Twilio joins other tech companies to cut pandemic-era benefits in second round of layoffs

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Twilio is the latest company to cut some of its lavish employee perks in an effort to dial back expenses.
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We kicked off the week with yet another tech layoff announcement. Twilio CEO Jeff Lawson announced Monday that the company would cut 1,500 jobs, about 17% of its workforce, just five months after it dismissed 11% of employees, citing too fast growth. Also on the chopping block: some flashy employee perks that became staples during the pandemic. The move speaks to a broader industry trend of employers cutting costs by revoking the same lavish benefits once used to attract and retain employees. 

According to Lawson, the company will no longer provide its signature book and wellness benefits. It previously offered employees a $30 monthly book allowance and a reimbursement for wellness expenses. Most notably, the company also rolled back its Twilio Recharge program, a perk that allowed employees to take a four-week paid sabbatical every three years. Twilio declined to comment on the matter. 

While Lawson stated that he fully supports the sabbatical program, he wrote in his memo that, in retrospect, it “was ill-timed given our profitability goals.” Employees who are already eligible, or are to become eligible for the program this year, will still be able to take it.

Though it’s debatable whether layoffs are the big cost-savers leaders believe them to be, scrapping perks and benefits has become low-hanging fruit in the face of economic uncertainty. TikTok, Meta, and Google have all cut perks like free laundry and meal stipends, and Salesforce announced that it would cut its monthly paid day off starting in fiscal year 2024. Netflix also notoriously cut down on the free corporate swag employees can access. 

It doesn’t just stop at traditional perks. “A July survey from Gartner found that 72% of chief financial officers plan to cut real estate and facilities management budgets by the end of the year, the highest of any corporate function,” wrote my colleague Paige McGlauflin in a 2022 piece for Fortune

Twilio plans to do the same, stating it will close some of its offices due to low attendance. For employees who consider escaping to the office a perk, this is yet another cutback.

Amber Burton

Reporter's Notebook

The most compelling data, quotes, and insights from the field.

In a newly released poll from the job site Monster, 37% of employees report having more than one full-time job, and 57% of those with one full-time role say they’re willing to consider taking on another. And it's not that these workers are greedy either. Many say the additional employment feels necessary. 

“They’re doubling up only because their main job isn’t providing enough money to make ends meet. Additionally, almost half said they’re worried their current job will lay them off, and they’re seeking another as a backup plan,” writes Jane Thier for Fortune.

Around the Table

A round-up of the most important HR headlines, studies, podcasts, and long-reads.

- Inflation cooled slightly in January, dropping to 6.4% from 6.5% in December. Wall Street Journal

- Women are returning to the workforce at a higher rate than men after bearing the brunt of pandemic-era job losses. Washington Post

- Luxury bassinet company Happiest Baby has a workplace culture that is...not so happy. Insider

- In a competitive labor market, generous compensation is the bare minimum to retain and recruit talent. New York Times


Everything you need to know from Fortune.

No more spirit. The office’s diminishing role as a place for social interaction will hurt young people the most, says venture capitalist Marc Andreessen. “I think the idea of sitting in an apartment in front of the screen with DoorDash and Tinder is not a good life.” —Steve Mollman

Fine chocolate or chocolate fine. Mars-Wrigley was fined for breaching health and safety regulations after two contractors became trapped in a vat of chocolate. —Chloe Berger

Work, work, work. Being a popstar, cosmetics mogul, and billionaire doesn’t exempt Rihanna from the age-old struggle of work-life balance. —Chloe Berger 

Pardon the ramble. Marc Benioff acknowledged that hosting a two-hour all-hands meeting a day after announcing layoffs was a bad idea. “We were trying to explain the unexplainable." —Prarthana Prakash

This is the web version of CHRO Daily, a newsletter focusing on helping HR executives navigate the needs of the workplace. Today’s edition was curated by Paolo Confino. Sign up to get it delivered free to your inbox.

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