Layoffs & Teaching the Biz

Company Culture

In late February, we were in a difficult position and had to downsize the team to move the business forward. (Read Edition No. 077: Facing Tough Decisions) Over the last couple of months, we've received feedback about the team's perception of the layoffs, mostly in one-on-ones and through our Team Leads.

While we thought concerns were addressed in one-on-one conversations, the Team Leads recently shared that they felt there were still gaps worth addressing team-wide. A common theme was that the layoffs seemed sudden. There are aspects to these situations that will always come as a surprise to the team; however, the Partners and I were curious about what opportunities there might be to educate the team.

After chatting through the Team Lead's concerns, we agreed that outlining what led to the layoffs from a business perspective would be helpful. While we're transparent with the team about the agency's finances through quarterly updates, we hadn't explicitly connected the dots between the layoffs and our financial performance.

In our April Monthly Team Meeting on Thursday, we used a portion of our time to dig into what led to the layoffs through the numbers, showing how delayed projects, over-serviced accounts, and rising freelance costs are a recipe for disaster. It's always hard to tell how folks receive these conversations, but a few people shared appreciation as we closed out the meeting. I also sent out a feedback form today for any additional thoughts or questions.

Helping the team understand how our business operates continues to be important as we grow and evolve as an agency. Some folks may write off business concepts as unnecessary for those steeped in the day-to-day work; however, we believe it is valuable for everyone from the CEO to interns. Down the line, we hope that these efforts will help our team see how daily decisions can impact the agency's trajectory and growth.

We can't expect a single presentation to close the gaps, but it's a step in the right direction. I am eager to create more opportunities to discuss similar topics as a team down the line.

This post originally appeared in Edition No. 086 of my newsletter. Subscribe here.

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