26 February 2024

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Byju’s Implements New Social Media Policy Amid Layoffs

Byju’s implemented a new social media policy excluding employees from talking with the media, which was followed by the company’s decision to reorganise operations and lay off 4,000-5000 workers.

Employees who fail to follow the standards may face disciplinary or legal action, according to a new document released in a company-wide letter on September 26.

“…You are not permitted to speak directly with any media outlet or provide Company information, including photographs, videos, screenshots, and so on.” Any infringement of this will be regarded severely by the Company and may result in appropriate disciplinary and legal action being undertaken against you,” stated the document titled Social Media Policy Version 1.0, a copy of which Moneycontrol noticed.

While the company previously provided a similar document to new hires outlining its code of conduct, sources said creating a separate social media policy and communicating the same company-wide was an attempt at damage control as current and former employees expressed their growing discontent with the edtech major across media platforms.

Repercussions of Byju’s Social Media Policy

“As you are aware, Byju’s is reviewing its business process with industry specialists. As part of this process, we are examining several policies to ensure that they match industry best practises. We have modified our current social media policy and distributed it to our staff internally. In response to Moneycontrol’s inquiries, a corporate spokesperson stated, “This policy is no different and encourages responsible use of social media for communication.”

To be sure, nearly each organisation has a social media policy that specifies the tone that workers must use on public channels. According to sources, the time of distribution may be a coincidence, given that it occurred on the same day that the corporation announced a large round of reorganisation that would affect 4,000-5,000 people.

As emails are open to being leaked, the corporation has recently moved away from textual communication, alerting employees about their departure via video and audio conversations.

Byju’s also stated in the paper that it will “actively monitor” workers’ contacts, external communications, all social media postings, and publications pertaining to the firm.

Since 2022, the edtech giant has faced criticism for firing off at least 5,000 people. It has also delayed employee appraisals, provident fund payments, and withheld performance-based compensation.

Byju recently hired Infosys veteran Richard Lobo to manage the HR unit, who started at the business in early August.

Byju’s Struggles with Layoffs and Financial Woes

Employees of Byju’s must also follow the rules when interacting with “any media houses, publications, or when using, participating, or communicating or through any platforms including but not limited to Twitter (a.k.a. X), LinkedIn, Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, Telegram, WhatsApp, Quora, blogs, wikis, chat forums, networking forums, or any other such tool or service, that facilitates communications or interactions in any form.

Aside from repeated rounds of layoffs, Byju’s has recently given up its largest office facility in Bengaluru in order to increase efficiency and reduce expenses.

The company’s need to preserve cash comes at a time when it is trying to avoid a liquidity crisis caused by lending commitments.

Earlier this month, Byju’s issued a proposal to its lenders to return the whole disputed $1.2 billion term loan B within the next six months, including a $300 million advance payment in the next three months. To fund its repayment plans, the business is attempting to reorganise subsidiaries while also planning to sell two important assets, Great Learning and US-based Epic.

Separately, it has been attempting to obtain a new round of equity capital. To be fair, Byju’s, one of the world’s largest edtech enterprises, with a market cap of over $22 billion, has been attempting to raise capital since the beginning of the year. However, due to continued challenges on several local and international fronts, the firm has been unable to conclude the financing.

It obtained $250 million in structured instruments from Davidson Kempner in May, but the US-based AMC withheld over $150 million since the company’s conversations with its lenders did not go smoothly.

In addition, Byju’s suffered a technical default on the Davidson Kempner loan. Byju Raveendran was forced to find cash to repay it in order to keep control of his most precious business, Aakash Educational Services. Aakash’s shares were given as security for the Davidson Kempner loan by Byju’s.

Byju’s is also looking at acquiring funds for Aakash Educational Services from one of its early donors, Ranjan Pai. According to Moneycontrol, Pai is poised to purchase out a portion of Raveendran’s share in Aakash. Raveendran owns around 30 percent of Aakash.

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