Of late, EdTech company Byju's has been in the news for laying off 2,500 employees of the 50,000-strong workforce it had. Byju's, which was founded in 2011 and digitally launched in 2015, skyrocketed into a multibillion-dollar company.
However, working conditions at the company have been a big concern in the past few years. Byju's has been receiving a lot of flak for its toxic work atmosphere, which has led to several employees quitting the company.
An unhealthy work culture: In a recent report by Reuters on the company's work atmosphere, several employees spoke about how harsh the working conditions at Byju's are. They said that employees are made to work long hours, denied lunch breaks, made to work even on weekends and threatened with consequences if the targets are not met.
"Targets at Byju's are very high and if the targets are not met, there is no job security," said Anuj Srivastava* (name changed on request), a former Byju's sales employee, who spoke to DailyO.
He said that the targets are monthly, and every day, a sales person needs to show a minimum talk-time of 2 hours on phone, talking to customers.
"If the targets are not met, the managers get abusive on personal calls," he said, "Because of these reasons, I worked for only one year at Byjus, 2020-2021."
So now @BYJUS is threatening employees to extend their notice period if they don't reach their sales target. The very reason for that employee to resign in the first place was their toxic work culture that lead to a deterioration in her mental health. How low can a company go?— Mandeep Gill (@0mandeep7) May 31, 2022
Paying Gill Ji for Tweet and Writing Emotional Message in Twitter won't help.— Manna (@mastmanna) November 2, 2022
BYJUS was never a good place to work. Toxic culture.
Too much spending on ADs. It was sitting on bubble.
False promises: A big reason why Byju's received negative feedback is the product not living up to the expectations of the customer. But here too, the customer is on the losing end as he has already purchased the product; and if he has taken a loan (which is also sanctioned by Byju's), then he has to ultimately pay for it.
"Jo customer sochta hai, woh cheezen unko deliver nahi hoti (the customer doesn't get what they expect)," Anuj said.
An advice for parents: Asked if he had any advice for parents who wanted their children to study through these digital modes, Anuj said that the knowledge you get from Byju's products is something you can get online easily.
Byju's responds: A spokesperson for Byju's responded to our queries --
"At Byju's, our HR policies are tailored to be accommodative and mindful of employee well-being. We have zero tolerance for unpleasant behaviour in the workplace. There is a proper channel for anyone to report any instance where the manager has talked or acted rudely, and we take immediate action to verify and resolve such complaints. The exact action taken is decided on a case-to-case basis, after fairly hearing out both sides. We do not hesitate in letting go of the managers who either promote or support rudeness in their teams. We have thousands of employees across our group companies and even in the case of a one-off incident, we immediately evaluate and take strict actions against mistreatment.
"Coming to our sales culture, we have a fair sales practice and do not burden our employees with irrational targets. The standard target is a calling time of just 120 minutes per day. Two hours per working day is a fair target to ensure productivity with work-life balance, and even the managers are encouraged to look at the quality rather than the quantity of work.
"A sales executive at Byju's only initiates the sales process and he or she does not have the authority to close it. By design, every sale is unapproved. The closure happens at the central level, only after triple-checking the authenticity and interest of the lead. This audit team in Bangalore scrutinises every sale that our teams across India close. Our sales training module has ethics ingrained in it. We have never encouraged, ordered, or incentivised our salespersons and managers to pursue customers who are either uninterested in or unable to pay for our products.
"Everything we do at Byju's is centred around customer respect and satisfaction. If any parents approach our customer service department within 15 days, we ensure no questions are asked for a refund."