Microsoft-owned LinkedIn announced this week that it will cut 960 jobs across its Sales and Talent Acquisition business segments. The cuts represent about 6% of the company’s workforce worldwide. LinkedIn employees were notified of the upcoming changes in a July 20 email from CEO Ryan Roslansky, followed by a post to the LinkedIn Pressroom page. Roslansky attributed the reductions to the changes in how employers have been hiring during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The CEO started out the email on a positive note, talking about how LinkedIn helped people stay connected and provided learning and networking opportunities, as well as tools to help employers hire and prospective employees find new work. As part of the company’s efforts, they launched virtual events, virtual interview feedback and #OpenToWork backgrounds to make matching employers to job candidates easier.
Not Immune to COVID-19 Pandemic
“However, LinkedIn is not immune to the effects of the global pandemic. Our Talent Solutions business continues to be impacted as fewer companies, including ours, need to hire at the same volume they did previously,” Roslansky said. “To continue adapting and accelerating the company like we have been, we need to ensure we are focusing our efforts and resources against our most strategic priorities to set up the company for success today—and well into the future. When we took a hard look at the business, we decided we needed to make some hard calls.”
How LinkedIn Will Support Departing Employees
Roslansky outlined how the company will support employees whose jobs are being impacted.
- Affected employees will receive a minimum of 10 weeks severance pay. This may be adjusted based on longevity and practices specific to certain countries.
- Employees will be eligible for the company’s August stock vesting.
- Employees who are eligible for bonuses will receive bonuses at “full target.”
- U.S. employees will receive 12 months of continuing health insurance via COBRA. Globally, employees will receive six months of continued coverage or the cash equivalent.
- LinkedIn is launching Momentum, a six-month program to help employees find their next role. Momentum will include one-on-one coaching, workshops, and access to LinkedIn Learning courses on interview preparation, job search strategies, etc.
- Employees losing their jobs will be allowed to keep their LinkedIn equipment including cell phones and laptops.
- Employees whose immigration status is affected will receive consultation with external immigration legal advisors.
- Departing employees will be considered for newly created roles at LinkedIn.
Words of Thanks
“To our teammates who are leaving: I deeply thank you for the positive impact you’ve made. Your time and effort have been critical to helping manifest LinkedIn’s vision. Please know these changes aren’t a reflection on you or your work at LinkedIn, but rather, the result of strategic changes we are making to accelerate the vision of the company. You’ve played an important role in building LinkedIn, and I am truly grateful,” Roslansky said.
In his email to employees, the CEO also noted that this is the only planned reduction.
“This is painful to go through as an organization, but a company with a vision as bold as ours will have to make difficult decisions. And since our vision is more important than it ever has been given all that’s going on in the world, I’m confident we’ll emerge more resilient and stronger than ever,” added Roslansky.
The announcement was made just prior to the release of Microsoft’s fourth quarter report for the fiscal year 2020. While LinkedIn revenue was up 10% year-over-year, that doesn’t eliminate the need for changes. Like so many other companies, LinkedIn was significantly impacted by the pandemic. The company stepped in to help employers find job candidates and provide candidates with tools, but they also had to look at their own practices and find efficiencies to continue to be sustainable. These are difficult choices, and LinkedIn won’t be the last employer to make them. We commend them for their generosity and support for their departing employees. While those employees may only represent 6% of LinkedIn’s workforce, each individual impacted represents a career and a family and, to them, this is a big blow.