In a broad cull that affected about 500 workers and began Friday, as Business Insider first reported, the Snapchat company let go of tech employees like engineers and some people focused on content moderation efforts, along with a small number of people on the trust and safety team, two people familiar with the cuts told BI.
Workers on the business side were also impacted, including people working on advertising partnerships, as were several people working on a team within HR that helped with internal employee analytics, including surveys and diversity efforts aimed at hiring and keeping more diverse talent, the people said.
Most of the layoffs were conducted over brief video calls. Impacted employees, some of whom had been put on performance improvement plans through a recent performance review cycle, received two months of salary as severance pay, the people said.
Effectively all laid off workers in North America also received two additional months of pay in order to cover the required notice period of 60 days mandated by law in California, where Snap is headquartered, a company spokesman confirmed. He declined to comment further on specifics around the layoffs. The company reports its fourth-quarter 2023 financial results on Tuesday.
CEO and cofounder Evan Spiegel on Monday sent out a brief email to remaining workers announcing the layoffs, which noted his desire to focus on “in person collaboration” going forward, a clear reference to Snap’s already strict return to office mandate, according to one of the people familiar. Morale at the company remains “extremely low,” an employee said, a common feeling as layoffs have swept through major tech companies this year, making Snap’s new round the latest in a long line of cuts.
Although the total number of employees let go in recent days is less than half of Snap’s last mass layoff in 2022, months of incremental cuts, attrition, and reorganizations of leadership, along with a newly aggressive performance review culture, have employees feeling wary about the future of the company.
“I don’t know where the company is going right now,” an employee said. Another perceived Snap in recent months as a company in “managed decline.”
Spiegel in a January memo reported by BI made clear his desire to become a leader in the AR wearables space, and the company is investing in that direction. Snap has a lot of ground to cover before its Spectacles product catches up with tech companies like Meta and Apple, both of which have already released relatively sophisticated AR/VR headsets. Snap’s core digital advertising business has also struggled to recover since a pandemic-driven high disappeared, despite rivals like Meta seeing new levels of success.
Between layoffs and voluntary attrition, Snap has lost 2,000 people or more since 2022, one of the employees noted, resulting in a roughly 30% cut to head count from its peak of around 6,100 employees.
C-suite executives who were hired or promoted, like Jerry Hunter and Jeremi Gorman, respectively, to build up and manage Snap’s business, are gone and are not being replaced, as CEO Evan Spiegel is taking on oversight of the business. Engineering leaders, too, left the company in recent months. This recent layoff included at least two vice presidents, The Information reported. Snap has hired some new executives, like Patrick Harris, Ronan Harris, Darshan Kantak and Eric Young, but none are in the c-suite.
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