If you have to hold layoffs, don’t be a jerk

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Since our last column, several more tech startups have laid off employees. We’ll get it. Layoffs happen. But as we do another week of analysis of a depressing time in tech, we’re thinking about how these difficult conversations could be a little less dire if we could learn to prioritize employee care over profit.

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We know the startup ecosystem is volatile, but severance pay and extended medical benefits give employees a lot more peace of mind as they look for their next opportunity. “Where do you think we’ll find this money?” You can ask. This is a good moment, but if your startup has ever thrown a fancy party with expensive alcohol, you don’t Indeed maybe you should start there. Also, canceling offers is bad, firing emails is like texting a breakup and lest we forget the time Buzzfeed acquired HuffPost and then immediately fired 47 writers by inviting them to a meeting at Zoom with password.spr!ngisH3r3“.

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Some companies such as Coinbase and Wtex offered employees who have been laid off (or cancelled) the opportunity to show up at a public talent center to help them get more job opportunities. It’s a nice gesture, but only time will tell how effective this tactic is – does anyone actually skim the list? 326 withdrawn candidates on Coinbase? For them, I hope so.

Otherwise, we’re still seeing the same trends we’ve seen over the past few weeks: edtech companies like Eruditis, which thrived during the lockdown, are becoming less active as remote learning is eased, resulting in job cuts. . ID.me, an identity verification service hired to meet demand for the pandemic, then hit a wall. Clubhouse, once the buzziest new social app, is also losing relevance, in part perhaps due to the return of in-person events, but in addition, established social networks like Twitter have stolen the concept of live audio and rolled it out more effectively.

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One new trend, if you can call it that, is that some workforce cuts are also accompanied by voluntary layoffs as companies shift strategy and change their minds.

Without further ado, here are the startups using layoffs this week:

Superhuman, the noisy email startup that received venture capital over $100 million financing, fired 22% of employees last Friday, CEO and co-founder Rahul Vohra wrote about this on Twitter. “As we head into a recession that could last for years, we have made this difficult choice so we can sustainably deliver on our vision,” he wrote. The workforce cuts have affected 23 people who Vohra said will receive severance pay, psychiatric support, health insurance for a year and job search assistance. TechCrunch has reached out to Vohra for comment on what support will look like and what roles have been affected, and has yet to hear back.

Clubhouse laid off some staff as part of a restructuring and “rethinking audio app strategy”. Bloomberg reports. The company told the publication that some positions have been eliminated and some people have left to look for new opportunities. One of those who fit the latter point is Aarti Ramamurthy, who managed Clubhouse’s international projects for over a year before leaving last week. TechCrunch reached out to Clubhouse for comment on how many people have been affected and what roles will be focused in the future. Clubhouse responded with the following statement: “Several people have decided to take advantage of the new features and several roles have been eliminated as part of our team optimization. We are continuing to recruit for development, manufacturing and design positions.” When asked for more information, the spokesperson said the statement was all the company had to share at the moment.

Eruditis, the edtech unicorn, laid off 40 people and 40 people resigned of their own accord. reports Inc42. The publication says people on the talent acquisition or hiring team have been hurt as Eruditis cuts its hiring plans from 1,300 people in the past 12 months to a maximum of 150 people this year. Like many start-ups making layoffs, Eruditis has significantly increased its hiring pace over the past two years as online learning has become a higher priority amid the pandemic. Now, a company spokesperson told TechCrunch: “Given the recent economic and geopolitical uncertainties, we are redesigning our operating model as part of our commitment to sustainable and responsible organizational development and decision making that is firmly focused on profitability. We have restructured, including merging consumer and corporate marketing functions under global leadership, and streamlining work in certain areas.”

Bicycle and scooter-sharing startup Bird plans to lay off 23%our Rebecca Bellan reports. With about 600 employees, this means that about 138 people will lose their jobs in organizations and regions. Unfortunately, this step was expected. In May, the company announced its first-quarter 2022 financial results, which showed a continued decline in revenue every quarter since going public through SPAC in the third quarter of 2021 — although the company started trading at around $10 a share, today the shares are worth just 57 cents. . At the beginning of the pandemic, Byrd quit 30% of his workforce, or about 406 out of 1387 employees. Now the total number of employees of the company will be only a third of the number, which was at the beginning of 2020.

A personalized, consumer-facing Stitch Fix clothing retailer. cut 15%or 330, his hired workers. After going public in 2017, the stylist service faced a sharp decline in a pre-pandemic 2020 that only got worse. The company’s shares were trading at about $68 a year ago and are now falling below $8. In the summer of 2020, the company tried to cut costs by laying off 18% of his stylistsand then brought in a new CEO, Elizabeth Spaulding, whose inflexible scheduling policy led to another third stylists leave the company.

Identity verification service ID.me laid off some corporate employees after growing too fast after the pandemic. insider informed This week, after hiring 1,500 new employees to meet the demands of its high-profile clients like the IRS, the company has run into security issues, sometimes allegedly sharing sensitive information like Social Security numbers via Slack.

Hospitable unicorn Sonder fired about 250 employees: 21% corporate employees and 7% ordinary employees. An Airbnb competitor (which makes relatively well), Sonder rents out serviced apartments that look like boutique hotels. The company says its layoffs are part of an overall restructuring and that management remains optimistic about the future of the travel industry. However, according to filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission Starting this week, the company aims to cut costs by $85 million annually to achieve positive cash flow by 2023.

Another multi-billion dollar unicorn layoffs, security startup OneTrust downsizing by 25%, affecting 950 employees. “I know this news is amazing, especially since you heard last month that business is on track with record quarters and growing customer demand,” CEO Kabir Bardai wrote in a note to employees posted on the company blog. “However, sentiment in the capital markets has shifted towards a more balanced approach between growth and profitability and we have now decided that the best course of action is to reorganize.” OneTrust provides severance pay, health insurance expansion, equity, and a talent network.

Convoy to lay off 7% of its 1,300 workforce, according to GeekWire. Less than two months ago, the Seattle-based trucking market raised a $260 million Round E round, bringing its valuation to $3.8 billion. But now a company representative He speaksConvoy is making this decision in order to best weather the market downturn.

Softbank-backed creative economy startup Jellysmack fired 8% of employees this week, the closure of commercial operations in Italy, Germany and the Netherlands. In light of the complexities in the market, the company plans to focus on projects that bring the most value to its creator partners. Like it competitorsJellysmack buys a time-limited license to creators’ back catalogs, giving them a cash advance in exchange for their slower (but potentially larger) revenue stream.

Let’s hope for a shorter list next week.

Credit: techcrunch.com /

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