Garg made the move to temporarily step away from his role as CEO in mid-December after he was personally involved in a firing scandal. Garg hosted a Zoom call in early December where he fired 900 employees – around 9% of Better’s staff – citing productivity and efficiency failures.
This caused an outcry from workers, the media and HR professionals, particularly for the lack of empathy showed by Garg.
As a result of the firing, a few senior employees reportedly quit the company. These include head of marketing Melanie Hahn, head of public relations Tanya Hayre Gillogley, and VP of communications Patrick Linhan.
Two board members – Raj Date and Dinesh Chopra – are also believed to have resigned. Better did not disclose the reasoning or if it was linked with the firing snafu, but the board emphasized there had been no “disagreement” between them and the company.
Can Better improve?
In announcing Garg’s return, the board wrote in an internal memo to employees: “As you know, Better’s CEO Vishal Garg has been taking a break from his full-time duties to reflect on his leadership, reconnect with the values that make Better great and work closely with an executive coach.
“We are confident in Vishal and in the changes he is committed to making to provide the type of leadership, focus and vision that Better needs at this pivotal time.”
The board also announced Better has thoroughly reviewed its culture with the help of law firm Jenner & Block. They are now looking for a new company chairman and chief human resources office (CHRO).
According to the New York Times, the CHRO job will be filled by former McKinsey senior partner and partner at Activant Capital, Richard Benson-Armer in the interim, while CFO Ryan will serve as interim president.
Better has also committed itself to improving its workplace through training programs, as well as an ethics and compliance committee.
Only time will tell if Better can turn itself around. It must act quickly, given the ‘Great Resignation’ will its existing employees be keen to stay at a company that shows how little it values its workers?
UNLEASH has reached out to Better, but is yet to receive a response.