Work culture is a basic requirement to sustain and progress in a company. Companies like Google and Tesla are known for their "Chill" work environment, where the employee's mental health is given a priority. Many office settings are choosing an informal environment for better productivity. The results are assertive.
While most companies are trying unconventional methods to make office hours to be less intimidating, Byju's, India's largest EdTech unicorn is caught up in a row for having the worst work culture. Employees who have quit have allegedly accused Byju's for having a horrible work environment.
ICC recently announced Byju’s as a global partner until 2023. The EdTech giant will partner the forthcoming ICC Men’s T20 World Cup in India and the ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup in New Zealand.
Byju's - The Company
The EdTech market in India has become an eye candy for Venture Capitalists. Many investors abroad since India is showing a substantial growth graph propelling upwards and gaining grounds abroad. India’s largest EdTech company turned unicorn, the brain child of Byju Ravindran, Byju’s is at lightning speed with significant takeovers and increasing on demand education material from parents all over the country.
Byju’s is said to have plans to acquire the rival EdTech company Toppr for $150 million. The Mumbai-based Toppr provides e-learning materials to grades 5-12.
The gigantic empire built by Founder & CEO Byju's Ravindran is almost like a rags to riches titled tale. Passionate about revolutionizing the education system, Byju’s was brought to life in 2015. It all seems roses and rainbows as a bystander, while the company is being called out for being down right shady and unethical as an ongoing concern.
Byju’s found itself in headlines, when various telephone recordings by their ex employees were leaked in public. Many such instances followed suit and now the company stands accused of having the worst work culture.
Byju’s work culture
The entire scenario came to light when a telephonic conversation between a salesperson and their manager was leaked on YouTube. The conversation reveals a lot about the abusive work culture at Byju’s. The manager was furious at the salesperson for not meeting the sales target and held him at the edge for not complying to company protocols.
Several reviews on various job portals point towards a bad and unsustainable work life at Byju’s. Employees who have quit Byju’s have shed some light over how the EdTech company is entirely focused on generating revenues.
Byju’s offers a handsome amount of 10 lac per annum package for entry level joiners who enter the organization as Business Development Associates (BDA). However, ex employees have shown utter dismay stating that the figure quoted to them during the interview was a faux figure and the actual remuneration is below expectations. BDAs seem to be the most disappointed across all the departments in the company.
Other reviews suggest that the company is fast paced and expects prompt delivery from its employees. People have fewer complaints as we climb higher in the organizational structure. If we were to combine all the feedback, the average answer would be that the BDAs are under harsh scrutiny and the work environment is nothing less than toxic.
BDAs are required to put in 12 to 14 hours and have call timings of minimum 2 hours per client. The leaked conversations hint at a grueling schedule and a tight leash around the BDAs. Ex employees have accused the company of being inhuman in terms of workload and abusive in terms of interactions.
The company lacks an ethical HR structure to cater to the issues raised by employees. With abusive managers and excess unpaid clocked time, employees have quit in a span of just two to three months of joining. Parents who were conned into buying these courses say that the salespersons were aggressive and called incessantly.
WhiteHatJr alleged scam and litigation
Byju’s subsidiary, WhiteHatJr recently filed a defamation case in the Delhi High Court against Pradeep Poonia. Poonia is a software developer who was alleged to hurt the public image of the company. Let's find out, what the case is all about.
Pradeep Poonia has been raging a war against the EdTech giant after WhiteHatJr refused to take constructive criticism and took down Poonia’s several social media accounts. Poonia became increasingly suspicious with an advertisement which claimed that Google hired a six year old, named Wolf Gupta for 1.4 billion after he learnt coding from WhiteHatJr.
With comprehensive searches across Google, no such person with that name was found. Poonia went on further to find that the reviews on Google Play for WhiteHatJr were forged. The app has a 5 star rating on Google Play store. He has also stated that Byju's has been mirroring the actions of its subsidiary from several years.
Poonia has been targeted ever since he has called out WhiteHatJr and Byju’s for their shady business. Two YouTube accounts, three articles published on LinkedIn, Two Reddit accounts and several links on Quora in the name of Poonia have been taken down so far. His other social media handles have also been suspended for calling out the EdTech giants.
When asked, Poonia stated that these companies are nothing but a scam and have lost its primary focus than its education. He is discontented because the companies are charging a fortune for the material provided which seems pretty basic and is available for free on the internet. Every course on Byju’s and WhiteHatJr costs about $250 dollars on average.
Byju’s Revenue oriented more than EdTech
The testimonials by parents who did not approve of the products have also been taken down. Many refund requests are still pending on Byju’s customer care portal. Byju’s recently valued at $11.1 billion after a fundraising round. The company, owned by veteran investors is now rushing to generate revenues and this reflects the behavior on managerial levels who are churning out numbers through the BDAs.
What is the valuation of Byju's?
The company was valued at US$12 billion as of November 2020.
Who is the founder of Byju's?
Byju Raveendran is the founder of Byju's.
What are the Subsidiaries of Byju's?
TutorVista, Edurite from Pearson, Osmo, and Whitehatjr are the three Subsidiaries of Byju's.
The pandemic has hoarded us towards the screen oriented culture, be it for work or education. Kids are already anxious and unsettled because of long term confinement at home. The online education system is proving to be a good option in the dearth. But EdTech is taking away the normal from a kid’s life and pushing it towards a stunted form of learning.
EdTech companies are pushing their sales aggressively as schools are about to reopen soon. Parents are giving in to frivolous offers by these companies and paying more than what they would pay for a traditional education.
As we discover the underlying mottos of EdTech companies, revenues seem to be the ultimate motive and passion to educate seems to drift off the horizon. In such scenarios, parents who wish to educate their kids must learn to distinguish between a genuine opportunity for their kids to gain knowledge (which could cost a lot less) and a platform with fancy fee structure providing nothing exclusive.
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