There is an old joke, I heard it in the 70’s. The joke goes like “John, I have no idea how this firm has any chance of surviving without your presence, but as per this coming Monday, we will give that a try!”, and whenever I see staff removals happening, including me getting made redundant years ago, that joke goes around my brain. So when the BBC gives us ‘Boss says sorry for ‘blundered’ Zoom firing of 900 staff’ (at https://www.bbc.com/news/business-59573146). So we get the outrage linked to “Mr Garg was heavily criticised after he sacked 900 staff in an online meeting”, There is one other setting that I do not get. You see, we get the following part “A deal is likely to value the business – which Mr Garg founded in 2015 – at between $6.9bn (£5.2bn) and $7.7bn”, so in 6 years a firm has grown to $7,000,000,000 and he casually fires 900 people? Didn’t they help the business grow? So, as we set the larger stage we get ““Organisations do have to make job cuts sometimes, it is a hard reality,” says Rachel Suff, senior policy adviser on employee relations at the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development. “But how they go about it and the humanity they approach it with can have a fundamental impact on how people deal with that shocking news.”” Yes, we can be humane, and we can be callous. Yet the stage of firing 900 people when you went from (assumed) zero to $7,000,000,000 in 6 years is quite the success story, as such the move makes no sense, unless he wants to hang his coat up and retire a multi billionaire. As I see it, the setting of “to float the company on the stock market”, a choice that might be valid, it might not be. I cannot tell, it is not area of expertise, yet the question becomes towards it mission statement “Better.com, which aims to use technology to make the house buying process “faster and more efficient””, is that one direction, was it also safer to do that, or has someone figured out that the faster and more efficient comes with larger safety holes? I actually do not know, but that is the first question that pops into my head.
You see, we do see “The market has changed”, yet I also find “Home values in New York (statewide) have risen 14.2 percent (current = $363,990) in the last year and will continue to rise in 2021. Over the last year, home values in New York City have increased by 4.5 percent. The latest market forecast is not available for NYC”, so I am not sure what is going on and before we go all high and mighty on the 900 removed people, it represents 15% of removed staff, implying that better.com did one hell of a job, it implies that he still employs 5100 people. The article does not really bear that out does it? I am not blaming the BBC for that, but the setting of what still is remains important. If there is one critique on this, then it is their homesite that still has a career page that is hiring. I reckon that there should be a clear page setting something like “Due to volatile market settings, all hiring activities are temporarily suspended”, as such I reckon that this Vishal Garg optionally missed the ball twice over. But that small part was not picked up either by the media. The website actually looks decent, so the business is seemingly not too shabby.
So whilst the BBC is all about slapping him around, and that is fine. No one is considering the fact that 5100 are still employed and that a startup has grown from close to zero to $7,000,000,000 a feat that is pretty rare to say the least.
I find it hard to condemn the act (I had been made redundant more harshly then that in the past). It happens to us all one day, unless we are on the board of directors, in which case we get a huge bonus and we are escorted to the limousine.