Sleepless in Snapdeal Anxiety 24x7 for Staff Amid Talk of More Job Cuts
Estimates expect the total layoffs so far to number between 500 and 1,500
Supraja Srinivasan & Biswarup Gooptu
Mumbai | New Delhi: A pall of gloom lay over the shiny office complex in Gurugram that houses the corporate office of online marketplace Snapdeal, as employees struggled to deal with the news of layoffs and cost cuts announced this week by the SoftBank-backed company. On Wednesday — a day after cofounders Kunal Bahl and Rohit Bansal said layoffs will be a part of the stringent cost cuts planned at seven-year-old Snapdeal — an ET reporter who visited the office was told about pink-slipped employees returning their companyissued laptops and identity cards. There were also talks of a similar action planned at its technology innovation centre in Bengaluru.
“We have heard that the firing exercise will continue through March,” said an employee who was handed the pink slip on Tuesday. All the employees spoke to ET on the condition of anonymity, given the ongoing uncertainty at a company which has been hit hard by slowing growth, mounting losses, and an inability to catch up with market leaders Flipkart and Amazon over the past 15 months. Company spokepersons, in a written response to an email questionnaire, denied that it was shutting some of its offices, which sources said it was considering. They confirmed that Nitin Sharma, who headed its USbased data sciences centre established in May last year, had left.
“None of the Snapdeal offices are being shut. Nitin Sharma has decided to pursue opportunities outside Snapdeal and the reporting of the California-based data sciences team has been realigned appropriately,” they said.
Sources within the company estimate that about 600 employees from the Gurgaon office have been asked to leave in the past week. Some estimates place the total layoffs to number between 500 and 1,500.
Snapdeal employs about 3,000 people directly and another 5,000 work on contracts at its logistics unit, Vulcan Logistics. An employee who has been asked to leave said while the company has not specified a timeline for payment of arrears, “they (Snapdeal) have signed a statement saying that they owe us a certain amount of money, based on our compensations structures”.
“We have faith that they will pay, because the last time when the customer care centre saw layoffs, the dues were paid to people on time," the person said.
In an internal email to employees, and which was seen by ET, Bahl and Bansal owned up responsibility for the developments, stating: “We started doing too many things, and all of us, starting with myself and Rohit, are to blame for it.” They have both announced they will no longer take salaries from the company and promised to help place employees in other jobs.
In their response a question on how Snapdeal was helping laidoff employees, the spokespeople said: “We have setup an outplacement cell where team members who give consent for their information to be shared with external parties will be introduced to them starting next week.”
Most of the people asked to leave are in the rank of team leads, assistant managers and senior managers who have been offered a three-month severance package. Those at levels of directors and above have been offered a severance package of six months, in line with their notice period. The company email announcing the layoffs said the management will be relieving the employees from services of the company with effect from March 31.
“We reiterate that compensation for impacted individuals will in almost all cases exceed the contractual commitments,” the company said.
While the layoffs have been across the board, catalogue categories including fashion and electronics have been hit the hardest. Electronics and fashion are the flagship categories for the company in terms of revenue and traffic.
ET ARCHIVES Snapdeal cofounders Kunal Bahl and Rohit Bansal promised to help place employees in other jobs