The following blog post originally went out as an email from Sriharsha Majety (Co-founder & CEO, Swiggy) to all Swiggy employees, on 18 May, 2020.
Thanks for attending the town hall today, and I hope you’re staying safe and well. As I’d mentioned during the session, today is one of the saddest days for Swiggy as we have to go through an unfortunate downsizing exercise. With a heavy heart, I have tried to share the reasons and details of the process below, because you deserve to know.
As you all know, we started chalking out an accelerated path to profitability for the food delivery business last December. We also started making great progress on our unit economics over the following months before Covid hit us. We had mentioned that we will be focusing on being efficient everywhere – including employee costs – and that we’d come back when we have greater clarity.
As we came closer to chalking out the final details of that exercise, Covid hit us with another huge blow of uncertainty, forcing us to look even harder at our cost base and preparedness for the road ahead. While Covid might have long-term tailwinds for the delivery business and digital commerce when things settle eventually, nobody knows how long the uncertainty will last. We therefore need to be prepared to see through this winter, to emerge stronger on the other side. While all our hard work and some good luck has meant that we have had a stable setup all these years, we have to make some very hard decisions today.
I want to start by first sharing the management outlook and key business decisions we have made given the landscape.
- The core food delivery business has been severely impacted and will stay impacted over the short term, but is expected to start growing again after that. We need to hence prepare to come out stronger on the other side by continuing to build on capabilities that will help us make the most of the opportunity when things are better again. While we are very fortunate to have raised capital just before Covid hit and have sufficient runway today, it is incredibly important to prepare for worse scenarios in the macro environment and make sure we are protected.
- We also need to build a much leaner org and reduce costs to be able to withstand any further risks from the uncertainty. We will have to reduce our expenses such that we can achieve profitability with a smaller order volume than hitherto planned. This will be done keeping in mind already identified efficiencies, along with additional reductions in teams and initiatives that will have lower activity because of Covid.
- We are choosing to scale down or shut down adjacent businesses that are either going to be highly volatile or will not be highly relevant for the next 18 months. The biggest impact here is on the cloud kitchens business, with many unknowns about volumes through the year. Since the onset of Covid, we have already begun the process of scaling down our kitchen facilities temporarily or permanently, depending on their outlook and profitability profile. We are already operating at significantly lower levels on our staffing and physical infra than our earlier footprint, and will continue to optimize before we get more clarity on order volumes for food delivery.
- While this crisis has impacted our core business negatively, there is no doubt that we are now at an inflection point for the penetration of digital commerce and home delivery in India. This offers us opportunities to continue investing our efforts in grocery and other service offerings that we think will continue to do well. We are going to invest in these high-confidence efforts to focus not on surviving alone, but on growing along the way by adapting very quickly. To enable this, we have already re-aligned some team members from other businesses into these initiatives.
- Identify and significantly reduce every single indirect cost like hubs, office infrastructure, etc. While we will come back to share more information on this, it is one of the areas where we feel the cut is most prudent given it doesn’t affect customer or employee experience. We’ve all done some of the greatest work of our time at Swiggy over the last few weeks working remotely, and that’s reason enough to believe this can be done.
In line with the above business decisions, we unfortunately have to part ways with 1100 of our employees spanning across grades and functions in the cities and head office over the next few days. This is easily the hardest and longest deliberated decision the management team and I have been faced with over recent times. We have been fortunate to have some of the brightest missionary talent in the country join us over the last few years, and I would like to state unequivocally that this is not at all a reflection of anyone’s performance.
Ever since the day it became clear that we will need to downsize, Girish and I were very clear about a few things. We have always believed in treating people with care and respect at Swiggy, and this process will be 10x more important from that perspective. Without the key contributions of every Swiggster, we wouldn’t have achieved all that we have, and it’s really the least we can do in this unfortunate situation.
While we waited to see if we can have these conversations F2F, it’s increasingly looking like a long time away before we get back to our offices. We are, however, definitely going to do this 1-1 and make sure we do this in the most respectful way possible.
Over the next few days, the HR team along with the line manager will have a 1-1 conversation with impacted employees providing further details regarding the next steps and clarifying any questions you may have. All other employees will receive appropriate communication from your line managers regarding the continuity of your role with Swiggy.
We are fully committed to providing the best financial, emotional and career-related support that we can to make this journey less painful, and to ease the burden on you and your families. We have done our best to be thoughtful and express our gratitude & support through a care package, with details below.
DETAILS OF THE CARE PACKAGE
While our primary objective is to ensure that all employees who are leaving us are able to meet their financial commitments and expenses till they find another role, we also want to display our gratitude to team members who have worked with us for longer and have made sustained contributions over the years believing in the mission. The details are below:
- All impacted employees will receive at least 3 months of salary irrespective of their notice period or tenure.
- For every year they have spent with us, we will be offering an extra month of ex-gratia in addition to their notice period pay, working out to between 3-8 months of salary depending on the tenure.
E.g. If someone’s notice period is 3 months and they’ve spent 5 years with us, they will get 8 months of salary.
Many team members have joined Swiggy believing in the growth potential of the company and even preferred ESOP to cash at the time of joining. While our standard ESOP policy has a 1-year cliff and annual vesting, we will now be extending ESOP vesting to the nearest quarter (including the months of notice period) and waive off the 1-year cliff for those who have not completed 1 year.
Healthcare & Wellness Benefits
During the current health crisis, we want to ensure we provide all possible support for the medical care of impacted employees and their families. To facilitate this, we are providing:
- Medical Insurance cover for them and nominated family members till 31st December 2020. Additionally, we will also be providing insurance cover for their parents.
- Accident and Term insurance till 31st December 2020.
- A Wellness Assistance Programme to ensure the physical, emotional/mental and financial well-being of impacted employees and their families, providing unlimited tele/video consultation access to experienced doctors, counsellors and financial advisors till 31st December 2020.
Career Transition Support
We want to ensure a smooth career transition for the impacted employees, and want to help them find new opportunities. This is something the outplacement cell has been working really hard on and I hope we can get a large percentage of impacted employees placed through this effort. I will also be sharing an update on our outplacement effort at a later time.
- We will have a dedicated and fully-trained talent acquisition team assisting impacted employees round the clock in identifying suitable opportunities and providing necessary career support for the next 3 months.
- We will also offer free outplacement support from RiseSmart for mid-senior management employees, giving full access to their career coaching services, content and personalized job search.
Given that connectivity is going to be paramount during this time from a career transition standpoint, impacted employees will be enabled to retain their allocated work laptops and be supported on mobile phone communication allowance for the next 3 months.
To ensure that the journey of upskilling oneself continues for the impacted employees, we will be providing free LinkedIn Learning access for the next 3 months, for both technical and professional skill development. We have also curated and assigned content to them around resume building, interviewing skills, emotional intelligence, etc. that will help them with their career transition during this time.
We will support impacted employees who have relocated to join Swiggy within the last 1 year by reimbursing the expenses in case they wish to move back.
A dedicated set of HR team members will assist the impacted employees with their queries pertaining to the Care Package, reimbursement and settlements, insurance, and any other relevant areas.
To all impacted teammates, I cannot even imagine how stressful this can be and want to let you know we are by your side and are going to do everything we can to help with the situation. We have all built the company together brick by brick and have been very lucky to have you join us on this journey. I am very sorry for having to make this decision, but want to wish you only the very best with everything and want to thank you deeply for all your contributions to Swiggy.