When Better.com CEO Vishal Garg abruptly informed 900 employees they were being laid off during a Zoom call in December, critics called the approach callous and said the mortgage company could have done better. With the latest round of layoffs, the startup actually did worse, workers tell the Daily Beast. The soon-to-be-former employees say they found out they were losing their jobs when they logged into their company accounts and saw a severance payment in the payroll app. "Was this the way we were supposed to find out?" one worker asked in a Slack chat. Workers say the information was apparently added too early in error—it was later deleted, though the layoffs have now been made official.
The company confirmed Tuesday that it is laying off around 3,000 people, more than a third of its workforce in the US and India, the New York Times reports. In a letter to employees, CFO Kevin Ryan said the company was trying to adjust to volatility in the mortgage market. "Unfortunately, that means we must take the difficult step of streamlining our operations further and reducing our work force in both the US and India in a substantial way," he said. Sources tell TechCrunch that the layoffs were originally planned for Tuesday and they "accidentally rolled out the severance payslips too early" after the date was shifted to Wednesday, causing some workers to be notified of severance pay without any further communication from Better.com.
"This was certainly not the form of notification that we intended and stemmed from an effort to ensure that impacted employees received severance payments as quickly as possible," the company said in a statement Tuesday. TechCrunch notes that part of the reason the business is struggling is the massive hit it took to its reputation after Garg's December Zoom call, which led to the resignation of several top execs. Amid the backlash, the CEO said he was taking a break, reportedly at the request of the company's board. Morale sank after he returned in January. (Read more layoffs stories.)