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Ola Electric’s problematic work culture includes unrealistic deadlines, no clear direction, and more: report

Ola Electric’s problematic work culture includes unrealistic deadlines, no clear direction, and more: report

Ola’s work culture described by a former senior employee

A former senior employee of Ola, in an interview with Deccan Herald, stated that ‘Unrealistic deadlines, lack of room for autonomy or opinions, and unplanned meetings’ were some of the major issues that they faced while working at Ola. The employee who wants to stay anonymous blames the work culture for the management churn.

The former employee also told Deccan Herald that when the company was preparing for the rollout of Ola S1 series, Bhavish Aggarwal cut the deadline by two to three months. Further, the employee also mentions that the electric scooters were shipped without full/proper software testing due to unrealistic deadlines.

The employee described Bhavish Aggarwal as “super intense” and “brutal” because of calling for unplanned meetings in the middle of the night at “1 am or 3 am”.

“Some companies need shallow competence while others need deep competence. Ola is moving from shallow to deep competence since its taxi service doesn’t need the same competence as its electric scooter business. In a deep competence space, rebuilding the team is crucial for the good performance of the company,” a startup veteran told Deccan Herald in an interview, calling the churn a big red flag.

Expert opinions on the Ola’s situation

The company started losing top executives in 2019 when Anand Shah exited the company in October 2019 after being associated with Ola since February 2018. Varun Dubey resigned his position at Ola last week, citing personal reasons. The list also includes Ola’s co-founders, Ankit Bhati, who partnered with Bhavish Aggarwal in 2010 and quit the firm in 2020.

Monster.com’s chief executive officer Sekhar Garisa stated, “A very high level of sensitivity and professionalism is required to handle any high profile exit in a dignified way. Individuals graciously leaving the organisation are more likely to depict a positive picture of the brand. Further, the sense of anxiety and low motivation levels in the immediate team of the departing leader is to be addressed by the remaining leaders with a proactive, empathic, and reassuring manner.”

A professor of operational behaviour from a reputed B-school in India commented on the issue by saying, “A top-level management churn happens when there is a lack of cultural fitness and autonomy to perform and a mismatch of expectations.”

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