The chief executive officer of the online mortgage lender Better.com was scathed online after it was revealed he fired 900 employees on a Zoom call. An employee of the internet mortgage lender told his side of the story after being terminated through a video call for the company.
The CEO of Better.com admitted he “blundered the execution” of firing 900 employees over a Zoom video call on Dec. 1.
In a three-minute Zoom call, CEO Vishal Garg informed his employees that they were fired.
“This isn’t news that you’re going to want to hear … If you’re on this call, you are part of the unlucky group that is being laid off,” Garg stated. “Your employment here is terminated effective immediately.”
“This is the second time in my career I’m doing this and I do not want to do this,” the 43-year-old Garg noted. “The last time I did it, I cried.”
Garg attempted to justify the layoffs by saying that the “market has changed.” However, Garg did not mention during the call that the company received a $750 million cash infusion last week from the Japanese company SoftBank.
Garg pointed out, “You guys know that at least 250 of the people terminated were working an average of two hours a day while clocking eight hours+ a day in the payroll system?”
“They were stealing from you and stealing from our customers who pay the bills that pay our bills,” Garg added. “Get educated.”
After Better.com received blowback online, Garg attempted to apologize for his remarks.
“I am deeply sorry and am committed to learning from this situation and doing more to be the leader that you expect me to be,” Garg stated. “We will talk more at our upcoming All Hands meeting about what to expect for the year ahead. I hope you’ll join me for the discussion.”
“I failed to show the appropriate amount of respect and appreciation for the individuals who were affected and for their contributions to Better,” Garg said. “I own the decision to do the layoffs, but in communicating it I blundered the execution. In doing so, I embarrassed you.”
“I want to apologize for the way I handled the layoffs last week,” Garg wrote in a message posted to Better.com’s website. “I failed to show the appropriate amount of respect and appreciation for the individuals who were affected and for their contributions to Better.”
Previously, Garg noted that the mortgage company hired the “wrong people.” He noted, “We should have done this three months ago.”
Former employees who were on the fateful call described their experience.
CBS News reported, “Christian Chapman, a former trainer at Better who was one of the 900 employees laid off last week, said the firing was a shock and came out of the blue, noting that he was promoted in June and got a raise in October. The company also had just received $750 million in funding days before the firing.”
Christian Chapman, said, “First, is this really happening? And why is it so cold and callous — it seems to lack empathy. Is this capitalism at its worst? We had just gotten $750 million in liquid funding.”
“I got promoted, and then he’s out there trying to portray everyone as lazy and stealing money,” another former employee told CNN. “That is messed up. I’d rather be broke than have whatever is going on in his head.”
Chapman added, “I realized after my first meeting that I needed to keep it on mute and keep my earphones in, because I’ve got five kids and I didn’t want them hearing that kind of language.”
Chapman proclaimed, “I am looking for the bright side but there’s the reality of the situation. Things aren’t going to be what they were and it’s going to require some massive action on my part.”