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Citing a advancing “economic standstill” acquired by the COVID-19 pandemic, Compass CEO Robert Reffkin appear Monday that his aggregation had laid off 15 percent of its agents and taken added cost-cutting measures.
Reffkin categorical the cuts in a company-wide letter broadcast Monday, which Inman has aback obtained. In the letter, Reffkin says that because of the coronavirus beginning “we are in the average of one of the best arduous and ambiguous moments in our lifetimes.” He additionally says that the impacts from the communicable accept been “shockingly swift” and that “we aren’t aloof adverse an bread-and-butter recession, we are adverse an bread-and-butter standstill.”
In response, Compass “laid off about 15 percent of our employees” beforehand Monday, Reffkin explains in the letter.
A Compass abettor told Inman that the layoffs activated to 15 percent of the company’s 2,500-person appointment staff, acceptation about 375 bodies would accept absent their jobs.
Reffkin says in the letter that the accommodation to let bodies go was “heartbreaking” but that the aggregation bare to “hope for the best” and “prepare for the worst.” Advisers who were absolved will get a severance package, COBRA bloom allowance and training tools. They will additionally be able to accumulate their aggregation laptops.
“I abide optimistic about our future,” Reffkin ultimately goes on to say. “Compass has a able banknote position, $0 of debt and a accurate business model. I accept complete aplomb in our adeptness to acclimate this storm and animation aback stronger. We are activity to get through this. But not afterwards some difficult canicule ahead.”
Other bulk acid measures accommodate Reffkin’s accommodation to abate his bacon to zero, the accommodation of added admiral to cut their pay by 25 percent, efforts to abate appointment and accumulated expenses, and the ascent aback of the Concierge program.
Reffkin frames these measures as a agency to acclimate the storm. But the letter does acrylic a adequately acute picture. Among added things, Reffkin says that unemployment may accept attempt up from a advantageous akin to 10 percent in the bulk of a month, and that “this will about actually aftereffect in a recession.”
“The best we can achievement for is a V-shaped accretion as against to an continued recession,” he adds.
News of the layoffs was aboriginal appear Monday by The Absolute Deal.
The layoffs appear amidst a time of acute analysis for Compass — assemblage accept been apperception about the timing of an antecedent accessible alms (IPO) for some time — and about two months afterwards a agents drag resulted in several dozen layoffs. At the time of those layoffs, however, Compass still had hundreds of accessible job openings.
Last Thursday, Reffkin additionally alleged on U.S. assembly to accommodate for absolute acreage agents as allotment of their coronavirus bang packages.
Though the coronavirus has bedeviled the absolute acreage industry of late, an controlling at addition aggregation — and who batten on the action of anonymity — said he believes Compass was acceptable already planning the cuts afore the outbreak. It would be unlikely, the controlling argued, that such a big move could be planned an accomplished in the about abbreviate bulk of time aback the coronavirus took off in the U.S.
The controlling additionally argued that Compass needs to charge bottomward costs as it moves against an IPO, and that the beginning offered an befalling to accomplish cuts in an ambiance that would abbreviate abrogating publicity.
“They were already planning on accomplishing this,” the controlling said. “None of this is specific to coronavirus per say. They had to do this.”
However, a Compass abettor told Inman in an email Monday night that belief the layoffs were in the works afore the communicable “is actually untrue.”
I’d like to accord anybody an amend on the appulse of the Coronavirus on our business and some of the decisions we accept fabricated in response. I accept administration is the adeptness to arena yourself in reality, accommodate a eyes of area you appetite to go and outline a bright aisle to accepting there — so I’ll allotment my thoughts in that format.
Grounding Ourselves In The Current Reality
We are in the average of one of the best arduous and ambiguous moments in our lifetimes. The Coronavirus has already shut bottomward absolute cities and countries and disrupted the livelihoods of billions of bodies about the world. We accept all alone aloof amorphous to feel the impacts this will accept on our lives and my affection abnormally goes out to those who are ill themselves or caring for an unwell admired one.
The bread-and-butter fallout from the advance of this virus has been shockingly abrupt and far-reaching. In the aftermost recession, the banal bazaar fell 30% over months. This year, it alone 30% in aloof 22 days, authoritative it the fastest 30% bead in the history of the banal market, faster than the abatement of the Great Depression. Trillions of dollars of wealth, apery people’s activity accumulation and retirement funds, has evaporated. Our own aboriginal abstracts is already assuming a more-than-60% abatement in showings and with “shelter in place” behavior acceptable advancing to the majority of markets, we should apprehend a abundant above decrease. We are modelling a 6-month abatement in acquirement of 50%. In China, for example, affairs were bargain by 80-90% at the acme of the outbreak, however, that was with abundant added akin amusing break measures.
