Today, we shared the difficult news with our employees that we are reducing the number of roles in our sales and talent acquisition teams by approximately 960 roles, representing 6% of our company. This is in no way a reflection of the incredible talent that these employees possess, but instead a reflection of how we are evolving the business to better support our members and customers.
While the decision will help us ensure our company and platform are resilient and emerge stronger to reach our vision, there is simply no harder decision to make. We are committed to a thoughtful and compassionate transition process and are helping with financial, healthcare, and career support.
For more information, read the full note from our CEO to LinkedIn employees below.
We are entering our new fiscal year with a greater sense of urgency than ever to stay ahead of the paradigm shifts our members are facing. Everywhere, people are adapting to new ways of staying connected, learning, networking, selling, hiring, and finding work. We got ahead of this shift in March and moved with speed to adapt and innovate. We added many new features to our products and even launched new products like virtual events, #OpenToWork, and virtual interview feedback. We used our platform to showcase trusted news & voices, made our recruitment tools free for those fighting the pandemic, and pledged to help 25 million people worldwide acquire the skills they need for free.
And thanks to all of you and your hard work, we are seeing that sense of urgency and innovation reflected in strong member engagement, record numbers of hours spent learning on the platform, and in the continued momentum across Marketing Solutions, Premium, Learning Solutions, and Sales Solutions.
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.
Normally, we would have rolled out our annual plan at the end of June. But as I've shared at the Company All Hands, this year we've been taking our time to get the FY21 plan right given the changing dynamics around us. And in advance of sharing the entire plan, I want to focus today specifically on the most challenging decision we’ve made to move forward with our strategy.
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.
After weeks of discussion and deliberation, the executive team and I have made the extremely difficult decision to reduce approximately 960 roles, or about 6 percent of our employee base, across our Global Sales and Talent Acquisition organizations. I’m sharing this news today so that everyone has the complete picture of these changes and why we are making them, and I want you to know these are the only layoffs we are planning.
What we are changing
First, there are a set of roles in GSO that are no longer needed as we evolve the way we work with our talent media customers and small businesses.
We’re seeing the product investments we've made over the past two years in LMS deliver incredible results, but we are still managing a separate talent media business in LTS. By moving from two separate media businesses to a unified approach across all customers that leverages our LMS investments, we will be able to serve our customers holistically and not have to continue duplicating costly platforms, systems, and tools internally.
Similarly, in order to service more small businesses better, we must move from servicing them through a field sales team to servicing them online. To drive customer value for small businesses, we've kicked off a very substantial product investment, including our products-and-services marketplace and a unified online storefront channel strategy. This online channel approach will allow us to better serve the millions of small businesses that will need LinkedIn through this pandemic and beyond—and aligns with how we plan to focus our field sales efforts on our higher value relationships.
Second, as mentioned above, COVID-19 is having a sustained impact on the demand for hiring, both in our LTS business and in our company. In GSO and GTO, there are roles that are no longer needed as we adjust to the reduced demand in our internal hiring and for our talent products globally.
While this decision will help us ensure that our company and platform are resilient and emerge stronger to reach our vision, there is simply no harder decision to make as a CEO.
These reductions impact our colleagues personally—talented people who have chosen to spend their time and energy working at LinkedIn. When we all chose to join LinkedIn, it was to realize our vision. And parting ways with our colleagues who share this vision is difficult.
We took extreme care in making these changes and were guided by these principles, which are in line with our culture and values.
Consistency and Fairness: Consistent with our culture of integrity, we prioritized fairness, consistency, and compliance throughout this process.
Diversity: We were unwavering in our commitment to diversity.
Compassion: We made each and every decision with compassion, pledging to help impacted employees look for other roles within the company, build new skills, and land on their feet if they no longer have a role at LinkedIn.
What we are doing to support affected employees
We are committed to a thoughtful and compassionate transition process and are helping with comprehensive financial, healthcare and career support.
Financial: We’re providing a minimum of ten weeks of severance pay. This may increase based on tenure and country-specific practices, and is in addition to a paid notification period that varies by country. In addition, a payment in lieu of FY20 bonuses will be paid out at full target for those who are bonus-eligible, and departing employees will be eligible for our August stock vesting.
Healthcare: In the U.S., we’ll pay for 12 months of continuing health insurance through COBRA to give employees and their families peace of mind during uncertain times. More broadly across the globe, we are offering 6 months of healthcare continuation or the cash equivalent in group premiums where applicable based on local plans and regulations.
Career transition assistance: We’ve created a special six-month offering called Momentum to help employees successfully find their next role. This includes 1:1 coaching, workshops, and LinkedIn Learning courses on interview prep, compensation fundamentals, job search strategies, and integrating into a new role. We’re also creating an opt-in directory to help departing employees showcase their experiences and be more discoverable to potential employers.
Technology: All departing employees will have the opportunity to keep LinkedIn cell phones, laptops, and recently purchased equipment to help work from home, so they have the practical tools they need to help with career transitions.
Immigration support: Our global immigration team will reach out to provide personalized support to those on company-sponsored visas, and LinkedIn will also pay for one-on-one consultations with external immigration legal advisors.
Potential placements: As we invest in our most strategic areas for growth, we will be hiring for newly-created roles across the company, and we will work with employees impacted by today’s announcement to explore these opportunities.
What happens next
In terms of what happens next, countries have different requirements for how employment decisions and notifications are handled. And I’ve sent this email at a time (11:00pm PT in California) to make sure that employees around the globe hear all of this important news from me first.
In some countries, decisions about individual impact will be made and communicated this week, and in other countries, we will be starting the employment consultation process to talk through proposed changes before making and communicating decisions. I’d like to reiterate that these changes only directly impact our GSO and Talent Acquisition teams, and those who are potentially impacted will receive a meeting invite within the next two hours to learn more about next steps. If you don’t receive a meeting invite, you are not directly impacted by this change.
It's important to know that while we’re announcing one set of organizational changes, the decisions about individual impacts and notifications to those employees will not occur at the same time across all countries.
Affected employees who work in North America, Brazil, and parts of APAC will be made aware of impacts to their roles in the next 24 hours. These departing employees will be with us through August 21st. Impacted employees in Dubai will also be notified in the next 24 hours and will be with us through September 29th.
Employees in Ireland, the UK, and Australia have begun consultation about potential impacts to roles and we will continue to work through those locally.
Employees who work in France, Sweden, and Spain will learn more about proposed impact to roles during August, and employees in Italy will hear about proposed impacts in September.
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.
For everyone else: I know I can count on you to do everything in your power—through references, advice and mentoring, and connections in your network—to help our talented teammates move on to their next plays. Thank you for showing your support, gratitude and compassion for all that they’ve done to help build the company we are today and for all they’re experiencing. At our next All Hands on August 5, I’ll be sharing more about our overarching FY21 plan, strategy, and areas of growth and investment.
As I said above, this is the only reduction we're planning. 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.