Think scale of the layoffs. And there, the numbers are not in the hundreds. They are in the thousands.
“Forget the founders, there are two bodyguards here”
The mood inside Snapdeal is glum. Employees are being called into meeting rooms, every day, and handed relieving letters. Rohit Bansal, the COO, is nowhere to be spotted in the Gurugram office; actually, employees The Ken spoke with can’t remember seeing him, the last few weeks. Yes, there was the email from Kunal Bahl but that was that. There is no external Human Resource (HR) firm leading the retrenchment exercise. It is just Snapdeal HR. And the job of culling is that of the unit heads, business and technology. Their task is cut out.
“Our job is to cut to 70% of the wage bill,” says a Snapdeal executive, who requested not to be named because he is not authorised to speak with the media. “I fired half of my team day before. By now, close to 700 people have been laid off, and the process is still on. On the business side, the wage bill has come down to about 40%. Tech side by 60%.”
Early last year, on 29 March 2016, the top brass at Snapdeal came together for the quarterly planning meeting. This was around the time Snapdeal had decided that it would pursue the net margin metric. This meeting was also the first time that the subject of layoffs within Snapdeal was first broached. The clear message was, let’s get rid of the bottom 15%. Two employees, The Ken spoke with said that at that point, Snapdeal employed close to about 5,000 people. Next month, in April, about 800 people were laid off.
Cut back to today, and Snapdeal continues to shrink.
“The process is you start at the bottom,” adds the executive quoted above. “There has been no town hall. No meeting with Rohit. Forget the founders, there are two bodyguards in the office, bouncer type. The whole process is opaque. The only person who would actually know what’s happening is Jason Kothari. But he is not in office either. He is operating out of the Hyatt Business Center. It is just 1km from our office. Whenever he has to meet, people are called there.”
The Ken reached out to Snapdeal for comment.