more major cuts for controversial firm

Better yet, the mortgage company, which has come under increasing fire for the mass layoffs of workers in December and March, has launched another round of significant layoffs. This is the company’s third downsizing since that first round, conducted via Zoom, went viral. In a statement to Fast Company, it cited “ongoing instability in the mortgage environment” as the reason.

The first two rounds of layoffs have cut more than 4,000 jobs, nearly half of Better’s workforce. A spokesperson did not respond to a question about how many employees have been affected this time, but those who know the number say it is at least 1,000 employees at the moment.

A memo with the bland subject line “Corporate Announcement: Changes in U.S. Manufacturing Workforce” announced the layoffs to workers early this morning. It says the layoffs represent “another substantial cutback” to Better’s workforce, but nothing more specific. Those familiar with the matter say roles in sales, operations and Better Real Estate were targeted. Better’s real estate arm is said to have received significant capital lately; it was created to help the startup grow into a competitor to Zillow and Redfin.

Among those affected is at least one newly pregnant woman. Much of the backlash that Better received after the layoffs in March revolved around the dismissal of a number of parents-to-be.

Today’s memo, which was shared with Fast Company, does not include CEO Vishal Garg’s name. (Insiders say Garg received a lot of hate mail after the mass layoffs in December and March.) Instead, it was signed by Richard Benson-Armer, Better’s chief people, performance, and culture officer, who initially came together to deal with the PR crisis. control that was caused by the December 1 layoffs.

Here’s what the memo tells employees:

As you know, our team has focused on ensuring our business is nimble, able to weather the industry headwinds and placed in the strongest possible position for the future by making operational changes , reduce costs and make the difficult but necessary decisions to reduce our workforce.

As the mortgage environment in which we operate continues to point to further declines in the future, we need to do more to ensure that Better is well positioned financially and operationally to navigate this changing environment. As a result, we will continue to work to further position Better on its path to profitability.

With this in mind, we have made the difficult decision to make another substantial cut in our manufacturing workforce in the United States.

Benson-Armer continues: “This is not the measure we wanted to take. But this is both sensible and necessary for the health of our business.” In December, Garg said Better lost $100 million in the previous quarter.

In its statement to Fast Company, Better added: “We are working hard to ensure that all affected employees hear directly from the company first in a face-to-face, one-on-one meeting about any decisions and the important steps it will take. company will take to aid those affected.” It says affected workers will receive the same layoff package that was offered in March, which is 60 to 80 workdays pay, plus three months of COBRA health insurance.

Again, workers received no warning about these layoffs from Better. Since public outcry erupted in December over Zoom’s now viral layoffs, which affected 900 employees — only to get worse in March, when Better laid off 3,000 more workers — Better’s public image has been increasingly affected. A video leaked to Fast Company two weeks ago shows Better holding a second Zoom meeting right after the layoff in which Garg threatened the employees he wouldn’t fire. That same week, Better tried to offer certain American employees voluntary takeovers.

Workplace morale has understandably bottomed out. A common place for employees to make complaints is on the anonymous workplace messaging site Blind. An employee wrote that today was the first day that employees had to return to their workplace in person from their office. “Fired is one thing, but why would they unnecessarily set up a huge RTO and then fire people that day without a heads up,” said this person, adding, “Better is the worst.”

Others were surprised to learn that their offices would not open at all today. Benson-Armer may have suggested what happens here at the end of the memo to employees:

We are also making changes to our footprint at selected locations to achieve further cost savings. If this affects you or your team, you will receive additional information about the next steps of the transition in the coming weeks.

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