The CEO of Better.com, Vishal Garg, who garnered criticism for terminating around 900 employees through a Zoom call last month, is now resuming his role. Garg had faced backlash for the abrupt layoffs, which occurred just before Christmas, affecting approximately 9% of the company’s workforce.
In a statement during the Zoom call, Garg announced, “I come to you with not great news. 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 method of conveying the layoffs drew widespread condemnation for its lack of sensitivity.
Later, Garg apologized for his handling of the situation, admitting, “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.”
Despite initially taking time off from his position, it was recently announced that Garg would be returning. The company’s board, in an email to the staff, explained that Garg had been on a break to reflect on his leadership and reconnect with the company’s values with the assistance of an executive coach. The board expressed confidence in Garg, stating, “We are confident in Vishal and in the changes he is committed to making to provide the type of leadership, focus, and vision that Better needs at this pivotal time.”
Garg, in a letter to employees, acknowledged the difficulties they had faced and apologized for the disruptions caused by his actions. He expressed remorse, stating, “I understand how hard these past few weeks have been. I am deeply sorry for the angst, distraction, and embarrassment my actions have caused. I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about where we are as a company and the type of leadership Better needs … and the leader I want to be.”
Following the layoffs, Garg had informed the affected employees that they could expect an email from the Human Resources department outlining benefits and severance packages. The reasons he cited for the firings included market efficiency, performance, and productivity concerns.