OYO, the multi-billion dollar Indian hotel aggregator upstart, may finally be showing some of the ‘unicorn-istic’ character now. The company, after seeing through a phase that saw it aggressively expand into multiple geographies globally, is now looking to layoff massive workforce. According to a report in the Economic Times, Oyo rooms and housing in an attempt to ‘automate’ operations, is planning to lay off 2000 employees by the end of January 2020. The process is being undertaken to make operations more ‘tech enabled’ and reduce dependence on manpower. Fear, for the robot uprising might be close.
Most of the layoffs will happen from the sales, supply and operations divisions, which is expected, considering these are the areas wherein automation is creeping in rather rapidly.
According to an OYO spokesperson, the company maintains a grading system for employees’ performance. Employees with poor grades are given an opportunity to go through a performance improvement programme. If the grade still does not improve, they are replaced.
But people are complaining that employees with even satisfactory grades are being laid off. “The company maintains that employees with a D rating are laid off, but those with ratings like B and some other moderate and satisfactory performers have also been asked to go,” one of them said.
The spokesperson said that while the company does see technology replacing some functions of the company, employees will still get different opportunities. “For example, some folks from sales could become a part of the centralised customer service or business development team, and in order to make sure they are sup for success, we also provide them adequate training and support,” the person said.
A person with OYO said that the company is looking to save costs on manpower and is laying people off. “The average salaries of these employees is in the range of Rs 10-12 lakh. So that could mean savings of hundreds of crores [in INR] for the company,” the person said.
Another person complained that the company is planning to cut off jobs in its corporate sector. “In Mumbai, there was a team of about 180 people in sales. They fired about 120 this month.” he said.
OYO Hotels and Homes’ losses have been growing every year, multiplying six fold in 2019 and ballooning up to Rs 2,384 crores. In November, ET reported that 500 hotels in 100 cities have cut off ties with the company since April. OYO has declined the report and said that the numbers were ‘inflated’.