Better.com CEO Vishal Garg issued an apology on Wednesday after a video of him firing 900 of his employees over Zoom went viral.
Garg expressed regret over the manner in which he laid off his employees in a letter he sent to his remaining employees.
“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,” an excerpt from the statement read.
“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.”
CEO’s mass firing on Zoom goes viral
The Zoom meeting consisted of Garg on-screen seated at a desk addressing the meeting members collectively. Garg told them that if they were in the meeting they were part of a layoff event affecting 15% of the company:
“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,” Garg said. The executive also said he does “not want to do this.
“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 at the beginning of the meeting.
Garg claimed that the mass firings were a consequence of the realities of the market and that they were necessary for the company’s survival.
Forbes reported earlier this week that the company fired the employees after it had received a $750 million cash infusion and was worth an estimated $7 billion.
Kevin Ryan, Better’s CFO, told Forbes that “having to conduct layoffs is gut-wrenching, especially this time of year, however a fortress balance sheet and a reduced and focused workforce together set us up to play offense going into a radically evolving homeownership market.”
Mass firings throughout the pandemic
Better is not the first company to hold mass-firings via video. Popular ride-share app Uber laid off 3,500 employees at the start of the pandemic in May 2020. The company let go of 14% of its workforce through a Zoom call.
Ruffin Chevaleau, who leads Uber’s customer service office, addressed the workers via video. Chevaleau told them that Uber had suffered greatly from the pandemic and that their business had fallen by 50%.
“With trip volume down, the difficult and unfortunate reality is there is not enough work for many front-line customer support employees,” Chevaleau said.