Late last year, weeks before Christmas, Better’s CEO laid off 900 workers through a Zoom call. The video went viral on social media and caught the attention of the masses which led to bad publicity for the company and the CEO, Vishal Garg. The upheaval persisted until February 2022 when some of the top profiles departed the company. Among them is the head of real estate; Christian Wallace, head of sales; Stephen Rosen, finance vice president; Clayton Carol and more.
“After nearly 3 years as VP Finance at Better, I have decided to leave and seek new opportunities. My time at Better was an incredibly rewarding experience and I am grateful to my colleagues, particularly those in the Finance and Accounting Team, for their trust and camaraderie over these years. I learned so much from all of you and I am amazed at what we accomplished.” Wrote Clayton in a LinkedIn post.
In light of the Covid-19 pandemic, Better, the online mortgage lender, had whirlwind-paced hiring bringing its full-time headcount to over 9,000. This was primarily due to the fact that interest rates plummeted resulting in many people buying homes. Garg prioritized workers’ welfare. He even offered special perks such as professional coaching and flexible working hours for parents. “The only way to make sure that all 9,000 people treat our customers well is to make sure that they’re treated well. If they can’t put food on the table, if they’re worried about their children’s classes, they’re not going to be able to focus on our customers’ concerns,” Garg said on a video call as reported by Business Insider. Other milestones achieved by Better include LinkedIn’s top 2021 startups where Better grabbed the top spot and Business Insider’s 20 startups that sponsor the most H-1B visas with Better.com ranking at number 16 for sponsoring 47 H-1B visas for high-skilled professionals from abroad.
A report published by Techcrunch lay claims that Better is planning to lay off about 4,000 employees this week. The report purports that the claims were made by sources familiar with the internal happenings of the company who sought anonymity in fear of retaliation. This figure represents nearly 50% of Better’s total workforce. “While the majority of its staff are in sales and operations roles, the layoff is believed to be impacting the whole company and will directly affect approximately 4,000 people,” the report adds.
On another finding, a regulatory filing published on February 10, 2022, shows a geographically reverted hiring trend. According to the filing, Better had 5,000 and 3,100 employees from the US and India respectively as of mid-2021. At the end of the year, around 4,100 employees were from India and about 5,200 were from the US. The spirited hiring of the Indian workforce is attributed to the lower cost of labor in the country.
Is Better a near-defunct?