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Bursts of Color - If Layoffs Are Necessary

Bursts of Color - If Layoffs Are Necessary
By Geoff Donaker • Issue #8 • View online
Layoffs are awful. Sometimes they are also necessary for a business’s survival. If and when those times come, I find there are a few things that can make a layoff relatively better… or worse.

Exhibit A: Yelp
My friends at Yelp went through a brutal layoff last week. My heart goes out to all involved. Based on what I can see from the outside, I’m impressed with the clear and classy communication. This published letter from Jeremy clarifies the rationale, timing, numbers and benefits… all with a healthy dose of empathy.
BTW, if you’re hiring: many well-trained Yelp salespeople and others are now available.
Keep It Simple
If you have to lay people off, my headline advice is to keep it simple by avoiding exceptions and complications. This means things like:
  1. All impacted people hear the same news at the same time, preferably in a single group meeting with the CEO
  2. No separation of impacted people into “performance reasons” or other buckets
  3. Severance calculations and benefits are super simple
  4. Same departure day & method for everyone
  5. ASAP after departures, host a single meeting with remaining employees to explain yourself and layout a path forward
Related Blog Posts from A16Z
Ben Horowitz wrote The Right Way to Lay People Off in 2010. This month, his partner added a detailed post on Planning and Managing Layoffs with references to remote management.
Financial Planning Deck from Rob
Rob recently spoke to a group of CFOs about Financial Planning in the Age of Covid-19. You or your finance lead may enjoy flipping through his slides.
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Geoff Donaker

Bursts of Color is a newsletter for start-up leaders who work with Burst Capital. It's meant to include products, people and ideas that I think are interesting and maybe relevant for you.

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