Google calls on staff to boost productivity with "simplicity sprints"

Sundar Pichai headshot
(Image credit: Google)

Google has called on its employees to improve efficiency and focus during the current economic uncertainty with a new internal effort called a "simplicity sprint".

The tech giant told staff at a meeting on Wednesday 27 July that it isn't performing as it should be with its current headcount, according to internal documents seen by CNBC.

Essentially, the "Simplicity Sprint" initiative is about crowdsourcing ideas for quicker product development from within the company. The term sprint is synonymous with software development for accelerating or collectively pushing towards a common goal. For Googlers, Pichai will open the floor up for idea sharing via an internal survey that asks if management can reach out with follow-up questions.

Some of the questions included in the survey, seen by CNBC, suggest Google is seeking information about areas that could be reduced and streamlined. "What would help you work with greater clarity and efficiency to serve our users and customers? Where should we remove speed bumps to get to better results faster? How do we eliminate waste and stay entrepreneurial and focused as we grow?" is an example of one of the questions.

There are growing concerns among Google employees about cuts and redundancies, according to the documents. The firm is one of several tech companies that has announced plans to slow recruitment with Google even said to be reviewing its headcount in recent weeks as the economic downturn begins to shrink revenues.

"I wanted to give some additional context following our earnings results, and ask for your help as well," CEO Sundar Pichai said, according to CNBC. "It's clear we are facing a challenging macro environment with more uncertainty ahead. There are real concerns that our productivity as a whole is not where it needs to be for the headcount we have."

It's reported that Pichai then asked employees to help create a culture more mission-focused, that priorities the company's products and customers.

"We should think about how we can minimise distractions and really raise the bar on both product excellence and productivity," Pichai said.

Bobby Hellard

Bobby Hellard is ITPro's Reviews Editor and has worked on CloudPro and ChannelPro since 2018. In his time at ITPro, Bobby has covered stories for all the major technology companies, such as Apple, Microsoft, Amazon and Facebook, and regularly attends industry-leading events such as AWS Re:Invent and Google Cloud Next.

Bobby mainly covers hardware reviews, but you will also recognize him as the face of many of our video reviews of laptops and smartphones.