Facing flak on social media for firing about 9% of his company's workforce (over 900 employees) on a Zoom call just before the holidays, New-York based mortgage lender Better.com’s CEO Vishal Garg on Tuesday apologized for the way he “handled the layoffs last week” in a message posted on his company website.
“I failed to show the appropriate amount of respect and appreciation for the individuals who were affected and for their contributions to Better. 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,” said Garg in the message.
“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. We are also taking fast steps to make sure we are very transparent and aligned as a company on the goals for 2022, the metrics that matter most, and how we can all work together even better to serve our customers and achieve our mission,” he added.
The CEO ended the message saying, “I believe in you, I believe in Better, and I believe that working together we can make home ownership better together.”
In the two-and-half-minute zoom call, which was recorded and is now doing the rounds online, Garg had said, “I come to you with not great news. The market has changed, as you know, and we have to move with it in order to survive so that hopefully, we can continue to thrive and deliver on our mission. This isn’t news that you’re going to want to hear. But ultimately it was my decision. And I wanted you to hear from me. It’s been a really, really challenging decision to make. This is the second time in my career I’m doing this and I do not do not want to do this. The last time I did it, I cried. This time, I hope to be stronger. We are laying off about 15% of the company for a number of reasons — the market, efficiency and performances and productivity.”
Fortune subsequently reported that Garg had publicly accused the hundreds of affected staffers of “stealing” from their colleagues and customers by being unproductive. The accusations came out in a series of messages Garg posted on anonymous professional network Blind days after the layoff. According to him, the firing decisions had been made by reviewing individual employee productivity data.