Ola to let go of 1,400 employees in bid to survive coronavirus-led revenue fall

Our Bureau Bengaluru | Updated on May 20, 2020 Published on May 20, 2020

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The country’s largest mobility platform Ola has decided to let go of 1,400 employees, constituting 25 per cent of its headcount, by the end of this week in a bid to survive the onslaught of the coronavirus pandemic on its revenues. This will be a one-time exercise to be completed by the end of this week for Ola’s India Mobility business and by the end of next week for Ola Foods and Ola Financial Services.

In an email sent out to all employees today, Bhavish Aggarwal, co-founder and CEO of Ola said, “The fallout of the virus has been very tough for our industry in particular. Our revenue has come down 95 per cent over the past two months. It has also become evident that the virus will not be eliminated any time soon. We will rather have to learn to live with the virus and resultant implications. Today, I write to you all with the toughest decision I have ever taken – the need to downsize our organisation and let go of 1,400 of our valued employees.”

Stating that the prognosis ahead for the business is very unclear and uncertain, he said it will take a long time for people to go out and about like before. With more companies preferring to have a large number of employees work from home, air travel limited to essential trips and vacations being put off for better times, the impact of this crisis is definitely going to be long-drawn for us. The world is not going to revert to the pre-Covid-19 era anytime soon. Social distancing, anxiety, and an abundance of caution will be the operating principles for everyone, he said.

Ola’s HR team will have 1:1 conversations with each of the impacted individuals, who will be supported on several fronts including financial, healthcare, emotional and career support. Every affected employee will receive a minimum financial payout of three months of their fixed salary, irrespective of the notice period. Those employees who have spent significantly more time at Ola will be eligible for higher payouts depending on tenure. All eligible ESOPs will vest forward to the closest quarter. For those who may not have completed a year, as an exception, will be given pro-rated vesting for the period of time spent at Ola. All affected employees will be able to continue using their medical, life and accident insurance cover for themselves and their families up to December 31, 2020 or the start of their next job whichever is earlier.

Ola is extending unlimited access to health and wellness support through our respective third-party partnerships, through to the end of the year. The Ola Talent Acquisition team will help with outplacement support for as many people and in helping find suitable roles for them outside of Ola. In addition to this, Ola is also allowing all company-issued laptops (primary work devices) to be retained by affected employees, it said.

Going forward, Ola is increasing its investments and adding people capabilities in R&D across the group through the crisis to double down on innovation and engineering.

This is an opportunity for us to envision a new future of safe, efficient, and clean mobility, and recommit ourselves towards building this future. I’m filled with a lot of emotion and sadness as I write this email, but also with strong hope and resolve to rebuild our business, and create the future that we envision, together,” said Aggarwal.

Published on May 20, 2020

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