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Behind the layoff storm: Is ByteDance seeking transformation?

For Bytedancer, the last two weeks have been a mixed bag, as the company has undertaken several adjustments.The layoffs are the first, work hours shortened is the second, and the business restructuring is the third. After all of these changes, where is ByteDance headed?

Bytedance: a high turnover rate company

ByteDance is widely recognised as a large technology firm, yet it is also a youthful firm. According to a report made by Maimai, the average age of ByteDance’s employees is 27, making it the youngest among China's large tech businesses.

However, ByteDance has a high turnover rate. When it comes to employee departure, there are two possibilities: corporate layoffs and staff resignation. Layoffs are undoubtedly one of the company's adapting actions. However, a large-scale layoff may disclose certain strategic and development direction errors. And some ByteDance staff management has been a source of contention for so long that some employees have yet to stand it and have actively resigned. Shouldn't ByteDance, as a large technological business, have greater risk management and staff management capabilities? In the meantime, they continue to hire people all over the world.

According to LinkedIn, there are 4276 new job openings this month, with 4208 in China and the rest distributed among Americans, Singaporeans, Russians, and Brazilians.

Behind the layoffs

Due to the impact of Chinese policy, ByteDance's business of online education, which it has aggressively promoted over the past two years, has seen large-scale layoffs.

A former employee worked in education line at ByteDance uploaded his two-month unemployment diary on Weibo on Oct.24. He was laid off a month after starting the work as a recent graduate. It's challenging to process this information in a short time. It's more difficult to cheer up for life when you're unemployed. "I just graduated and worked for a month without any specific work experience or a clear career objective, and I lost my graduate status. My coworkers have all found jobs, but I haven't been able to locate one since I don't know what kind of job I'm searching for." And when I went in for an interview, the HR would always ask, "Why did you leave after a month?" Then add something like, "Your luck isn't very good."

It's indeed bad luck to be the subject of trying and failing of this company.

The lay offs also includes commercialization team. “I had learned that the commercialization team would be laying off personnel when I left at the end of October. I asked HR for confirmation when she came to talk to me about leaving my employment. She explained, This is a common occurrence. If one thing gets too huge, it will be difficult to deal with”, a former employee of Bytedance commented on Weibo.

If a new project in the commercialization department is proven to be unprofitable, the department will be in grave risk. The former employee added, she understood an increasing number of people would be cut off as a result of poor performance, but ByteDance was indulging and defaulting this form: company development necessitates large-scale recruitment, but because of poor performance, more and more individuals will be cut off. Due to the downturn in the market, more and more businesses will spring up and go down swiftly, necessitating new hiring and firing. The layoffs are becoming more frequent and rotate with one other.....

“It's unfortunate that individuals who came in as fresh graduates and had been dismissed before footed in ByteDance; they all had high hopes, but were hit with the cruelty of this tech firm. This is a form that no one can predict.”

ByteDance is dedicated to the growth of diverse businesses, but its results appear to be mixed. Diversification was meant to help a huge tech company continue to grow, but other than the e-commerce sector reliant on Douyin, there isn't much advancement in ByteDance.

ByteDance adjusted its business sectors after its layoff. On Nov.2, its CEO Liang Rubo released an internal letter, saying that the firm will make organizational changes and set up six business units.

Active resign of employees

Employees, like companies, are focused on increasing their return on investment too. It's like a trend for many Bytedancers to upload their working feelings in RED. Some resigned employees put their reasons for leaving on RED platform.

Though the salary is reasonable, a 30-year-old male ex-employee stated that the working environment is inefficient and is like a format that wastes time. Also, individual development space is insufficient; 'Entry is the Peak' applies to both money and self-value.

The days away from her husband are exhausting, according to a newly married female ex-employee, and she has no time to prepare for the wedding. Work is also monotonous, which does not increase personal ability, and she frequently works overtime till the wee hours of the morning. She has no regrets about leaving such a demanding career.

ByteDance is still a big tech company that a lot of undergraduates admire. But, for interns, here's what a formal ByteDance intern learned: The corporate culture is good, and the overall atmosphere is good, but my blood and tears experience has taught me not to believe in a company's claimed atmosphere, and not to choose this industry lightly because of the stereotype of flat company structure and many young people. A positive work environment does not imply that your bosses and coworkers aren't weird and that your work experience is positive.

This Monday, ByteDance shortened China work hours, discouraging notorious ‘996’ routine. Will it really benefit employees?

No matter from the perspective of the company or the employees, under the quick development plan, the company's anti-risk ability is low, and the cost of trying and failing is increasing. With all these changes that ByteDance is making, is it slowing down to head for transformation?

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