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Yahoo Finance Live anchors deconstruct Better.com CEO Vishal Garg's decision to fire more than 900 employees over Zoom.
JULIE HYMAN: Given the labor environment out there, this next story definitely caught our eye, as well as a lot of other people. And it has to do with the layoff that happened at the mortgage company, Better.com. But the layoff was the equivalent of breaking up over text, I guess. The CEO of the company invited employees to a Zoom meeting, a mass Zoom meeting, according to reports, and then told the 900 employees on the call that they were being fired.
And Brian Sozzi, you're the one who flagged this for us this morning. And apparently, some folks on the call recorded the call. And he basically said, if you're on this call, you're part of the unlucky group that is being laid off. It's just astonishing to me-- well, it's astonishing to me that we're hearing all these stories about how people can't find workers, and then something like this is happening.
BRIAN SOZZI: Yeah, I would say this is yet another example of executive teams being absolutely tone deaf to the needs of their employees, especially with an upstart company like this that has raised millions upon millions of dollars from very notable companies over the past two years, of course, being one of them being SoftBank here.
And I watched three minutes of this video. It's really-- it has gone viral over TikTok. And you get the sense of an executive that is, in fact, out to lunch. He looks very rehearsed. It looks like he was practicing his body movements, so he would just come off seemingly OK on the Zoom screen. But either way, it's a bad look. He looks absolutely ridiculous.
And for the other people on the other side of that screen, it is a tough situation for them, because they were probably coming into that call thinking, all right, maybe this is going to be a pat on the back for a job well done. Perhaps maybe it's some kind of quality bonus presentation. Who knows? But to see, you know, just the call took a turn for the worse very quickly. And really, it just wasn't a good look for an executive who's been under fire, really, for quite some time now.
BRIAN CHEUNG: Yeah, and we had reached out to-- for a comment from them. They didn't respond to us, but apparently, in a statement from the CFO provided to another outlet, they noted that having to conduct layoffs is gut wrenching, but in the next sentence said, however, a fortressed balance sheet and a reduced and focused workforce together help set us up to play offense going into a radically evolving home ownership market, which raises the question, well, if you had such a fortressed balance sheet, why did you have to lay off 900 of your employees? So of course, there's a lot of, you know, questions here.
And Brian, as you kind of aptly described, it's just simply a bad look for the company. But the CEO has had other issues before. There was press reporting that noted that they-- insulting his own kind of employees as dumb dolphins, which, by the way, that's a JV insult for the first place. But again, this is kind of a very bad look, especially in this tight labor market right now.
BRIAN SOZZI: Yeah, I'll just say it, too. Laying off 900 workers at a home business while home prices continue to rally and we have arguably one of the strongest housing markets in this country ever-- probably going back to just before the Great Financial Crisis, doesn't make a lot of sense.
BRIAN CHEUNG: It's a tough biz. Just ask Zillow.
JULIE HYMAN: Yes, for sure.