Online homeownership company Better.com has stirred a hornet's nest all over again as CFO and Interim President Kevin Ryan announced in an internal communication that the company is streamlining operations and reducing its workforce in the US and India markets in a substantial way.
He stated that this decision is guided "heavily by the headwinds affecting the residential real estate market." He also cited volatility in the interest rate environment and refinancing market being the other reasons behind this decision.
Ryan also mentioned categorically that these layoffs are in no way a testament to the affected employees' personal performance and that all of them have played a pivotal role in the company's success.
“Across functions, specialities and offices, we have an incredibly talented team at Better, and losing valued colleagues is never something we wish to pursue. We do not take this decision lightly and want to let you know about the important steps we are taking in the coming days to support the transition for coworkers leaving Better. We are also taking steps to ensure seamless service to our customers,” Ryan’s letter noted in the letter dated March 8.
The letter also noted that all the affected employees will be contacted personally via a call from the Better management. Following this call, affected employees will receive an email on their personal email addresses from the HR department. This email will talk about transition support provided to the employees.
Ryan said that departing employees will be entitled to severance payments and medical benefits. Better.com won’t enforce non-compete provisions based on each employee’s individual circumstances and to the extent allowed.
The company will shut off these employees’ access to internal systems and emails given industry regulations regarding access to sensitive consumer information and that non-disclosure provisions will remain in effect.
Besides this, Better.com will provide the leaving employees with services aimed at helping them find their next jobs. For this purpose, Better.com has partnered with Randstad RiseSmart and has also planned to unveil the Better Talent Directory.
Employees will have 24x7 access to RiseSmart’s online job support portal which includes networking templates, assessment tools and video interview training, access to over 6,500 recruiters and invitations to webinars and virtual career events.
The Better Talent Directory is a public directory and resource for recruiters that departing employees can voluntary opt-in to showcase their talents proactively to leading employers.
“I hope you will join me in thanking colleagues who will be leaving Better for all of their contributions and letting your networks know about these talented professionals. We have an even stronger future ahead creating opportunities for homebuyers, and I remain deeply grateful for your continued collaboration,” Ryan signed off.
This, however, isn't the first time Better.com has been in the news for laying off employees. The company was controversy’s favourite child in December last year as well when CEO Vishal Garg laid off 900 employees in a Zoom call right before the holidays season in the US and ahead of the company’s market debut.
Garg had reportedly said over the call, “We are going to laying off ~15 per cent of the company for a number of reasons- the market, efficiency, performances and productivity. If you’re on this call, you are part of the unlucky group that is being laid off. Your employment here is terminated effective immediately.”
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