Reffkin to Compass managers: Get poor performers out

More layoffs appear to be coming at the embattled firm

Compass' Robert Reffkin (Illustration by Kevin Rebong for The Real Deal with Getty)
Compass' Robert Reffkin (Illustration by Kevin Rebong for The Real Deal with Getty)

An email from Compass CEO Robert Reffkin suggests the bloodletting isn’t over at the firm that’s struggling to reach profitably in the face of a significant market downturn, Insider reports.

The Dec. 4 email the outlet obtained calls on managers to identify employees who are poor performers, chronically absent without approved time off or leave, quiet-quitting, or turn in bad work, and “move them out.”

“If you have an employee who isn’t doing the work you expect and you don’t know what to do next, we can help,” Reffkin wrote in the email. “Bring the issue to your managers (sic) attention, or to P&C’s attention. They will help.”

“If someone is ‘quietly quitting,’ that is on their manager as much as it is on the employee. If you see evidence that someone doesn’t want to stay at Compass and help us weather this storm, say something.”

While not exactly Elon Musk calling on Twitter employees to go “hardcore” and work 80 hours a week, the message is a clear call to action to cull employees who aren’t committed to the company.

“To put a fine point on it, it’s your responsibility to help your employees perform at their highest potential — even in tough times,” the email says. “It’s also your responsibility to manage our employees who can’t, or aren’t, performing at that level. If you don’t, you are not performing. I hold myself and my leadership team to this same standard. So let’s get it done.”

The firm’s struggles — which resulted in efforts to slash 20 percent (about $320 million) in operating expenses by the end of the year — are well known.

After raising record amounts of capital and being hailed as “the greatest fundraising machine in the history of America,” Compass has endured massive losses since the beginning of the year — its stock price has fallen to $2.57 at Friday’s close, down from a high of $20 in April 2021 — resulting in significant belt-tightening measures, including about some 1,200 layoffs.

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The company still has more than 3,000 employees.

Despite the bleeding, Compass is the No. 1 residential brokerage firm in the U.S. in terms of closed sales volume.

In an interview with The Real Deal founder Amir Korangy last month in Miami, Reffkin shot down rumors of a possible takeover and defended the decision to spend $1 billion on the company’s tech platform.

“We raised almost $2 billion,” he said. “Nobody gave us money to put it in a bank account.”

He also wouldn’t entertain a question concerning the company, which he founded in 2012, going under.

“There is no scenario where I’m going to let this company fold,” he said.

The road to at least breaking even is possible if Compass reaches its fourth-quarter revenue projection of $1.3 billion, while also reaching its cost-saving goals.

— Ted Glanzer