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Weight-loss app Noom is laying off 495 coaches in a strategy pivot

·3 min read
Saeju Jeong, Co-founder & CEO of Noom
Saeju Jeong, co-founder & CEO of NoomSam Barnes/Sportsfile for Web Summit via Getty Images
  • Weight-loss app Noom laid off 180 coaches on Thursday, a coach told Insider.

  • Noom told staff they would be laying off 315 more coaches within the next 10 days.

  • It is part of "an evolution to the coaching model," Noom leadership told staff in an email.

Weight-loss app Noom laid off 180 coaches on Thursday, according to documents reviewed by Insider.

A coach for the platform said Noom has plans to lay off 315 more employees within the next 10 days, offering voluntary severance options. The 495 layoffs began on Thursday, with 180 staff let go in a series of small-group video calls, a coach for the platform told Insider.

The total layoffs would constitute about 25% of its 2,000-person coaching staff, the coach said.

The coach, who was not part of the cuts and asked to remain anonymous, told Insider the move is part of a strategy pivot towards scheduled video-based coaching, rather than assigning users a text-based coach right away. Noom told employees the "new model for coaching" will come with "lots of ambiguity at the start," and coaches can expect higher caseloads, according to documents reviewed by Insider.

In a letter to staff, seen by Insider, Noom described the 495 layoffs as part of "an evolution to the coaching model."

Noom, a leading app-based weight-loss program currently valued at $3.7 billion, soared to dominate the market by promising a unique approach to dieting — helping users to "redefine" their relationship to food using psychology-based techniques. Noom advertises a coaching model "based on" cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) techniques, with staff on call to provide guidance round the clock via text.

However, that promise has been heavily critiqued, with users complaining of canned advice from burned-out coaches, expensive subscriptions, and strict calorie goals. Coaches told Insider they sometimes juggle hundreds of clients at once.

Discussing today's layoffs, the coach told Insider Noom is offering a voluntary severance option of eight weeks' pay for up to 350 more employees. Vacation days will not be paid off in both voluntary and involuntary severance packages, the coach said.

"This decision was not made lightly, but it was made with the future vision of the coaching team and the long-term health of our business in mind," Noom leadership told staff in an email seen by Insider. "We are in a moment of change and it is important that we evolve our coaching model to be more viable for the sake of the Noom mission, the long-term health of our business, and for the coaching team."

In a statement to Insider, a spokesperson said: "Noom is continually working to meet the evolving needs of our users while ensuring the health of our organization as it continues to grow. Parting ways with a portion of our coaching staff is a decision that we did not make lightly and we appreciate their contributions. 1:1 coaching continues to be a critical part of the Noom experience for many of our users and we continue to invest in and enhance that capability."

This is a developing story. Visit businessinsider.com for updates.

Read the original article on Business Insider