On a Zoom call, the CEO of online mortgage lender Better.com, Vishal Garg, dismissed 900 staff members, then slammed them for being so ”lazy” they effectively ”stole” from customers.
Last Wednesday, three weeks before Christmas, Garg laid off around 9% of Better.com’s workforce, including the whole diversity, equity, and inclusion team, which handles complaints about racism and sexism in the workplace.
Garg told them bluntly: “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. 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 last time I did it, I cried,” he added.
Garg told the laid-off employees on the Zoom call that the company will provide four weeks of severance pay, one month of full benefits, and other benefits as part of a package.
The 43-year-old, and father of three, said the “market has changed” and that the company needed to slim down to adapt to the changing housing market, which appears to be cooling after a pandemic-fueled boom.
The CEO was eventually identified as the anonymous author of a nasty blog post on the professional network Blind that lambasted Better.com staff, NY Post reported.
He wrote on professional network Blind: “You guys know that at least 250 of the people terminated worked an average of 2 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. Get educated,” he added.
He told Fortune that the company began evaluating staff productivity statistics four weeks ago, including missed phone call rates, the amount of inbound and outbound calls, employees arriving late to customer meetings, and other measures.
“As we started to slow down our pace of hiring, we saw some alarming statistics, and a number of our customers were not getting the service that they deserved from our teammates,” he said.
Better.com is a Softbank-backed mortgage lender with a massive $7.7B valuation.
Better, which offers pre-approval on a mortgage in minutes, saw its share price soar during the pandemic as the saturated home buying market, coupled with low-interest rates, saw thousands of new customers looking for fast ways to get a loan, according to Daily Mail.
It has gained 2,000 workers since Covid struck and is expected to generate $800 million in revenue this year.
Despite the layoffs, the company still has 9,000 people in the United States, India, and the United Kingdom.