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

The Economic Times - - Companies: Pursuit Of Profit -

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

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