NCFA Innovation 2019

He Asked His Team How to Avoid Layoffs. Their Response Thrilled Him

Entrepreneur | Stephanie Schomer | Dec 2, 2020

dan price gravity payments - He Asked His Team How to Avoid Layoffs. Their Response Thrilled Him

Before making a tough decision that impacts your team's future, Gravity Payments CEO Dan Price has a simple suggestion: Ask them for advice. It worked for him.

The year 2020 was rocky. Millions of people were laid off or furloughed. The pain may continue into the near-term future — but even once our lives stabilize, this won’t be the only time an economy stumbles. Companies will again face this choice: Eliminate a great team that’ll be difficult to rebuild, or somehow absorb massive financial losses.

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says there’s a third way, and he proved it out this year. The solution, he says, is to act as a team. “Your team is so much smarter than you,” Price says. “Mine is. Give power to your people, be honest and democratic. They will find solutions that you can’t see.”

Price made waves in 2015 when he took a million-dollar pay cut to institute a $70,000 for his employees, so he isn’t the kind of boss who is quick to do layoffs. But he was feeling pressure this year. His company, Gravity Payments, processes payments for more than 20,000 — and as their revenue disappeared at the onset of the pandemic, so did Price’s.

“We were losing $1.5 million a month,” he says. “We had three months before we’d be out of .”

He explained this to his team of 200, and they offered a solution: Instead of layoffs, let them anonymously volunteer for pay cuts. “I thought it was crazy,” Price says. “I figured we’d waste a week’s worth of time to learn it wouldn’t .”

He was wrong. His team volunteered nearly half a million dollars a month off their salaries. Some offered their total pay; others offered 50 percent; others offered 5. (Price capped all contributions at 50 percent.) “It extended our runway to somewhere between six and 12 months,” he says. By late summer, he was confident enough in Gravity’s future that he paid back all employees.

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NCFA Jan 2018 resize - He Asked His Team How to Avoid Layoffs. Their Response Thrilled Him The National Crowdfunding & Fintech Association (NCFA Canada) is a financial innovation ecosystem that provides education, market intelligence, industry stewardship, networking and funding opportunities and services to thousands of community members and works closely with industry, government, partners and affiliates to create a vibrant and innovative fintech and funding industry in Canada. Decentralized and distributed, NCFA is engaged with global stakeholders and helps incubate projects and investment in fintech, alternative finance, crowdfunding, peer-to-peer finance, payments, digital assets and tokens, blockchain, cryptocurrency, regtech, and insurtech sectors. Join Canada's Fintech & Funding Community today FREE! Or become a contributing member and get perks. For more information, please visit: www.ncfacanada.org

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