Lyft assured no layoffs had been coming. Now staff are scrambling for his or her subsequent gig. – Thealike


The day earlier than Lyft shut down its in-house rental service and laid off near 60 staff, the group in control of this system was consumed by what they thought was a a lot larger drawback.

Throughout June, the leases group had tried to get the service up and working in New York with out success. The launch was delayed repeatedly and for quite a lot of causes, together with the necessity to get a brand new insurance coverage supplier within the state. But even after the brand new insurance coverage coverage started July 1, Lyft had nonetheless not opened up its rental enterprise in New York, leaving the group with questions, in keeping with sources who spoke with Thealike on situation of anonymity.

Leadership finally advised the group it was punting on New York altogether and would as an alternative shift operations to opening the in-house rental program in Austin the place there are fewer regulatory hurdles.

Within three weeks, Lyft executives would shutter all the rental program, leaving staff scrambling to search out different positions throughout the firm or threat shedding their employment standing altogether. Lyft additionally introduced that round 60 staff can be laid off.

The layoff bulletins got here simply forward of Lyft second-quarter earnings, which shall be launched Thursday. The earnings name might present extra readability on the path of the corporate and whether or not additional cuts are anticipated. 

July shock

Throughout the failed try and launch in New York, alarm bells went off for a minimum of one staffer, who spoke to Thealike on the situation of anonymity. The worker, in search of some peace of thoughts, held onto Lyft co-founder and president John Zimmer’s feedback throughout a company-wide assembly in May when he spoke about reprioritization, slowing hiring and funds cuts and warranted everybody that layoffs were not being considered

What occurred subsequent took many staff unexpectedly. Employees obtained an e-mail July 19 from Cal Lankton, VP of fleet and world operations — which Thealike has considered — informing them that Lyft had completed its reprioritization after the primary quarter earnings name and determined to close down its in-house leases program and proceed to supply an analogous service by way of its partnerships with Hertz and Sixt.

The e-mail additionally mentioned Lyft would consolidate some areas in world operations and centralize its market operations group — that is primarily on-the-ground operations like driver help and automobile service facilities. Lankton mentioned that two areas – the San Francisco automobile service heart and the Detroit Hub – can be closed down.

“We worked hard to place as many team members as possible in other roles across the business,” Lankton wrote within the e-mail despatched to staff. “However, there won’t be a role for everyone in this new structure. Following this message, impacted team members in the Lyft Rentals central teams and Global Operations will receive a calendar invite by 10:45 am PST to learn what this means for their roles.”

Most of the 60 affected staff came upon by way of a memo. Meanwhile, hourly staff who labored on the bottom at native service facilities came upon once they got here into work and had been advised to go house, in keeping with one supply. 

Ten minutes after the salaried staff obtained the preliminary memo, they obtained a comply with up e-mail from Henry Imber, head of Lyft leases, that defined a bit about what the wind down course of would appear to be and invited the group to a video convention name. 

Stunned and shaky, the group joined the decision and had been advised they’d have 30 days to discover a new position inside Lyft or be separated. HR mentioned they’d provide recruiting help, however didn’t present any particulars on what that might appear to be till they obtained pushback from the workers. 

The group members wished to know if they’d get positioned in new roles or, on the very least, get preferential, expedited therapy. HR mentioned the laid off staffers wouldn’t be positioned in new roles, however their resumes would make it to the recruiter’s desk. 

The laid off staff had been supplied 10 weeks severance pay, which shall be a lump sum cost issued August 19, their final day of labor. 

Lyft didn’t reply to a request for remark. Thealike will replace the article if the corporate does.

What’s subsequent for Lyft?

Since the news of the layoffs, Lyft has helped the group with resume sprucing, interview prep and LinkedIn consultations, in addition to expedited interviews for positions throughout the firm. But disappointment stays excessive for staffers who suppose they need to simply be positioned in new roles, fairly than having to compete with outsiders. 

“The mood’s pretty sour,” mentioned one Lyft worker. “It’s pretty solemn, but everybody’s been professional.”

According to Lyft’s jobs web page, the ride-hail firm is hiring throughout departments, most prominently in advertising, operations and product.

It’s not clear the place the freed up assets will now be directed, however they’ll possible return to Lyft’s core ride-sharing enterprise. During occasions of extra, corporations typically really feel galvanized to start out up new, maybe dangerous, enterprise strains. But when the enterprise or the financial system, or each, takes a nosedive, it’s widespread to see those self same corporations revert again to their authentic mission. Lyft started its rental business in December 2019, simply after Uber shut down an analogous enterprise and simply earlier than the pandemic ripped by way of the world and Lyft’s steadiness sheet, which nonetheless hasn’t absolutely rebounded. 

One Lyft worker who spoke to Thealike mentioned the corporate’s first-quarter earnings name  “set this whole kind of panicky, reactionary decision-making in motion.”

In Q1 2022, Lyft posted sturdy good points by way of energetic ridership and income per rider in comparison with the lows of the primary COVID wave, however the firm additionally reported a notable decline in per-rider income in comparison with This fall 2021 ranges, in addition to a second quarter of sequential declines in energetic ridership.

Investors had been spooked by an unclear near-term development path. The firm’s shares fell greater than 12% in after-hours buying and selling that day, and have solely continued to lower.

At the time of this writing, Lyft shares are buying and selling at $16.71, down from $21.56 on May 4, when Lyft reported Q1 earnings. The weakened inventory efficiency additionally impacts the laid off staff who got stake within the firm as a part of their compensation. They got a particular fairness grant due to the inventory drop, however that doesn’t do a lot if the corporate’s inventory continues to tank. 


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