To achieve overall profitability, Edtech giant BYJU’s recently announced a major round of layoffs with plans to cut 2,500 employees off its roster, or 5 percent of its 50,000 workforce. The move comes after BYJU’s brought all its K12 subsidiaries under the India business unit for better “optimization”.
Byju apologized to his employees for the recent layoffs in a recent e-mail, The company, which recently laid off about 100 employees from its media content division in Kerala, wrote to employees, saying BYJU was forced to focus on sustainability and capital-efficient growth due to adverse macroeconomic factors.
In the e-mail addressed to his employees, he said, “I realize that there is a huge price to pay for walking this path to profitability. I am truly sorry for those who will have to leave BYJU’s, it breaks my heart as well. I ask for your forgiveness if this process is not as smooth as we intended so. While we want to complete this process smoothly and efficiently, we do not want to rush it. I want to emphasize that the overall job cuts are not more than five percent of our total strength”. He added that he did not see this as layoffs, but as time off.
The full text of the letter to his employees says:
“Dear team member,
Over the past couple of weeks, you would have read or heard about our plans to rationalize our team size. Some of you, I understand, might be confused about this or maybe hearing conflicting statements. So, I am writing to you, so you hear directly from me on what we are doing, why we are doing it, and how I feel about it.
First, let me tell you briefly about the rationale behind our current strategic plan. We scaled up quickly and massively across the world in the last four years. Thanks to your relentless efforts and passionate commitment, we now reach and teach more than 150 million learners globally. 2018 to 2021 were our hyper growth years when we regularly broke records on every business metric. We also expanded our family significantly both in our core business and by on boarding team members from our acquisitions.
Then 2022 happened. This is the year when many adverse macroeconomic factors changed the business landscape. These have compelled tech companies around the world to focus on sustainability and capital-efficient growth. BYJU is no exception to this trend. Having expanded exponentially in the past four years, it is now time for us to grow sustainably. So, we decided to define our ‘path to profitability and sustainable growth – and to walk on it in earnest.
We are working hard towards achieving profitability at the group level in this financial year itself. Our business has substantial economies of scale and unit economics, which we believe we can leverage to achieve this mandate. However, our rapid organic and inorganic growth has created some inefficiencies, redundancies, and duplication within our organization that we need to rationalize to realize this. At the same time, we need to continue to realign our resources towards innovation and future-growth-oriented projects.
I realize that there is a huge price to pay for walking on this path to profitability. We are having to part ways with 2500 of our colleagues to avoid role duplication across our businesses. We have always taken pride in taking care of our employees and retaining them forever. So, it is with a heavy heart that we have had to take this difficult decision. Some business decisions have to be taken to protect the health of the larger organization and pay heed to the constraints imposed by external macroeconomic conditions.
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.
I know that nothing can compensate for your loss. And I completely understand if you are upset about this. Because it breaks my heart too – much more than you think. I hope you will believe me when I say I tried my best to save your position. Please also know that this is not a reflection of your performance. And I promise that you will not walk out of this house alone. The rest of us will walk by your side and support your transition. I hope you will trust me when I say we have made available the best possible exit package to you which includes extended medical insurance coverage for you and your family members, outplacement services led by some of the industry’s finest recruitment specialists, fast-track full-and-final settlement, and a special provision to allow you to look for jobs while on our payroll.
I seek your forgiveness if this process is not as smooth as we had intended it to be. While we want to finish this process smoothly and efficiently, we don’t want to rush through it. So, we are informing all the affected team members individually with the dignity, empathy, and patience they deserve. I want to emphasize that the overall job cuts are not more than five percent of our total strength.
I am always positive, I always think ahead, and I always try to make things better for everyone. But sometimes what Byju wants is not what Byju demands. To those who will be moving on, you probably think this is where I will say the next company you will work with will be lucky to have you. Sure, the hands, hearts, and minds that built the world’s leading EdTech Company will always be in demand. But, no, what others see as ‘layoff’, I only see as time off. Bringing you back by putting our company on a sustainable growth path will now be my number 1 priority for me. I have already instructed our HR leaders to make all the newly created relevant roles available to you on an ongoing basis.
I want you to know that you are valued, you are loved, and I will forever be grateful for your contributions and for having the great privilege of leading you.
Founder & CEO
BYJU is India’s most valuable start-up. The company posted revenue of ₹2,428 crores in the financial year ending 2021, but posted a loss of ₹4,588 crores for 2021, making it the country’s largest loss-making start-up. However, its layoff plans have not stopped the company from roping in football star Lionel Messi as the first global brand ambassador of its social impact arm Education for All for what one can assume is an astronomical sum. There’s an own goal, if ever we saw one.