Updated: Jan 31
Oyo has been India's favorite topic of discussion for all the reasons, mostly bad. Although, when Oyo was launched, it was very exciting, the startup culture, cool office, a young founder and a killer concept.
Somehow there was always reluctance at my end when I was offered a role into room sales way back in 2016, I didn't want to sell the budget OYO/Oravel rooms but was interested to do something else, to take up some other role. The other role didn't happen and sales I didn't take, but many friends joined. They would sound so very cool, weekly beer parties were unheard of otherwise to go with huge incentives. It always felt like I am missing out on something amazing but there was always uncertainty about its longevity. Well I managed to steer away from the "cool" thing and chose a more stable company.
Come 2019: Had recently put down my papers and was looking for a better opportunity by now OYO had been regarded as one of the fastest growing companies in the world, backed by the cash rich soft-bank, blue eyed boy of the Indian startup fraternity. I got selected into supply at OYO Goa office! Haven't we all dreamt about working and living in Goa? Think about heading to the beach anytime, ask any Delhite on 18th January while the temperature in Delhi is around 14 degrees , you will get your answer loud & clear. Well the package was good, it wasn't room sales, OYOrooms was an established brand by now so everything seemed to be falling in order but I was still reluctant. So I waited for more options while I didn't turn this down either.
Next offer came from weddingz.in, in case you haven't heard about it (A startup based out of Mumbai, founded by Sandeep Lodha in 2015. Amazing concept to bring the wedding venue selection & booking online). I was clearly interested, researched about it and got to know that it has been bought over by OYO last year. Now I was again a tad bit dicey because end if the day it was still the dreaded OYO but the comforting part was that it was well funded as it was backed indirectly by SoftBank. So I took it up!
Only to have my fears about working with OYO resurfacing on the first day of joining. I was under an impression that I was joining at a senior level but then there were 50 more joiners at the same level and an identical pay bracket. Yes they were hiring in bulk, they had huge expansion plans under pressure from OYO and eventually from the marquee investor SoftBank. Only the second day at work I was told that you have to perform or perish, received my sales targets before I was told how exactly I was going to achieve them.
As a part of the standard policy any month when you don't achieve the numbers/targets assigned to you are warned and put on Performance Improvement Plan which can last for a couple of months and if you fail to achieve 80% of your targets even in the 3rd month you are asked to leave. I started getting fidgety and uncomfortable. To add to my sorrow I was reporting in to people who have probably never worked in service or hospitality industry, so they know nothing about how things move in this field but just go by the OYO rule book "achieve targets". Nobody has a clue what is the logic behind the numbers on that target email, you are told last month was x do this month has to be 2X.
Then the final nail in the coffin, the role for which I was hired and was explained to me during the hiring process was nothing close to what I was asked to do. I figured I was working for OYO and not weddingz.in. Even though it works as a separate entity the work culture is same and I hated myself to have at some point become a part of this toxic and depressing culture. It pushes young individuals towards intoxication, not that I am criticizing people who smoke, drink or smoke up (that's a different discussion) but if something compels you to do something, you know its not exactly where you want to be.
Employees in OYO cheat the company by finding ways not to work, company cheats the employees by changing their job roles overnight, experimenting with different working profiles or ways of doing the tasks, compelling everyone into being comfortable with a call centre job role. Its all a big mess, I seriously think this debacle or growing backwards of OYO is essential and much needed. Growth Growth Growth but at what cost, ask these employees who have been stranded jobless, how will they land a decent job, how will they pay their installments? It was a bubble waiting to be blown and it did, thankfully I predicted the umpteen loopholes in their working module left the ship before it started to sink and currently with another startup but certain piece of mind.
I urge all companies to show compassion and prefer the OYO employees for they need the jobs more than anybody else.
Detail of the "ex OYO employee" is kept hidden on request.
OYO = N"oyo"
Needless to say Wander Womaniya would never recommend to stay in a hotel which is on OYO platform for females traveling alone or even for our women travel groups. We made a mistake of using an OYOrooms property for a women only trip to Kasol sometime in 2019 but were made to regret that decision but that's a story for another time. Checkout more Indian travel blogs curated by Wander Womaniya and upcoming trips for your next holiday with your girl gang. TADA