VISHAL GARG CEO of BETTER.COM

Vishal Garg, US CEO of Better.com makes 900 workers redundant just before Christmas on a Zoom call.

The chief executive of a US mortgage company has drawn criticism after he reportedly fired 900 employees on a Zoom call.

“I come to you with not great news, if you’re on this call, you are part of the unlucky group being laid off. Your employment here is terminated effective immediately. The market has changed … we have to move with it in order to survive. Ultimately it was my decision and I wanted you to hear it from me.”

Firstly the employment laws in the UK differ from the US but here in the UK if you want to make an employee redundant you have to follow strict protocols.

Severance (Redundancy) payments are usually outlined in an employment contract, along with other things, like whether you get paid for unused vacation (holidays) if you leave a company before your contract is up, how much notice a company must give you before they terminate a contract and more.

Unfortunately, the vast majority of Americans do not have an employment contract. In that case, they may not even know if they’re entitled to severance at all, according to Farnaz Kashefi, a California attorney who specializes in labor and employment law.

In the UK notice period includes:

Your notice period during redundancy

This advice applies to England

If you’re made redundant, your job won’t end straight away – you’ll get a paid notice period.

You might get notice pay instead of your notice period – this is called ‘pay in lieu of notice’. Your employer will tell you if they’ll give you pay in lieu of notice.

As long as you work your normal hours in your statutory notice period you’ll get your normal pay. This is as well as any redundancy pay you’re entitled to.

How long your notice period should be

If you’ve worked for your employer for at least a month you’re entitled to statutory notice. This is the minimum notice period your employer can give you.

Your statutory notice depends on how many years you’ve worked for your employer when you’re given notice.

Time with your employerMinimum notice
1 month to 2 years1 week
2 years or more1 week for each full year, up to a maximum of 12 weeks

For example, if you’ve worked for your employer for 5 years and 3 months you get 5 weeks’ notice

Contractual notice

Your contract might say what notice period you’re entitled to. If it does, this is called ‘contractual notice’.

Contractual notice can be longer or the same as statutory notice. It can’t be shorter – you should always get at least your statutory notice.

https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/work/leaving-a-job/redundancy/redundancy-notice-period/

There is never a good time to lay off staff. But doing it during the holiday season is going to affect people’s mental health more so than any other time of the year. People are making preparations for Christmas so not planning your timing correctly can cause a knock-on effect.

I have just visited the website and did an audit report and perhaps he should have fired his website designers rather than his workforce.

When it comes to SEO one thing you need to bear in mind is to have an exact match searchable keyword or phrase domain name and have a header description to match the keywords in the domain and your keywords need to be consistent throughout your website.

The word ‘BETTER’ is an adjective that describes something as being superior or is an adverb that means something is done to a higher degree or more completely. But the word is used broadly it has no meaning when it comes to targeting mortgages or finance. However, putting two words together with brandable and exact match searchable keywords gives you a better chance of generating traffic.

I am not saying you cannot use brandable names in your business but you also have to have an SEO link wheel of exact match searchable keywords or phrases domain names that can be integrated into blogs or forwarded to pages that mention the keywords. Having the word ‘Better’ does not describe the business of Real Estate, Mortgages, Finance, or Insurance, if anything he should have secured www.bettermortgages.com www.betterinsurance.com. I have noticed that www.betterrealestate.com is forwarded to www.better.com Just because it is drummed into our heads short one-word dot com domain names are valuable they also have to have meaning to drive traffic, such as www.hotels.com www.insurance.com, etc….you catch my drift.

The other thing one has to take into consideration is that one has to have consistent content on a website that is updated regularly, otherwise, a static site will take forever to rank.

Garg, a self-confessed“serial entrepreneur”, said “the decision was really challenging” and stated it was the second time in his career he had made such drastic measures to lay off staff.

“I do not, do not, want to do this. The last time I did this I cried. This time I hope to be stronger,” he said during the call.

One employee said, “They dumped us like trash. We were there since the beginning and worked hard for the company and for our roles,”.

The mortgage lender startup reportedly received a $750m (£564m) cash infusion from investors last week and was recently valued at around $7bn, according to Forbes. The company, which says it uses technology to make homeownership “faster and more efficient”, is backed by Japanese conglomerate Softbank.

So what was the reason for the badly timed layoffs?

Chief Financial Officer Kevin Ryan, said the company had laid off 9% of its employees after the call, according to Forbes. Ryan continued to add “Having to conduct layoffs is gut-wrenching, especially this time of year; however, a fortress balance sheet and a reduced and focused workforce together set us up to play offense going into a radically evolving homeownership market,”.

I am sitting on the fence here but if my company was valued at $7 Billion and I run into financial difficulty, I would sell my assets and shares to keep my workforce going. I certainly would not penalize my staff.

As I say this about every company “a happy customer will tell their friends and family about you but unhappy will tell the world”. With this said, this has made 900 people extremely angry in which they will tell all their friends and family and social media connections which will then go viral and give this company a bad name.

The key is in the timing and if one needs to lay off staff I would not do it all in one go but gradually over a 10-month period avoiding the holiday season (900 workers divided by 10 months is 90 people a month, although one could also do it over 2 or 3 years depending on your financial circumstances.

STATISTICS TO BAD REVIEWS

1. 63% of negative information to include news and blog articles from third parties websites are more likely to be clicked on than positive information, which means that social media algorithms designed to maximize such signals are bound to spread negative information. Source: AdWeek. (2014). Bad News: Negative Headlines Get Much More Attention.

2. 86% of negative reviews stop buyers from wanting to use a business. Source: BrightLocal. (2018). Local Consumer Review Survey. Source: Vendasta. (2019). 50 Important Stats You Need to Know About Online Reviews.

3. It takes roughly 40 positive customer experiences to undo the damage of a single negative review. Source: Inc.com (2010). The Secret Ratio That Proves Why Customer Reviews Are So Important.

Citations: https://blog.brandbastion.com/how-social-media-comments-impact-sales

FINAL THOUGHTS FROM THE EDITOR

Trending US Business News – There is a hot debate should ‘Vishal Garg’ have laid his staff off on a Zoom Call? Well If I were in his shoes I would have sent a letter in the post ahead of the Zoom Call and then apologized and given my reason for my decision face to face on Zoom. I would also have avoided doing it during the holiday season where such devasting news can affect people’s mental health. Furthermore, the risk of bad press and negative feedback could also result in the company losing business due to questionable finances and trustworthiness.

#betterhomes #bettercover #betterinsurance #bettermortgages #betterrealestate #vishalgarg