The CEO of Better.com might want to consider his company’s moniker the next time he plans extensive layoffs.
Vishal Garg, the head of the digital mortgage company, jumped on a Zoom call last Wednesday to abruptly inform more than 900 of his employees that they were being terminated.
“If you’re on this call, you are part of the unlucky group that is being laid off,” Garg, looking stiff and unemotional, said on the call.
“Your employment here is terminated effective immediately.”
According to NBC News, the call lasted all of three minutes and resulted in the termination of nine per cent of the company’s staff.
“This is the second time in my career I’m doing this, and I do not want to do this. The last time I did it I cried,” Garg said. “Um, this time, I hope to be stronger.”
Among those fired were the diversity, equity and inclusion recruiting team.
Just three weeks out from Christmas, Garg said each terminated employee would receive about a month’s severance pay and three months of benefits.
“I was sitting here thinking, ‘What the hell?'” one employee told NBC.
“I thought I was safe. I had perfect reviews and thought I was an integral part of the team. It’s a bummer, because I know I worked really hard to help build up that company, and it looks like I just wasted my time.”
According to Fortune, Garg posted a series of messages on an anonymous business network several days later, accusing hundreds of the staff of “stealing” from their colleagues and customers by only working two hours per day.
“You guys know that at least 250 of the people terminated were working an average of two hours a day while clocking in 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. Get educated,” Garg wrote on Blind.
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Business Insider reports that shortly after the layoffs Garg hopped on a company livestream, telling employees they could look forward to a “leaner, meaner, hungrier workforce.”
“If you felt in the past that people weren’t looking — well, everyone is looking now,” Garg said in the meeting.
It’s not the first time Garg has landed in hot water for the way he treats his employees.
In an email obtained by Forbes in 2020, Garg called his workforce a bunch of “dumb dolphins.”
“You are TOO DAMN SLOW. You are a bunch of DUMB DOLPHINS and…DUMB DOLPHINS get caught in nets and eaten by sharks. SO STOP IT. STOP IT. STOP IT RIGHT NOW. YOU ARE EMBARRASSING ME,”
The mortgage lender startup reportedly received US$750 million from investors last week and has recently been valued at around $7 billion, according to Forbes. The company, which says it uses technology to make homeownership “faster and more efficient”, is backed by Japanese conglomerate Softbank.