Edelman alumni come out to support firm’s newly laid-off staffers

The firm is letting go of almost 400 employees.

Photo credit: Getty Images
Photo credit: Getty Images

CHICAGO: Edelman alumni are coming out in droves to support the nearly 400 staffers who are being laid off by the firm due to COVID-19 economic conditions. 

The agency is reducing its workforce by just less than 7% in response to the pandemic. 

On Twitter and LinkedIn, people who used to work at the firm are offering to help those affected to quickly land new jobs.

"The outpouring has been extraordinary," said Matthew Harrington, global president and COO of Edelman, via email. "It increases my sense of responsibility and commitment to ensure we warrant their continued encouragement and loyalty."

Agency CEO Richard Edelman pledged in March that he would not lay off employees in response to the pandemic. This week, he called the decision to reverse course “gut-wrenching” and the “hardest decision [he’s] had to make” leading the firm. The firm is also asking for salary reductions of 5% to 20% scaled by compensation level. 

Edelman is offering departing staffers career transition services, including help with personal marketing and resume writing; an employee assistance program for an additional six months; LinkedIn learning; alumni networking; and a $1,000 credit to use for technology, such as a laptop or other expenses.

Richard Edelman reiterated this week that “we did everything we could to stand against the wind the last three and a half months, and we will do everything we can for people leaving the family.”

Other PR firms from Interpublic Group, Omnicom Group and WPP have also eliminated positions and introduced cost-cutting measures in response to the pandemic. 

Edelman’s global revenue grew by 2.1% last year to $892 million on an organic basis without taking into account the impact of currency fluctuations. When considering their effect, global revenue was up 0.4%.

This story was updated on June 4 to add quotes from Harrington. 

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