Meta, parent of FB and IG, is putting some workers on a “30 day list” during which they can try to find another job in the company, or they are fired.

Source: Meta Puts Some Workers on ’30-Day List’ Amid Downsizing

Says FB and Google are both doing this.

Tech is famous for “stack ranking”, which is a way to implement a de facto “up or out” culture. That is, employees are expected to move up in the organization over time, taking on additional responsibilities. If someone stays too many years at one “level”, it is a sign their career has plateaued. Companies have a multitude of ways of encouraging those who have stagnated to leave.

One company I worked for did a stack ranking of all employes, by department, every six months. The company required 7.5% of all staff be placed on a “performance improvement plan” (aka on probation). The employee and their manager would establish a set of goals that must be accomplished in 6 weeks (or 12 weeks if a member of a protected class, which is all workers who are not white males under age 40 – really). If the goals are not met, the employee is fired.

The de facto implementation meant 10-15% of workers would be culled annually. This was an “up or out” culture.

FB has been doing these 30-day lists for a long time – this is not new. But now Meta really needs to reduce headcount. Google is doing the same thing too.

To some extent, “up or out” programs may cause employees to compete against one another, sometimes in ways that are not beneficial to the company overall. They can also result in staff lobbying managers and playing games to ensure that managers like them. As a result, “stack ranking” is known for encouraging discriminatory practices in retention.

If you review my demographic posts and the age distributions of the labor force, you know we have just gone through a few decades where there were plenty of new, young workers. This was the era of peak competitiveness between workers to move up in organizations. This meant you needed an advanced degree from a well-regarded university, work experience at a top company, probably global experience, and had to work more hours and more effectively than your co-workers – to stand out from your fellow teammates. These workplaces are very competitive.

That world is about to reverse. Several companies have announced they will no longer require a minimum of a 4-year degree, for example. Because this is the new reality of labor shortages. It was to employers’ advantage to use degrees as a 3rd party certification process. Even during peak years, tech companies only hired 1-2% of their applicants. That’s how competitive it was to get hired at big-name companies.

The world is changing due to the massive population demographic changes occurring. It is possible that “up and out” culture may change too.