Five Things the Better.Com CEO Did Wrong When He Fired 900 People–Over Zoom

Not every business is booming, so it’s no shock that a company would have to layoff a significant portion of its workforce. Better.com CEO Vishal Garg recently announced a layoff of about 9 percent of his company’s workforce, which amounts to around 900 people. Having not seen the company books, I can only assume that this is the right financial decision. But how he handled it is all wrong.

Should you ever have to lay anyone off, take Garg’s example to heart. Here are five ways Garg messed up:

1. Mass Notification

Losing a job can be emotionally traumatic, and that’s before you factor in the financial and social implications. So consider the humanity of your approach, and do try to make moves on an individual basis.

Each of these 900 plus employees had a manager. The manager should be the one to deliver the bad news. One on one. If the manager is also part of the group, it should be the manager’s manager. Yes, sometimes it makes sense to tell an entire team at once, but that would be one group of people reporting to the same manager, not everyone in the company.

To keep reading, click here: Five Things the Better.Com CEO Did Wrong When He Fired 900 People–Over Zoom

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10 thoughts on “Five Things the Better.Com CEO Did Wrong When He Fired 900 People–Over Zoom

  1. Obviously just based on the remarks posted by that specific CEO, he doesn’t view the individual employees as anything but numbers. The company probably likes his way of getting the “results “ they want based on their satisfied shareholders—where do you think that funding came from after the massive layoffs. This is just another company that wants results and not happy long term employees.

  2. Wow, what an @$$hat. That is just so wrong on so many levels. Treating people that way is just WRONG. I hope Karma is paying attention.

  3. I once worked for a very small company. During the 2009 recession, about eight of us were laid off in a group email, which I found in my Inbox one morning, because the owner had a big cash-flow problem and could not borrow more money from her bank(s). Eventually, a few of us were rehired; I returned four months later. The owner conducted most of her business by e-mail, so it was not surprising to me that that’s how she notified us. The day on which I received that e-mail was my last day at work, until I was rehired four months later. I wasn’t crazy about that job, but I had had only one or two job interviews in those four intervening months, so I was somewhat glad to be rehired. I have since retired.

    1. It’s shocking to me that such a small group of 8 people being laid off could not have been each notified individually, during a face-to-face conversation. And even more shocking that any of those people would actually return to work for such an employer. I’m not knocking your choices, but your former employer’s. You were a better employee than they were an employer. Best wishes in your retirement.

  4. This should have been smaller groups done at the same time, but any time you are doing mass layoffs, having one-on-one conversations just isn’t practical for the very human reason of GOSSIP. As soon as one or two people have been told it will start spreading and the dread comes – am I going to be called into the office; how will I know when they’re done and I’m not being laid off, etc.

    In an ideal world it would be done one-on-one with a very compassionate manager and a nice severance, but this world is less than ideal.

    As far as terminating them before the holidays, yes it seems like a terrible thing, but depending on their severance it may not be. I’d rather be fired before Christmas with an 8 week severance and spend time with my family than work through the holidays and then be fired in the new year – but that may just be me.

    1. I was in a group that had a mass layoff. We all knew it was coming but didn’t know who would be impacted. On the day of the layoff we were told not to leave our desks. We would all get a phone call from our manager when it was our time to go to their office. They would tell you if you still had your job or not (I did). And then you could go back to your desk but you were told not to talk to anyone. They tried to make all the calls back to back. But as soon as you heard someone packing their things, you knew they were let go.

      It was so serious that another year this happened I was having surgery the day of the layoff. They would not tell me before I went under anesthesia and told me I had to wait until my appointment time to find out if I had my job. I was so angry. Such a stressful day to begin with and then after the surgery I had to attempt to stay awake and not take any pain meds so I could be coherent for my call (totally not coherent). That was a crap move. They told me they thought I could text my other coworkers if I knew ahead of time if I had my job or not. Kind of had bigger things going on plus I was going to be knocked out.

  5. I just read a Fortune article on MSN where he confirmed that he said at least 250 of the 900 employees were only working two hours a day and clocking in eight, based on missed calls, etc., and accused them of “theft.” I find it extremely hard to believe that many people were slacking off that much. I feel like this is one of those companies that spy on you to the point where you can’t even go to the bathroom without getting a demerit.
    Hoping all these people find new, better jobs. It’s fun to think this will come back to bite him in the butt, but unfortunately, the jerks seem to keep coming out on top. 😛

    1. And honestly, even if that was true, it’s as much an indictment of the management as it is of those individuals.

  6. Shouldn’t something like this be covered under WARN? Or am I misunderstanding the regulation & that is just for manufacturing?

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