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Finance startup SoFi lays off employees, takes steps to improve company culture

By Jacob Klopfenstein, KSL.com  |  Posted Feb 2nd, 2018 @ 8:38am


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COTTONWOOD HEIGHTS — Online lending company SoFi has laid off dozens of employees from its Utah and California offices, according to news reports.

The Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday that SoFi—short for Social Finance—has cut 65 jobs from its 1,300-person staff. That’s about five percent of the startup’s total workforce, according to the report.

The Journal’s report cited “people familiar with the matter.”

In an email on Thursday, SoFi spokesman Jim Prosser did not say exactly how many people had been let go but said it was a “small percentage” of the overall employee base. The layoffs were started and completed on Tuesday, he said.

“Coming off a record-breaking 2017, we’ve made some changes to staffing to ensure we have the right people in the right roles and locations to power our growth,” Prosser said in the email.

Prosser did not say which specific departments of the company had been affected by the layoffs.

The company has an office at 2750 E. Cottonwood Parkway in Cottonwood Heights and is headquartered in Healdsburg, California.

Prosser also said the company is hiring for 175 positions across its various branches across the country. SoFi’s careers site listed 84 specific openings as of Thursday evening.

There were various job openings listed on the website at the company’s Utah branch, which Prosser said is still expanding.

He said the company is “investing in both existing and new products for our members.”

The company came under fire in September when SoFi’s former CEO Mike Cagney resigned following allegations of sexual harassment.

In a September letter to employees, Cagney said he wanted the company to focus on helping its members. That couldn’t happen with him at the helm and the continuing attention on the allegations against him, he said.

“Recently ... the focus has shifted more toward litigation and me personally,” Cagney wrote in the letter. “The combination of HR-related litigation and negative press have become a distraction from the company’s core mission.”

The company announced last week that former Twitter executive Anthony Noto would start March 1 as SoFi’s new CEO.

Prosser said Tuesday’s layoffs were not related to Cagney’s resignation. However, the company has made some changes following Cagney’s departure.

In a November letter to investors, SoFi Interim CEO Tom Hutton acknowledged that the company was the target of several lawsuits that alleged misconduct.

“(We) are taking strong steps to make clear that we will resolutely enforce our policies against sexual harassment and other inappropriate behavior,” Hutton said in the letter. “If someone at SoFi acts improperly, we want to know about it. And we will act swiftly and severely to address any issues.”

In a blog post published on the company’s website in December, SoFi Chief Human Resources Officer Jing Liao said about 81 percent of the company’s employees took a survey that addressed the company’s culture.

After the survey results came in, the company created two groups designed to improve culture and communication within the company, Liao said. One group was focused on the company’s culture as a whole, while the other was focused on diversity and inclusion.

“We have developed new channels for people to anonymously provide feedback on any issue within the company, rolled out new training and education programs for both managers and individual contributors, and launched new learning and development programs for all managers in all locations focused on helping them serve and support their teams,” Liao said.

Jacob Klopfenstein, KSL.com
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