900 Better.com employees learn their jobs are cut in Zoom call

About 900 digital mortgage company employees Better.com learned they were fired during a brutally scheduled three-minute group Zoom call weeks before Christmas.

“I come to you with no good news,” CEO Vishal Garg said at the start of the Dec. 1 meeting, according to a recording of the call posted on TikTok.

“We are laying off about 15% of the business for a number of reasons – efficiency and market performance, and productivity,” he said.

“If you’re on that call, you’re part of the unlucky group that’s being laid off,” Garg continued. “Your employment here is terminated with immediate effect. “

He told employees the decision to let them go was “difficult”.

Better.com CEO Vishal Garg in a Zoom call where he announced layoffs.

“This is the second time in my career that I’ve done this, and I don’t want to do this. The last time I did it, I cried,” Garg said. “Um, this time I hope I am stronger. “

He also told the hundreds of former employees that they would receive about a month’s salary and three months of benefits, all of which would be detailed in a human resources email sent to their personal email addresses.

An employee who was fired that day said his company-supplied computer went dark shortly after the call ended. He did not receive the email from human resources until a few hours later.

“I was sitting here thinking, ‘What is this?'” The employee, who asked not to be identified for fear of reprisal, told NBC News.

He added: “I thought I was safe. I had perfect reviews and I thought I was an integral part of the team. It’s a disappointment because I know I worked really hard for it. help build this business and it looks like I just wasted my time. “

The way Garg chose to fire hundreds of people was shocking, the former employee said.

“It looked like he could have found a better way to go about it,” he said. “Maybe in single rooms with HR.”

Better.com announced in may plans to go public, but the deal was delayed.

A day before the layoffs, the company received an injection of $ 750 million from its backers, Fortune and TechCrunch reported.

The employee who was made redundant said it was an indication the company was in “urgent need of capital”.

“It’s definitely not good no matter how they turn it,” he said.

Representatives for Better.com did not respond to multiple requests for comment from NBC News.

In a statement sent to other media outlets, Kevin Smith, the company’s chief financial officer, called the cash advance and the layoffs a victory for the company.

“A stronghold record and a small, concentrated workforce have put us together to go on the offensive in a radically changing home ownership market,” he said.

Garg founded the company in 2014 “with the goal of overhauling the mortgage process,” according to the Better.com website. Garg wanted to make buying a home faster, easier and cheaper.

Better is based in New York City and has additional offices in Charlotte, North Carolina; Oakland and Irvine, California; and Gurgaon, India.

Ali gostanian and Bianca Britton contributed.

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