Shortly after Musk bought Twitter, he had talked about gutting 75% of the Twitter workforce. The number later became closer to 50% of the total 7500 employees. However, many of those who survived the initial wave of lay-offs at the beginning of this month later quit (including several key executives). To add more fuel to the fire Musk announced an out-right ban on remote work (with a few exceptions). It is not certain how many more employees quit when he announced the new policy. Then there is the Twitter 2.0 Ultimatum email Musk sent out Tuesday night/Wednesday morning of this week telling employees if they plan to stick around expect hard core, high intensity work at the office or they could leave with 90-days severance. Employees had until 5:00 PM EST Thursday, November 10th to ‘click yes; they would stay. Early reports from that evening seemed to indicate that many more employees were choosing to take the money and the run than Musk had expected.
Now, suddenly Musk has changed his tune on remote work saying all they needs is manager’s approval. However, it is the manager’s reasonability to ensure the remote employ is “making an excellent contribution” and they (the manager) fails at this it is the manager who is going to get fired (and I am guessing along with the employee too). The change in policy may have a come a bit too late as employees were already upset being told prior they must return to the office.
So, how many employees took up Elon on his offer to get their life back just in time for the holidays (and get 3-months advance pay too)?
Certainly, the numbers are stunning to nearly everyone else. The New York Times reported earlier today that based on its sources’ internal estimates, at least 1,200 full-time employees just handed in their figurative key cards. (Peter) Clowes, in a long series of tweets about his own departure, suggests the number could be even higher. Talking about his own “org,” he writes that “85%+” of his colleagues were laid off in October and that a stunning “80%” of those who remained opted out yesterday.
Clowes wrote, for example, that he left because he “no longer knew what I was staying for. Previously I was staying for the people, the vision, and of course the money (lets all be honest). All of those were radically changed or uncertain.”
Clowes left because had he stayed he “would have been on-call constantly with little support for an indeterminate amount of time on several additional complex systems I had no experience in.”
Among the major factors for employees leaving were no “Five year plan for Twitter”…though at this point five years doesn’t even seem likely (nor does five months or even five weeks). No retention of a retention bonus for those who opted to stay. In the Summer of 2000 I landed a customer support job with an independent student loan servicing company. During my interview they mentioned they were being bought by a major loan servicing company but did not expect anything to change. I was hired on and the second day the merger went through. We didn’t really know what that meant for us and being in training we were isolated from the rest of the employees. Later that week we went out to the ‘floor’ and were paired up with an employee so we could get a better understanding of the types of calls we would be handling. The first thing the employees asked us was if we had seen the severance package. Again, didn’t think much of it at the time given what HR told us when we interviewed.
A couple weeks later was an ‘all hands’ meeting and they told us due to the merger they would be shutting down our location in the Spring of 2021. They reminded us even though we were the last ‘class’ to be hired we would be eligible for the severance package which included at least 2-months pay (2 regular bi-monthly pay checks after separation and then 30-days pay plus 1-week for each year) on the official lay off date (30-days from separation). Also, included in the package was stock options which we could hold on to or sell after a certain amount of time had passed. Then came the ‘carrot’, schools would be starting soon and the new company would still need time to transition. If we stayed through December we would get $1000 (before taxes) retention bonus. The $1000 was a big part of me staying as were the Monday-Friday hours with no mandatory overtime plus being located in a downtown there were plenty of places to eat in walking distance for our 1-hour lunches.
In Twitter’s case there has not been a ‘carrot’ or any other signs that Musk values the remaining employees (though we know he does not value anyone who disagrees with him). It seems like he is weeding out those who don’t share his vision for Twitter though that remains largely unclear. Sure he has shared some plans, but then again he has refereed to some of those plans as ‘stupid things‘. Which is why his ultimatum almost seems like it was part of his original plan of trimming 75% of the workforce. But, then his sudden about-face in regards to remote work would seems odd if he isn’t concerned about retaining employees. Perhaps he is realizing by not having employees working in the office will save him money. He was complaining earlier this week about the ‘free’ lunches for employees were costing around $400 each since no one is in the office.
Then there is the matter of timing. It is the week before the US Thanksgiving holiday and the kick-off to the rest of the holiday season (Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Christmas, New Years, etc.) It does seem many of the employees given a choice want to spend their holidays with their families rather then be stuck working (and sleeping) in the office. Especially when Musk is proving an incentive NOT to stay with the company. Had he waited until January (if Twitter is still around by then), he likely would have had a better response…unless this is all part of this evil plan all along….
via Tech Crunch