Twitter Employees Fear Elon Musk's Takeover Will Ruin Company Culture by@rickchen

Twitter Employees Fear Elon Musk's Takeover Will Ruin Company Culture

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Rick Chen

Rick Chen is the director, head of public relations at Blind. He writes about tech culture and the workplace.

Despite being a longtime lightning rod for controversy, even Twitter employees were caught off-guard by recent events.

On April 25, 2022, Twitter announced Elon Musk would acquire it in an all-cash deal of about $44 billion. The Tesla founder and CEO and self-described “technoking” said he plans to “remake” the social media platform into a beacon of free speech.

Reactions to Musk’s acquisition of Twitter were mixed on the professional social network Blind. Blind’s community of more than 5 million professionals includes more than 5,000 verified Twitter professionals or more than two out of three Twitter employees.

What do Twitter employees think about Elon Musk’s acquisition of Twitter?

Many Twitter professionals feared the company culture at Twitter might change after Musk acquires the company.

“Assume EM takes over Twitter and rules with [an] iron fist,” said a verified Twitter employee on Blind, referring to Elon Musk in a discussion about the future of remote work at Twitter. “On one hand he seems [like a] huge advocate for in person [work] but on [the] other hand he jokes about turning [the] SF office [in]to a homeless shelter because employees are at home.”

“Elon is notorious for firing WFH and contractors,” reported a verified SpaceX professional. “He’s went as far as to pull the plug on VPN before,” referring to virtual private networks that allow employees to connect to corporate networks while working from home or remotely. Musk is also the founder and CEO of SpaceX.

Twitter is well-known for its strong work-life balance. The company has a rating of 4.4 stars out of 5 stars for work-life balance, as of April 26, 2022, among verified Twitter employees’ reviews on Blind. The rating makes it the 10th best company for work-life balance on Blind, ahead of companies such as Amazon, Apple, Facebook parent company Meta, Microsoft and Uber.

How will Elon Musk’s acquisition affect Twitter employees’ pay?

Musk’s acquisition of Twitter is expected to close in 2022, and once it does, the social media company will become a private company. Many Twitter professionals expressed concern about the stock-based compensation they currently receive.

“I feel like going from public [to] private is [the] opposite of what you want from a comp perspective,” a verified Twitter professional said on Blind, adding they felt “pretty stressed” about the acquisition. “If comp is negative[ly] [a]ffected then we’ll lose a lot of great talent and any incentive for working at Twitter will be gone.”

Some private companies offer restricted stock units or profit-sharing programs. However, many of these companies provide these compensation schemes because they expect to be publicly listed one day, which is unlikely for Twitter.

The change could be significant for Twitter professionals. According to pay data shared on Blind by verified Twitter professionals, the median total compensation package across all roles is $165,000 and as high as $345,000, including the restricted stock units many employees earn.

“I am pretty depressed,” another verified Twitter professional said in a discussion on Blind about the employee morale at Twitter. “I think layoffs are inevitable, plus being a private company means we won’t have RSU re freshers [sic].”

Many technology companies offer “refreshes” or additional grants of restricted stock units or other stock-based compensation to reward performance or incentivize employees to stay at the company longer. Professionals typically earn an initial new-hire grant that vests anywhere from one to five years, with four years the most common.

How much will Twitter employees get from Elon Musk’s acquisition?

Every Twitter stockholder will receive $54.20 in cash for each share of Twitter common stock they own after the acquisition is finalized. Twitter employees who own Twitter stock will receive the same cash payment.

According to a verified Twitter engineer on Blind, the company will also pay employees for any unvested stock they hold “as per [the] vesting schedule. Cash compensation would be provided instead of stocks.”

After the companywide all-hands for employees, another verified Twitter professional confirmed, adding that the $54.20 per share amount “is a big jump from [the] last refresher” and that there will be “no comp changes for one year.”

The bottom line

Elon Musk’s acquisition of Twitter has created fear, uncertainty and doubt for many Twitter professionals. Twitter employees turned to Blind to express concerns about their pay and a potential change to its company culture, which could affect the ability to work remotely or have a meaningful work-life balance.

Originally published on Teamblind's blog.


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