Wednesday, December 8, 2021

The 15th nominee for the “Worst Employer of 2021” is … the (Not) Better Boss

A little over a week ago — a digital mortgage lender that recently called a $7.7 billion Unicorn — received a $750 million cash infusion from investors. Two days ago its CEO, Vishal Garg, gathered 909 of the company's employees (nine percent of its total workforce) via Zoom and let them know that their services were no longer needed.

I come to you with not great news. The market has changed, as you know, and we have to move with it in order to survive. … This isn’t news you’re gonna wanna hear, but ultimately it was my decision and I wanted you to hear it from me. It's been a really, really challenging decision to make. The last time I did this, I cried. This time, I hope to be stronger. … If you’re on this call, you are part of the unlucky group that is being laid off. You're employment here is terminated effective immediately. … We're providing four weeks of severance … and three months of total benefits.

Video of the mass layoff announcement quickly made the rounds on YouTubeTikTokTwitterFacebook, and pretty much everywhere else. 

I have zero issues with an employer reacting to a changing market or making decisions necessary for the company's financial stability or survival (justifications Garg provided on the Zoom call). Employees are at-will. They are not owed anything, the least of which is a job. 

There is, however, a right way and a wrong way to communicate the decision, and this ain't it. When an employer makes the decision to take away a job from someone, and worse yet a few weeks before Christmas (hello, Ebenezer Scrooge), it at least owes the employee a face-to-face conversation. I understand that times are different, and lots of meetings are still being conducted by Zoom. But to communicate a group layoff via a mass Zoom call with zero prior notice to the hundreds of impacted employees? That will earn you a spot on my Worst Employer list.

And with that, this year's Worst Employer list draws to a close. I'll be spending the next few days reviewing the 15 nominees to pare them down to a more manageable number for voting. Polls will open on Monday and will remain open all next week, with this year's winner (or loser, depending on how you look at it) announced the week after.