech corporations like Amazon, Microsoft and Alphabet. It is impacting various industries such as music streaming services and news streaming services alike - which have experienced mass employee departures within the past year.
Though mass layoffs can be depressing, some companies are taking a different approach to restructuring. Some are using redeployment programs to give workers time to find new employment before letting them go.
Another option is to make hiring decisions based on performance and potential, rather than simply eliminating people. Lincoln Electric, an arc-welding products and consumable manufacturer in Cleveland, Ohio, for instance, has an employee assessment process that measures productivity across five areas.
This enables organizations to identify a group of high performers, while helping managers avoid the common "rank and yank" approach when terminating employees that many organizations employ.
Layoffs can be a necessary step toward efficiency, but they shouldn't replace an environment of high performance and teamwork. Managers instead should use meaningful performance reviews and employee development plans to develop strong, efficient employees who can take over when a layoff occurs.
Some companies, like Intel, offer redeployment programs which give employees a certain period of time before letting them go so they can find another job. These initiatives are especially helpful to employees who have been employed at the same company for several years.
Finally, business owners must decide how to approach the difficult task of laying off employees - and they should be mindful of its effect on customer retention. Layoffs send a negative message about a company's stability and capacity to meet customers' needs, which may erode customer loyalty or even prompt them to seek other opportunities for business.
As the tech industry experiences what's being labeled a'meltdown,' many large tech firms have had to make cuts in order to adjust their budgets in line with the current business climate. This has mainly affected larger firms, though not so much smaller ones like Adobe.
Layoffs are often the first measure companies take to reduce costs in a slowing economy. But there are some things companies should be aware of before deciding to let employees go.
It is essential for companies to get rid of employees when they have no choice, but it doesn't have to be an unpleasant process.
Adobe Chief People Officer Gloria Chen explained in an email that companies don't need to resort to mass layoffs. Instead, she believes, companies should create new roles that can fill in for any jobs lost.
One of the best ways to increase employee mobility within an organization is through offering people options for choosing their work schedules. This can be accomplished through various methods, but starting with providing people with flexibility in choosing when and how they work is beneficial.
Another way to achieve this is by giving employees the option of selecting their location within the workplace, which can be done through options such as telework or working from home. Doing so allows employees to stay close to their families while still progressing with their careers.
Finally, layoffs can help companies maintain employee morale - an essential trait in any economic climate. Layoffs also have negative effects on health and put employees at greater risk for depression or stress.
Layoffs can have a detrimental effect on employees, as their work environment becomes hostile and their trust eroded. This in turn has an adverse impact on productivity as well.
Given this, it's always best to avoid mass layoffs. Unfortunately, as the global economic climate has worsened in recent weeks, there has been much discussion about how best to handle this situation. Companies like Adobe are now taking action and taking measures in order to protect their employees from being laid off.