Doing Things Right in Tough Times: How Greatist Handled Its Layoffs

Can a start-up’s collaborative, humanistic culture be preserved in the face of significant layoffs?

Joel Brockner  | Spring 2020
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Reuben Mark Initiative for Organizational Character and Leadership

CEO and Founder Derek Flanzraich launched Greatist as a digital firm dedicated to delivering news to millennials in the health and wellness space. After five years of steady growth in both capital raised and unique views, the company was suddenly cash poor. Promising investors that the staff would be drastically pared down, Flanzraich teamed with his chief of staff, Jess Siler, to find a humanistic approach to these eminent firings—one that would preserve the organization’s collaborative and trusting culture. This case outlines the steps Siler took to retain the positive working relationships that had previously been forged at the organization—and how as a “reverse recruiter” she was ultimately able to assist in securing new positions for nearly all of those who were downsized.

Case ID: 200409

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