Only Half of Twitter Wants to Keep Working for Elon Musk

  • Elon Musk ordered Twitter employees to sign up for an “extremely hardcore” future. 
  • Less than half of the company decided to take him up on the offer.
  • Now company leaders and Musk himself are trying to convince some people to stay.

Elon Musk’s new vision for Twitter did not prove enticing for most of the people left at the company.

Less than half of the company’s remaining roughly 4,000 employees chose on Thursday to stay at the company and sign up for Musk’s “Twitter 2.0,” a vision of the company he pitched in a brief email sent overnight on Tuesday, according to a person familiar with the company’s processes. In other words, less than 2,000 Twitter employees plan to stay.

Musk ordered Twitter employees interested in working for his “extremely hardcore” version of Twitter to click a sign up link by Thursday 5 pm ET, or else they would be considered part of a voluntary layoff and receive three months of severance pay. So many employees refused to sign up that it took Musk and his transition team off guard, another person familiar with the company said.

About an hour after the deadline passed, workers were emailed by building services telling them that Twitter’s offices would again be closed immediately and that they needed to leave the premises, a person familiar with the directive said. Access to the buildings was also being suspended. The company also closed offices and barred employees from entering the evening Musk began to enact mass layoffs.

A current employee noted the closing offices is a dramatic move but intended to “prevent physical sabotage while they sort out access revocations,” in a Slack message seen by Insider. 

Earlier on Thursday, as Musk’s deadline drew near and so few people were signing up, he and other company leaders asked team managers for lists of who they thought were “critical” to their work and Twitter’s future, but deemed “a flight risk,” one of the people familiar said. Lists in hand on Thursday, vice presidents and even Musk himself made calls to some engineers who did not sign up to continue working. Musk also sent a set of emails clarifying his slightly softened position on remote work.

People being pitched on why they should stay with Twitter were not offered more money, the person familiar said, but were urged to be excited about Musk’s “vision” for Twitter and its future growth and potential.

It worked for some people, one employee said, but many still refused and effectively tendered their resignation. One method that seemed more successful in convincing people to stay was having peers who had already decided to stay on speak directly to colleagues who did not sign up, the employee said. 

Nevertheless, it seems that Twitter will be down over 2,000 more employees just two weeks after Musk’s mass layoff of roughly 3,500 people. Many workers who declined to sign up for “Twitter 2.0” consulted with lawyers before making their decision, two people familiar with those discussions said.

After Musk’s deadline passed, Twitter’s largest Slack channel “social watercooler” was “flooded again” with the salute emoji, a former employee said. It’s become something of a company symbol for saying goodbye to colleagues, as it was used for people to say a quick goodbye as they were laid off and locked out of work tools. The Slack channel had this week become a source of anxiety for many as Musk took to firing employees who were seen to have criticized him or his decisions.

With the new wave of resignations, Twitter insiders are even more wary of how much thinner teams can be spread. Already, Twitter features are glitching and issues are taking longer to fix, while teams covering “critical services” that keep the platform running are working longer shifts with fewer people, as Insider reported. The possibility of 2,000 fewer hands to help is a new source of anxiety for people who are trying to keep their jobs.

“So many teams are already down to just one person,” an employee said.

Are you a Twitter employee or someone else with insight to share? Contact Kali Hays at [email protected], on secure messaging app Signal at 949-280-0267, or through Twitter DM at @hayskali. Reach out using a non-work device.

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