In a note to employees yesterday, Grab CEO and Co-Founder Anthony Tan, announced that the company will be letting go of about 360 Grabbers (employees), or just under 5% of its workforce. 

Staff who were affected were notified via an email at 1pm yesterday, with guidance on next steps.

Those who did not receive the email will keep their jobs, Tan said in his note as he encouraged them to be there for Grabbers who are impacted.

He said: "We want to make sure you can speak to your Business Manager and HR representative personally, and have organised these discussions to take place as soon as possible over the next two days. Please bear with us as we strive to facilitate this process with a high degree of sensitivity, and with utmost respect for your privacy."

To support Grabbers impacted by this exercise, Grab will be providing financial, professional, medical and emotional support that includes:

  • Severance payment of half a month for every 6 months of completed service, or based on local statutory guidelines, whichever is higher. Enhanced separation payment equivalent to about 1.5 months of salary on top of the severance pay as additional assistance during this COVID-19 crisis and bonus for work done in 2020.
  • Waiver of annual cliffs for equity vesting, so that more Grabbers can leave as shareholders. This means that outstanding unvested equity will vest monthly until the employee's last date of employment.
  • Medical insurance coverage until the end of this year through existing medical insurance, or a stipend equivalent, so staff can have peace of mind through these uncertain times.
  • Maternity and paternity leave encashment for female Grabbers who are expecting and male Grabbers whose wife is expecting, as of the last date of employment.
  • Encashment of unused accrued annual leave and unused GrabFlex credits under Grabbers' Flexible Spending Account.
  • Career transition and development support in the form of outplacement support from the Talent Acquisition team and the creation of a Talent Directory that allows recruiters and companies to reach out to impacted Grabbers for opportunities. The company will also provide impacted Grabbers access to sessions with a life coach and half a year’s worth of online career development tools, so they can continue to grow in their personal and professional lives.
  • Emotional support via the Grabber Assistance Programme which impacted staff will continue to be able to access for 3 months after their last date of employment.
  • Finally, impacted Grabbers can opt to keep their laptops to help them in their search of their next adventure.

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In the note, he said: "We understand this news will cause anxiety and dread. Please know that we did not come to this decision lightly. We tried everything possible to avoid this but had to accept that the difficult cuts we are making today are required, because millions depend on us for a living in this new normal.

"Every impacted Grabber has contributed to building Grab into the everyday app that it is today. We are deeply grateful for your efforts and we will do all that we can to help you get back on your feet. We have always hired with the best of intentions for Grabbers to grow together with us. We are truly sorry for what’s happening today. To those who are impacted, we owe you an explanation." 

Tan explained that despite reviewing all costs, cutting back on discretionary spending, and implementing pay cuts for senior management, the organisation realised it has to be leaner in order to tackle the challenges of the post-pandemic economy. 

Hence, it has decided to implement the following: 

  • Sunset some non-core projects
  • Consolidate functions for greater efficiency
  • Right-size teams to better match our changing business needs given the external environment
  • Double-down on our delivery verticals
  • Redeploy Grabbers to meet the increased customer demand for deliveries

Due to the redeployment, Grab has managed to limit the scope of the reduction exercise to just under 5%. 

"I assure you that this will be the last organisation-wide layoff this year and I am confident as we execute against our refreshed plans to meet our targets, we will not have to go through this painful exercise again in the foreseeable future," Tan said. 

READ MORE: How to handle retrenchments responsibly

He added that the Board and leaders continue to be bullish on the business outlook

To steady itself on the path towards sustainability, Grab will: 

  • Focus on adapting its core verticals such as ride-hailing, deliveries, payments and financial services to address the challenges and opportunities of the new normal.
  • Expand support for small businesses by enriching its merchant service offerings. 

Tan concluded his note by highlighting that the firm has faced numerous challenges over the past eight years, and has always been able to survive – and thrive – because its commitment to our customers in Southeast Asia is unwavering. He added that Grab is deeply rooted in the region and will continue to stay true to its mission of driving Southeast Asia forward.

He said: "This is a difficult time for all Grabbers, and I know that this is a lot to take in. If any of you have questions or need a listening ear, please feel free to ping me over email or Slack, and I’ll gladly receive your feedback and do my best to provide answers.

"To the Grabbers who will be leaving us, each of you has made a lasting imprint on our region through your sacrifice, grit and determination. I am deeply grateful for your efforts and we are where we are today because of you. Thank you for sharing your talent and passion with us. Thank you for enriching the lives of Grabbers, our customers, and partners through your contributions. You will always be part of the Grab family."

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