Employees at Snap have previously raised concerns about the company's culture, including in 2017 when former software engineer Shannon Lubetich sent an email to 1,300 colleagues in the engineering department about diversity and later told Cheddar the company has a "toxic" culture. Snap CEO Evan Spiegel later said the memo "was a really good wake-up call for us."
Snap has seen a number of top executives leave their posts in the past year, including its head of human resources Jason Halbert, who the Journal reported was asked by Spiegel to leave. The stock has fallen 44 percent over the past year, but shares are up 83 percent in 2019. The company has added four women to its executive team within the past few months.
The company-wide layoffs reported by the Journal began in March 2018. The six people laid off in one round from Snap's growth and design team were women, people familiar with the layoffs told the Journal. Snap reportedly agreed to pay at least three of the women additional cash and shares on top of their severance packages after some employees wrote letters asking why women were targeted on these teams. But a Snap spokesperson told CNBC in a statement that men were also paid additional benefits following the layoffs.
"The company-wide restructuring we implemented in the first half of 2018 impacted both men and women," the spokesperson told CNBC in a written statement. "In fact, the majority of the people impacted were men. The decisions we made when determining the people impacted had absolutely nothing to do with gender."
The spokesperson said most of the 218 layoffs last year were men and that under its own definitions of the growth and design team, three out of nine laid off were men.
Former female Snap employees told the Journal they felt that they were overlooked for promotions to leadership roles while less-experienced male colleagues advanced. Some of the women laid off never received a performance review, according to the Journal. Snap said both male and female employees did not receive reviews at the time since it did not have a formal policy in place.
Snap has said it's taking steps to improve since the time of these layoffs. The company spokesperson told CNBC Snap has implemented standardized performance reviews and requires employees to participate in unconscious bias training.
Read the full report at The Wall Street Journal.