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HR Experts Weigh In on Elon Musk’s Twitter Strategy

We asked HR leaders for their best insights on Elon Musk’s Twitter strategy

November 23, 2022

In less than a week after purchasing Twitter, Elon Musk announced plans to lay off 50% of employees, end remote working, and cancel the company’s monthly companywide paid rest day.

To help you better understand the implications of Twitter’s current events, we asked HR leaders and business leaders this question for their best insights. While most leaders denounce Musk’s abrupt actions, others offer some positive perspectives that delve deeper into the ramifications of this strategy.

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Here are nine insights into the changes Musk has introduced:

Revokes Any Efforts to Retain Employees

“While every company has its own system, one of the general aspects companies and HR departments have been focusing on for the past couple of years is employee retention, employee well-being, employee satisfaction, and productivity.

“While these actions might be beneficial for the company in terms of business and finances, it completely revokes any efforts to retain employees, creates a negative impact on the work culture and work environment, and creates an unsafe work environment where employees feel threatened—which could lead to a greater impact on the Great Resignation and reduce employee productivity and wellbeing.”

Denise Hemke, Chief Product Officer, Checkr

Twitter Proves to Be An Archaic Company

“If Elon wanted to prove that Twitter is a dinosaur, he’s gone and done just that. No one in today’s talent pool wants to work for a company that isn’t concerned with work-life balance.

“To take away the flexibility of remote working is a warning sign that Elon is a micromanager; a sign of someone who is afraid to give up control. Taking away a companywide rest day reflects a company culture that is all work and no play.

“That kind of culture went out of fashion about a decade ago. The 50% of staff who were laid off should consider themselves lucky to get away from this sinking ship.”

Jarir Mallah, HR Specialist, Ling App

Elon Musk Does Not Value His Employees

“These decisions from an HR perspective are absolutely terrible and will undoubtedly lead to massive turnover within the company.

“It’s clear that Elon Musk does not value his employees or their well-being, and this will only serve to create a negative work environment where people are constantly stressed and worried about their jobs.

“This is not sustainable in the long term, and it would not surprise me if Twitter ends up being a shell of its former self within a few years.”

Tzvi Heber, Founder, CEO & HR Head, Ascendant Detox

It Depends On the Company’s Situation

“I think he’s doing the right thing for Twitter. When leadership takes those drastic decisions, the team is going to have to go through a difficult and emotional process.

“The goal is to bring the best out of the team and the overall company, and if half the employees are not working to that capacity, the business environment is going to be toxic.

“It’s about the bigger picture and making sure your business is healthy and thriving; your employees want the company to succeed. I think it was a good decision on the part of Twitter’s CEO to make those cuts.”

Luciano Colos, Founder & CEO, PitchGrade

Made Too Many Changes Too Quickly

“While Elon Musk may have felt the need to make numerous changes to improve Twitter, he has broken a major HR rule. He has made too many changes too quickly.

“While conducting a large layoff, ending remote working, or canceling the company’s monthly paid rest day, would have been concerning to the employees, implementing all three has created a sense of panic.

“Any large-scale changes should be rolled out slowly in order to give employees time to adjust or make necessary arrangements. Instead, there was no advance notice, and employees were required to make substantial changes overnight or risk losing their positions.

“Now the staff he might have been able to retain are looking for other positions. Musk provided a great example of what companies should not do.”

Chandler Rogers, CEO, Relay

Turning the Awful Into the Remarkable

“Simply from an HR perspective, laying off 50% of employees, ending remote work, and canceling the company’s monthly companywide paid rest day seems to be against all the trends we have been through to succeed in today’s market.

“But, even if it is awful, those measures are part of the business game. Now, I propose we look to a more positive perspective on these because 50% of the staff will stay in the company.

“Once the HR job is done properly during layoffs, the company keeps only its most engaged, productive, and top-performing talents. These talented and engaged people, together and motivated by good management, which helps them navigate well through the stormy sea of company restructuring, can lead the company to remarkable transformation and results in the medium to long term.”

Ricardo von Groll, Manager, Talentify

Undoing HR Progress and Setting a Harmful Precedent

“This decision is disappointing because it has the potential to reverse hard-fought HR trends that favor employee well-being. It took a literal pandemic for most companies to allow mass-scale remote work, and companies have responded to employees’ demands for better work-life balance with measures like rest days.

“Musk’s instant elimination of these perks is not only a flex of his power over Twitter but a rejection of progress. Many organizations look to industry leaders for HR cues, and Musk’s blatant overturning of these positive initiatives and return to a more traditional grind culture will embolden managers to cut employee-centric benefits and revert to traditional working models.

“Unfortunately, these actions will negatively impact employees and companies alike, by worsening employee well-being, sowing mistrust, and speeding up both turnover and quiet quitting.”

Grace He, People & Culture Director, TeamBuilding

Going Backwards in Workplace Culture

“I believe this line of thinking is counterproductive. It promotes toxicity in the workplace for those who choose to stay on board. If we learned anything during the pandemic is that businesses can still run regardless of where people sit.

Mental health has always been a concern and should not be considered something that only the weak have, but those shining stars in the organization deserve to have a day or more to recharge, so they remain optimal contributors to an organization.”

Michele Delgado, CEO, Hartmetrics

Wrong Time to Implement Because of Low Morale

“While there may be valid business reasons for these decisions, they come at a time when employee morale is already low because of the recent restructuring efforts put in place by the company.

“Additionally, eliminating paid rest days for all employees may be difficult to implement, especially if some teams cannot cover their regular duties without support from remote workers.

“At a time when the tech industry is experiencing a talent shortage and rapidly changing workforce demands, it is crucial that companies invest in employee engagement and retention strategies to attract and keep top talent. This may include offering more flexible working arrangements, such as allowing remote work or providing more paid time off.

“Ultimately, these decisions should be driven by data and carefully considered to ensure that they are aligned with the organization’s long-term goals.”

Linda Shaffer, Chief People Operations Officer, Checkr

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