Handing out pink slips while mouthing words of remorse does not take away the trauma faced by employees, though it might help assuage the guilt that start-up founders experience while laying off people.
That seems to be what Byju Raveendran, founder and chief executive officer (CEO) of India's most valued edtech sector Byju's was trying to achieve when he explained his contrition over "rationalising" the workforce.
In a mail to employees, he wrote, “I am truly sorry to those who will have to leave Byju’s. You are not just a name to me, You are not a number. You are not just five percent of my company, you are five percent of me,”
The edtech undertook this latest round of layoffs to cut down the company’s costs at a time when funding is drying up and people are moving away from online educational programs to offline schooling.
In an emotional farewell message to employees, Raveendran also hinted towards a possible restructuring of the company, which may lead to re-hire the terminated staff. Multiple sources reported that he has asked the company's human resources team to find new job roles for terminated employees.
Earlier in October, Byju's announced a possible rationalisation of 2,500 workers from its 50,000-strong workforce. The company claimed it had to cut down redundancies as a last-resort effort to stay on the path of profitability.
In the financial year 2020-21, the edtech reported a loss of Rs 4,588.75 crore. However, it justified the massive gap by citing rationalised growth between FY21 and FY20.
Since April 1, 2022, 80,089 start-up employees have lost their jobs, across 624 companies, according to data compiled by layoff tracker, layoffs.fyi. India accounted for 10.4 per cent of these layoffs, with edtech companies in the lead in handing out pink slips. Incidentally, Byju's subsidiary WhiteHat Jr laid off 300 full time employees, while another edtech start-up Toppr fired another 300 earlier this year.