Stock illustration: Separating groups of employees

Facing an uncertain economy, many tech companies—including Big Tech firms—are reducing their headcount. But how can they be certain they're not losing their best and brightest?

Facebook, for instance, is reportedly encouraging managers to choose the bottom 15 percent of their teams and mark those individuals for potential layoffs. Well aware of this, employees are likely already 'managing up' to make sure they aren't on the list. But staying focused on keeping one manager happy does not always align with keeping teammates happy or focusing on company goals such as keeping customers happy. So the company may be damaged even before layoffs begin.

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