Zoom firings: Should Better.com CEO Vishal Garg handle things differently?

Is there an ingenious way to fire an employee over Zoom?

That’s the question many are asking following the news that Better.com CEO Vishal Garg terminated the jobs of more than 900 workers last week via video platform. “If you are on this call, you are part of an unfortunate group that is being laid off,” the mortgage company executive said as he reported.

This may seem like a harsh and impersonal approach, but HR experts say it’s the new reality of the workplace, especially during a pandemic. With more employees working from home – and with the expectation that many will continue to do so even as we get through the health crisis – companies are likely to do the bulk of the layoffs. and recruitment) through video.

If anything, HR experts say it can be even more awkward to suddenly ask remote workers to come into the office, only to have them give them a pink slip.

“Zoom could be better,” said Peter Cappelli, director of the Wharton School’s Human Resource Center.

Experts also say there could be benefits for workers when receiving bad news from home, where they can immediately connect with family members and analyze the situation. “They’re in a safe space,” said Laurie Ruettimann, a former human resources director who now works as a consultant.

This doesn’t mean there isn’t a way for companies to mitigate the damage, HR experts advise. In some respects, the same rules apply whether a business conducts layoffs in person or via video – in particular, businesses need to be handled with brevity and care, experts say. believes that: Employees need to quickly understand why they are being let go. and what types of severance packages, if any, they are being offered. But they also need to know that the employer understands the magnitude of the situation.

“It doesn’t matter what medium you are using if the sender of the message is a ‘vulnerability’.

– Deborah Copaken

Brian A. Marks, a former software industry executive who is now a senior lecturer in economics and business analysis at the University of New Haven, said: “You have to show empathy, that you’ve got it. stand on their side.

But experts also acknowledge that it can be difficult to provide such emotional support during a video conference. That is why some suggestions should seek to create a personal touch. Hema Crockett, one of the authors of Designing a distinctive organizational culture: How to grow a company where employees thrive, says one possible approach is for the employer to send a personal handwritten thank you and encouragement after the main announcement. “It’s something that shows its humanity,” she said.

Ultimately, the Better.com situation may be less about the fact that the fights were carried out via video, and more about the attitude of the company and its chief executive, Deborah Copaken, an author wrote an article for The Atlantic last year about Her experience of losing her job via Zoom. (Garg declined to disclose in the story the specific company she worked for, though she identified it as a health tech startup.)

Copaken told MarketWatch that Garg didn’t pass the empathy test, so the Zoom situation is largely irrelevant. “It doesn’t matter what medium you’re using if the person delivering the message is a ‘hole,'” she says.

And Garg was fired for his often harsh management style, according to various news reports. Forbes reported that he once sent an important email to the employee to whom he said, “You are TOO SLOW. You guys are a bunch of DUMB DOLLS… YOU ARE EMBROIDING ME. Fortune also reported that Garg accuses several employees of recent layoffs only work two hours a day.

A Better.com spokesperson said the company provided severance pay to newly laid off workers, including four weeks of pay. And in an email Garg sent to employees obtained by MarketWatch, the executive apologized for his handling of the wrongdoing. “I failed to show respect and appreciation for the individuals affected and their contributions to Better,” he wrote in the email.

https://www.marketwatch.com/story/welcome-to-the-era-of-zoom-firings-should-better-com-ceo-vishal-garg-have-handled-things-differently-11638914575?rss=1&siteid=rss Zoom firings: Should Better.com CEO Vishal Garg handle things differently?


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