Better.com CEO Vishal Garg FIRES 900 people via Zoom call: 'Second time I've done this'

In a harsh Zoom call on Dec 1, Better.com CEO Vishal Garg dismissed 900 of his staff due to market efficiency, performance, and productivity issues


                            Better.com CEO Vishal Garg FIRES 900 people via Zoom call: 'Second time I've done this'
Screengrab from the Zoom call on which Vishal Garg, CEO of Better.com, fired 900 people (Arbitrage Andy/Twitter)

Better.com CEO Vishal Garg, in a harsh Zoom call on Wednesday, December 1, dismissed 900 of his staff. The layoffs, according to the Indian-American CEO, were caused by market efficiency, performance, and productivity issues.

"This isn't the kind of news you want to hear... If you're receiving this call, you're among those who will be laid off." said the CEO of the mortgage firm during the Zoom conversation. CNN reported that Vishal Garg, 43, told staff on call with him, "Your job with us has been terminated with immediate effect."

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Better.com's sacked workers accounted for around 9% of the company's staff. The company's entire diversity, equality, and inclusion department was sacked. One of the employees recorded the call and posted it on social media, where the CEO has been chastised for terminating staff so close to the holidays.



 

Mr Garg claimed during the three-minute call that firing 900 staff was a "difficult" choice, according to the Daily Mail. "This is the second time I've done this in my career, and I'm not looking forward to it. I sobbed the last time I did it. I'm hoping to be stronger this time." He stated, "We're cutting off around 15% of our workforce for a variety of reasons, including the market, efficiency, performance, and productivity." A Better.com official then amended the 15% statistic, claiming that the true percentage was closer to 9%.

The 43-year-old said the "market has changed" and that the company needed to slim down in order to adapt to the changing housing market, which appears to be cooling after a pandemic-fueled boom — Garg didn't mention the company's $750 million cash infusion from investors last week on the call.

He told Fortune that the company began evaluating staff productivity statistics four weeks ago, including missed phone call rates, the amount of inbound and outgoing calls, employees arriving late to customer meetings, and other such measures. "As we began to decrease our hiring pace, we saw some worrying numbers, and a lot of our clients were not receiving the service they needed from our partners," he explained.

Later, Mr Garg is said to have slammed his team for being "lazy and unproductive." In a blog post on the network Blind, he stated, "You guys realise that at least 250 of the persons sacked were working an average of 2 hours a day while logging 8 hours+ a day in the payroll system?" He said, "They were stealing from you and from our consumers who pay the bills that pay our bills." The CEO then acknowledged to Fortune that the comments were made under the pseudonym 'uneducated.'

This isn't the first time Vishal Garg has sparked a debate. Garg is said to have a reputation for having high expectations of his personnel and punishing them for minor infractions. He has already been chastised for an email he sent to employees. "You are TOO DAMN SLOW. You are a bunch of DUMB DOLPHINS... SO STOP IT. STOP IT. STOP IT RIGHT NOW. YOU ARE EMBARRASSING ME," Mr Garg had written in the email, which Forbes received a copy of.

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