The list of people having a really bad week has better.com CEO Vishal Garg somewhere near the top. Vishal Garg is either a jerk, seriously out of touch, or so laser-focused on a bottom line that nothing else enters his mind.
His company is spinning a story about Gary “taking time off effective immediately” after the fallout that’s come his way from the mass layoff of 900 employees via Zoom call Monday.
The online mortgage lending company gutted roughly 9% of their staff that afternoon, and Garg didn’t handle things well by all accounts.
The Zoom call is on the internet if you want to find it yourself, but here’s a highlight from what Garg told those beaming in.
“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.”
So, here’s what happened next. Each of the 900 employees canned that day was set to receive 30 days of severance. That didn’t sit well with a prominent law firm on the East Coast, who made rumblings that they were preparing to go after better.com with a huge class-action suit, which prompted the company to reach out to everyone they fired and up their severance package to 60 days.
After the call, Garg went on the professional networking site Blind Network and accused some fired employees of working 2 hours a day but paid for 8.
Mid-week a number of top executives resigned, including the head of PR and the VP of marketing.
By the end of the week, someone that works in crisis PR wrote up a statement for the CEO to release, but the damage had been done by this point.
“I own the decision to do the layoffs, but in communicating it, I blundered the execution. In doing so, I embarrassed you. I realize that the way I communicated this news made a difficult situation worse. 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.”
He sounds like a fun guy to work for.