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Navigating Layoffs | Nolan Church | Slush 2023

December 9, 2023
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Min Read
Last updated
December 18, 2023
Jenna Pitkälä
Navigating Layoffs | Nolan Church | Slush 2023
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Want to learn the best business insights from remarkable speakers at Slush 2023, but don’t have the time to watch the full speeches on YouTube?

You’ve come to the right place. Below is a summary of a speech by Nolan Church, co-founder & CEO of Continuum, experienced the layoffs firsthand when Carta decreased its headcount by 13% with him being the Chief People Officer.

(psst: the notes were automatically generated with Wudpecker's AI notetaking tool. If you'd like to check these notes + transcript + audio recording without needing to log in, press here.)

<p class="h1-rich">🤏 TL;DR</p>

The article discusses the challenges and impact of layoffs in the tech industry, with case studies from, Carta, and Airbnb. It emphasizes the importance of treating impacted employees with respect and dignity, offering generous severance packages, and preparing managers for effective communication and empathy. The action items include designing a generous severance package, treating impacted employees with respect, cutting deep for the company's survival, and preparing managers extensively.

<p class="h1-rich">✨ Summary</p>

The Challenges and Impact of Layoffs in the Tech Industry

  • The number of tech employees laid off in the last 2 years is 410,578.
  • Building a company is more complicated than the media narrative suggests.
  • Running layoffs the wrong way can have negative consequences for a company.

Layoffs Gone Wrong - Case Study

  • Vishal Garg, CEO of, faced backlash for his handling of layoffs.
  • employees reported mistreatment and difficulty accessing severance and benefits.
  • Vishal's communication during the layoff came off as insensitive and unprepared.

Layoffs Done Well - Carta and Airbnb Case Studies

Carta's Approach to Layoffs

  • Carta's founder, Henry Ward, took a humane approach to layoffs, treating impacted employees with respect and dignity.
  • Generous severance packages were provided, along with extended healthcare and post-termination exercise windows.
  • All employees were given the opportunity to opt out and take the severance package.

Airbnb's Approach to Layoffs

  • Airbnb's CEO, Brian Chesky, was praised for his empathetic and transparent handling of layoffs.
  • The company provided generous severance packages and support for impacted employees.
  • Airbnb's approach set an example for other companies to follow.

Lessons Learned from Successful Layoffs

  • Cutting deep and quickly is necessary to ensure the company's survival.
  • Giving employees the opportunity to opt in helps identify those who truly want to be part of the company.
  • Treating impacted employees with respect and dignity fosters resilience and loyalty.
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Navigating Layoffs | Nolan Church | Slush 2023
Min Read
Navigating Layoffs | Nolan Church | Slush 2023
Min Read
Navigating Layoffs | Nolan Church | Slush 2023
Min Read

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