2020 Kleiner Perkins People Report

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Impacts of COVID

Projected 2020 Headcount (Pre & Post)

More than half of the portfolio companies planned to double headcount as of year end 2019 / beginning of 2020, pre-pandemic.
Pre-COVID Headcount plans (by capital raised)
As of May 2020, a little over half of the companies surveyed plan to keep their 2020 headcount the same. A handful of companies stated that they have increased their original 2020 headcount plans due to higher than expected growth. 36% of companies expect to decrease their headcount.
Post-COVID Changes to Headcount (across all stages)
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*This number also includes a small percentage of companies that plan to increase their original 2020 headcount plans.

Time Spent

At the start of the pandemic, the majority of People Leaders* were spending their time on company morale and scaling culture in the new 100% remote environment. Top of mind currently for many leaders are efforts around re-entry, transitioning the company to the new hybrid work culture, and continuing DE&I efforts.
Time spent (across all stages)

Workplace Model (Before & After)

The 100% remote environment forced by the current pandemic has resulted in a shift in workplace culture. Over 80% of our companies plan to offer flexible work options. Variations include: in office with WFH flexibility, hybrid work model and fully distributed.
Before COVID (across all stages)
After COVID (across all stages)


Employee Support

Supporting Employees During COVID

📢 Communication
🎳 Community
💻 Additional Benefits
Virtual company-wide all-hands
Weekly WFH tips
Weekly AMAs
Virtual Coffees, Lunches and Happy Hours
Lunch & Learns
Employee-led virtual workout class
Virtual game nights for employees and their families
"Yappy Hours" where employees bring dogs
“Watercooler” room on Zoom & Slack to mimic serendipitous encounters in the office
Stipends for wellness, childcare, etc.
Equipment reimbursement (i.e. $30/month for internet, $100-$200 one time reimbursement for equipment purchases with manager approval)
Offering mental health benefits to employees
For essential workers, some companies are offering higher pay during this time (i.e. time-and-a-half)
There are no rows in this table

Supporting Working Parents During COVID

👶 Flexible Schedules & Policies
🌆 Providing Space at the Office
👩‍💻 Virtual Learning Support
💵 Financial Support
💪 Supporting the Parent*
Allowing flexible work schedules
Adjusting communication norms (i.e. parent offline from 4-5 PM, etc.)
Company-wide no meeting blocks
Allowing the use of unlimited PTO policy for care-taking of children/elders
Communication/visibility with managers so we can better support specific cases.
Opening up office space for employees who need a quiet space to work (adhering to COVID safety requirements)
: virtual sessions for children ages 3-12
: interactive coaching and supervision service for online learning
: Curated book club for kids and adults
Stipends for daycare / childcare (, ), tutoring and after-school programs ($1000/month)
Subsidized tutoring support, online classes, family coaches
Access to stress management and mental wellness programs through and BetterUp
There are no rows in this table

Communications (Before & After)

📣 🙌 Over-communication is key. All of our companies surveyed have implemented daily / weekly stand-ups at the team level since moving 100% remote.
Prior to 100% remote (across all stages)
Post 100% remote (across all stages)

Burn Reduction Strategies

Below are some cost saving strategies our companies implemented at the start of the pandemic to extend runway. The top two being reducing marketing spend* and discretionary spend. Other ideas to reduce burn include pausing benefits (i.e. commuter benefits) and repurposing employees to other teams (i.e. recruiters moving into customer support).
Burn Reduction Strategies (across all stages)
* We have seen marketing budgets come back this quarter (Q4 2020).
Hiring Freeze
For companies that had hiring freezes earlier this summer, the majority are implementing them across the entire company, with the business functions being impacted the greatest. We have seen demand pick back up across all functions.
Functions affected by Hiring Freezes (across all stages)
Reduction in Force (RIF)
Of the companies that went through a RIF earlier this summer, the teams most impacted are the Go-to-Market and People teams. We have since seen demand pick back up across all functions.
Functions affected by RIF (across all stages)

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