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Ola chief Bhavish Aggarwal made employees run laps for small mistakes: Report

Ola chief Bhavish Aggarwal made employees run laps for small mistakes: Report

Ola chief Bhavish Aggarwal made employees run laps for small mistakes: Report
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By Nishtha Pandey  Oct 19, 2022 8:11 PM IST (Published)

A source told Bloomberg on condition of anonymity that Aggarwal tore up presentations because he didn't have a page number. In another instance, he used Punjabi epithets at staff and told teams they were useless.

In the acclaimed 1992 film Glengarry Glen Ross, Alec Baldwin, memorably — and toxically — tells the character played by Jack Lemmon, "Put that coffee down! Coffee is for closers only." The movie is set in a high-stakes real estate office where every one is under pressure to close deals or pack up their belongings.

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Fast forward to 2022, we seem to have a real-life Glengarry Glen Ross on our hands, going by a report published by Bloomberg about supposedly toxic work culture at Ola, propagated by founder and CEO Bhavish Aggarwal.
Tearing up presentations, calling the staff useless because of missing page numbers, crooked paper clips or the quality of printing paper, and more — all in a day's work, every day.
The work culture at Softbank-backed Ola Electric, which started as a ride-sharing platform and today seeks to be the industry leader for electric vehicles, is the new talk of the town because of this toxicity.
In the report, Ola Electric employees revealed that over the past two years, the work culture has become "hostile".
Past and present employees have revealed that Aggarwal frequently loses his temper at work, with them bearing the brunt of his ire.
A source told Bloomberg on condition of anonymity that Aggarwal tore up presentations because he didn't have a page number. In another instance, he used Punjabi epithets at staff and told teams they were useless.
“Meetings scheduled for an hour often lasted 10 minutes because Aggarwal would lose patience over a superfluous sentence in a memo, a crooked paper clip, or the quality of printing paper,” said the report.
Run three laps for mistakes
Moreover, Bloomberg reported that an employee at Ola Future Factory had been asked to run three laps around the several-acre facility because a shuttered entryway was kept open.
Employees further accused Aggarwal of giving unrealistic deadlines and unplanned meetings well past midnight — sometimes even at “1 am or 3 am”.
According to a report published in May. A former employee 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.
“My anger, my frustration—that’s me as a whole”
Meanwhile, Aggarwal, seemingly doubling down on his behaviour, told Bloomberg that “not everybody is a fit for our culture".
He also said that “passions and emotions run high and we are not on an easy journey”.
Justifying his behaviour he further said “But I don’t want to choose an easier journey for myself or for Ola. My anger, my frustration—that’s me as a whole.”
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