DocuSign to lay off 9% of workforce

Job cuts come on the heels of San Francisco-based firm announcing new CEO

DocuSign to lay off 9% of workforce

DocuSign has joined the growing list of American employers reducing headcount ahead of an anticipated recession.

The San Francisco-based company will lay off 9% of its workforce as part of a major restructuring plan, DocuSign said in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on Wednesday. As of January, the electronic signature software maker had 7,461 employees, and it said the restructuring plan will largely be complete by the end of fiscal year 2023.

DocuSign announced earlier this month that Allan Thygesen, currently the president of Americas and global partners at Google, will become its new CEO on Oct. 10 after former CEO Dan Springer stepped down in June.

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DocuSign’s layoffs come on the heels of Lyft implementing a hiring freeze in the United States through the end of the year, The New York Post reported. Earlier this week, job candidates were informed that the ride-sharing app was pausing the hiring process, canceling interviews and virtual on-sites, according to candidates on anonymous professional social network Blind.

Ahead of an economic downturn, three out of four (78%) American workers are fearful they will lose their jobs, according to a survey from Insight Global, a national staffing services company. Meanwhile, 56% of American workers say they don't feel financially prepared for a recession or they don't know how they would prepare for a recession. More than half (54%) would be willing to take a pay cut, even with inflation at a 40-year high, to avoid being laid off if there were a recession.

“It's unfortunate we're already seeing some companies turn to mass layoffs because I believe layoffs should be the absolute last resort,” said Bert Bean, CEO of Insight Global. “Instead, I encourage leaders to consider other solutions, such as building a plan that avoids layoffs and helps you grow through a recession. Get your employee base executing on that, because when you bounce back from a recession, you'll need your people more than ever.”

Of course, HR leaders who experienced the global recession of 2008-2009 are better positioned to weather this potential storm. They’ve learned what works and business leaders will be turning to them to take the helm. As for HR professionals who are about to enter uncharted territory, this will be trial by fire.

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“You never know how long these scenarios will last,” Jaemi Taylor, managing director in the HR practice of Allegis Partners, told HRD. Before joining the New York City-based executive search firm, Taylor spent nearly 20 years recruiting HR leaders, having worked for Robert Half, Beacon Hill and ChapmanCG.

“I’ve worked with HR leaders during COVID who asked the CEO or the board for more time, whether that’s a quarter or a month, before making drastic cuts,” Taylor says. “You want to review critical hiring, determine critical business initiatives and most importantly, avoid knee-jerk reactions.”

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