We aren’t aloof adverse an bread-and-butter recession, we are adverse an bread-and-butter standstill. Abounding genitalia of our abridgement will be absolutely shut bottomward for months. As a result, our country will acceptable accept gone from a advantageous akin of application to added than 10% unemployment in a month, faster than any point in our lifetime. This will about actually aftereffect in a recession. The best we can achievement for is a V-shaped accretion as against to an continued recession.
But “hope” isn’t a plan, so today I would like to allotment with you what our plan is.
Over the accomplished week, we accept taken accomplish to abate costs wherever we can in our business: ascent aback Compass Concierge by 80%, alive all casework to basic delivery, pausing accumulated business spend, decidedly abbreviation accumulated costs and appointment costs and awkward all non-essential projects. I bargain my own bacon to $0 and the controlling aggregation has absitively to abate their bacon by 25%.
But amidst this all-around pandemic, we charge to accomplish proactive decisions with the akin of attention and anticipation that this capricious aeon requires. As we abide to achievement for the best, we charge to adapt for the worst. So we are abutting bags of added companies above the country in authoritative the affecting accommodation to let some associates of our aggregation go.
Earlier today, we laid off about 15% of our advisers — passionate, accomplished professionals who did aggregate that was asked of them, went aloft and above for our barter and are abrogation the aggregation through no accountability of their own. We accept been advantageous to assignment alongside these association and will absence them as both colleagues and friends. To abutment their difficult transition, we’re accouterment added severance and COBRA bloom insurance, absolution anybody accumulate their laptops and accouterment exceptional tools, training and claimed networking to advice them acreage their abutting befalling alike in this market. And we achievement to rehire as abounding of them as we can as anon as things acknowledgment to normal.
Our Eyes Of Area We Are Going
With all that is alteration about us, the one affair that isn’t alteration is our vision: creating the distinct belvedere for absolute acreage to empower agents to apprehend their dreams and best serve their buyers and sellers. Helping anybody acquisition their abode in the apple — no amount how our apple changes.
I don’t accept a clear ball, but I accept that in 100 canicule the absolute acreage bazaar will animation aback and our customers, aggregation and country will be aggressive its way out of a recession.
How We Are Activity To Get There
While the timing of the bread-and-butter accretion is uncertain, we are assertive that by authoritative these adamantine decisions today, our company’s approaching is secure. I abide optimistic about our future.Compass has a able banknote position, $0 of debt and a accurate business model. I accept complete aplomb in our adeptness to acclimate this storm and animation aback stronger. We are activity to get through this. But not afterwards some difficult canicule ahead. Today was not an accessible day for Compass. But we are able-bodied positioned to not aloof survive but advance as the abridgement rebounds.
Every advance we’ve fabricated over the accomplished 7 years has set us up to accomplish in an ambiance like this: our tech belvedere and tools, our solutions-driven admission and our ability of accomplishing whatever it takes to empower our customers. Over the accomplished two weeks, we’ve hosted basic sales affairs application our video appointment arrangement for bags of agents and civic abettor calls with arch economists and bankers. We’ve bound launched new video-based training to advice agents to empower them to grow, alike if their business has slowed. We accept real-time, chat-based abutment central our platform; IT abutment 16 hours a day, 7 canicule a week; online accoutrement to agenda affairs with our Abettor Experience Managers; alien desktop admission and online payments and onboarding and more.
While best brokerages won’t body annihilation new over the advancing months for agents and their clients, Compass has the best technology aggregation in absolute acreage and we are activity to abide convalescent our belvedere every distinct day.
During this crisis and beyond, we are activity to accommodate our barter added amount than we anytime accept afore and added amount than any added allowance anytime could.
I say all of this with the abounding ability that what happens with Compass pales in allegory to what’s accident with our planet as a whole. Our apple is actuality activated appropriate now. Our country is actuality activated appropriate now. WE are anniversary actuality activated appropriate now. And we’re actuality reminded of the accent of the alone affair that anytime absolutely matters: our bloom and the bloom of those we love.
But we will prevail. The apple has survived recessions, depressions, accustomed disasters, apple wars, and yes, all-around pandemics, before. I feel hopeful that China’s credible success at abbreviation the advance of the Coronavirus and restarting their astronomic abridgement may accommodate a adapt for our future, as well. And I feel hopeful because of the means I see bodies throughout our aggregation and throughout our association dispatch up during this arduous time. Thank you.
Please abide to do whatever you charge to booty affliction of yourselves, your families and admired ones, your communities and anniversary added during this time. If you are in charge of abutment yourself, amuse ability out to your bodies & ability partner, your manager, or me directly.
Updated: This column was adapted afterwards advertisement with added advice from Reffkin’s letter, industry annotation and added context.
Email Jim Dalrymple II
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