Carta’s covid-19 layoff

The facts

Let me start with details. Today we are going to lay off 161 Carta employees which is 16% of our company. The headcount reduction is not uniform across the company and different teams will be affected differently.

The moral conflict

In town hall a couple of weeks ago I said that there were two perspectives when making decisions about layoffs. The first is the shareholder perspective where reducing costs and protecting cash are what matters most in a recession. The second is the employee perspective where nothing is more important than saving jobs and helping employees as the world heads into unemployment levels the world has not seen since the Great Depression.

How we decided how many and who

Let me start with the shareholder perspective first. Once we modeled a slower growth rate in 2020, the first things we looked at reducing were non-headcount related expenses like non-essential software, AWS, travel, real-estate costs, and so on. After we took all the costs we could out of non-headcount expenses we started looking at headcount.

  1. First, include those people whose role or job function is being eliminated with the new growth projections.
  2. Second, include those people who were in a performance improvement plan or at risk of being put on a performance improvement plan in the near future.
  3. Third, if the above two groups does not reduce the headcount enough for our budget, then do the exercise of “If we had to let go of one more person, who would it be?” until we meet our headcount numbers.

What happens to those affected

For those of you who are leaving Carta today we have modified our Next Chapter program. And here is where we took the employee perspective.

Voluntary Departures

This one-time modification to Next Chapter is more generous than our standard version. One of the core principles of Next Chapter is that departure compensation be the same, and symmetric, whether the company initiates it or the employee does.

Carta alumni

One of my big regrets is that I did not create a Carta Alumni network. My first job out of college was at a company called Trilogy which had a strong culture and an even stronger alumni program. In fact, the next three jobs I got after Trilogy came through the Trilogy alumni network. I want to create the same network for us where Carta alumni can find each other and work together again.

What’s next

After we get off this zoom, if you are affected, you will receive invitations for your departure meetings this morning. After your meetings, we will start turning off access to various systems but we will keep your slack account until the end of the day. It is important that you be able to say goodbye to your friends and colleagues. And it is important that they get to say goodbye to you. To that end, we’ve created the channel #goodbye where affected people can leave personal contact information and anything else you’d like to share.

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