Some Cornerstone OnDemand, Shiftgig Employees Get Lumps of Coal, Pink Slips in Stocking

For most white-collared employees, the holidays are a time of secret Santas, office parties, and budget meetings. For some employees at Cornerstone OnDemand and ShiftGig, however, this year brings stockings full of pink slips and coal instead of fat bonuses and fat guys in md outfits.

Reported in Crain’s Chicago Business, ShiftGig, the company that promises to connect people who want hourly work with companies who need them, laid off 75 people, representing about a third of its workforce.

“Most of the jobs cut were outside Chicago and involved workers in sales and customer-support roles,” the Crain’s article said. “The company wants to centralize that work in Chicago before it adds new markets, making it easier to scale up later. But Shiftgig also is automating some work.”

“We are eliminating remote locations and most traditional manual support functions in favor of a Chicago-based team and technology investments,” the company said in a statement. “This is a reorganization to focus on technology-enabled clients and Chicago. By building our team here, we have access to some of the most talented engineers, salespeople, marketers, and customer success managers in the country.”

ShiftGig brought on Wade Burgess, an executive from LinkedIn, to be its CEO in September, replacing co-founder Eddie Lou, who became executive chairman. The company has received $56 million in funding since launching in 2012.

As expected, the reviews on Glassdoor weren’t very flattering. “At the end of the day, if you want to go to work in a place that kicked all their team without notice … this is your place, otherwise, anything is better … trust me,” said one review. “Seriously, this company is a fake with really bad CEO, managers, and VPs,” said another.

In a post on December 6 announcing a new president of global field operations and the departure of its chief operating officer, Cornerstone OnDemand highlighted layoffs.

“Cornerstone’s strategic plan includes migrating its enterprise delivery professional services business to the company’s global ecosystem of partners,” said the company in the release. “To effect the migration, Cornerstone is augmenting its partner operations and delivery assurance functions while reducing overall headcount in its service delivery division, as partners take on the majority of the company’s professional services work. This aligns with Cornerstone’s sharpened focus on recurring revenue.

“The strategic plan also calls for the company to more aggressively drive operating margins and free cash flow, especially related to sales and marketing. In furtherance of this objective, the company announced a reduction in sales headcount, targeted at teams with the highest customer acquisition costs.”

The company added that the changes represented a total workforce reduction of approximately 6 percent globally.

According to LinkedIn, the company employs about 2,000 people, which translates to approximately 120 people getting laid off, with sales taking the hardest hit. “Not great foresight and planning ability from upper management” was posted on Glassdoor. “I was hired two months prior to massive company-wide layoffs letting go 40 percent of their sales staff. The entire onboarding and exit process seemed unorganized and sloppy which is ironic considering the type of software and services they provide. The company has gotten large enough that the current CEO, Adam Miller, no longer knows how to run it properly.”

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Someone else added on Glassdoor, “Would you want to work for a company that has surprise layoffs two weeks before Christmas? Me neither. It’s a sign of what this company has become. They used to care about their employees and promote hard work, now they’ve become the worst example of corporate ineptitude.”

To its credit, a VP of talent replied on Glassdoor, saying “We agree, horrible, Layoffs are never well-timed, but we wanted to let those impacted know as soon as possible so they could plan accordingly. In fact, the majority will actually remain with us for over three months. We also have offered those impacted compensation and outplacement assistance.”

It’s worth noting, LinkedIn was part of a group that made a $300 million investment in Cornerstone in November. Pure speculation, but if LinkedIn/Microsoft acquired Cornerstone OnDemand, layoffs in the sales department now would be better than later.

Attempts to contact Cornerstone OnDemand for this post went unanswered.

Update: With regard to the Glassdoor comment about 40 percent of the sales team being laid off, Cornerstone OnDemand says, “the facts stated in this quote about the size of the layoff and the team it impacted are not true and may be misleading to readers.”

Additionally, the press contact from Cornerstone OnDemand I attempted to reach for this story was on vacation. I never received an automated reply with alternate contacts, which is pretty standard, but apparently one was sent. Messages to my editor that were then forwarded to me also failed to be delivered. For its side of the story, Cornerstone OnDemand wants to make sure readers are directed to its press release.

Joel Cheesman has over 20 years experience in the online recruitment space. He worked for both international and local job boards in the late ‘90s and early ‘00s. In 2005, Cheesman founded HRSEO, a search engine marketing company for HR, as well as launching an award-winning industry blog called Cheezhead. He has been featured in Fast Company and US News and World Report. He sold his company in 2009 to Jobing.com. He was employed by EmployeeScreenIQ, a background check company. He is the founder of Ratedly, an app that monitors anonymous employee reviews. He is married and the father of three children. He lives in Indianapolis.

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