Incumbents don’t take kindly to outsiders taking over their turf, be they mafia bosses or mild-mannered coaching center owners.
Brajesh Maheshwari, the co-founder of Allen Career Institute, has released a dramatic video message warning his teachers against leaving for rival firms. His video message was released a day after ed-tech startup Unacademy had announced plans to enter Kota, and had been rumoured to set up an offline center in the city. “In Kota tomorrow. More details soon,” Unacademy co-founder Roman Saini had cryptically tweeted.
In response, Allen’s cofounder appears to have recorded a message while sitting in his office, he released it among teachers in Kota. “I’m making an announcement as the Chairman of the Allen Group,” the bespectacled Brajesh Maheshwari says. “Over the last few years, many teachers joined the Allen Group, many left, and many joined us again,” he says. “But make no mistake: starting today, anyone who leaves the Allen Group after being wooed by competitors will not be allowed to rejoin Allen. No force in the universe can get them back into Allen. They will be blacklisted forever. The won’t be able to rejoin Allen within this lifetime,” he declared.
Maheshwari said that his teachers were being wooed through a “maayajaal” (web of illusions) — Unacademy has been infamous for pulling away star teachers from coaching centers with some eye-popping salaries. Physics Wallah founder Alakh Pandey had claimed that Unacademy had offered him a Rs.40 crore package to join their company.
But while Maheshwari had a stick for teachers who were contemplating leaving his company to join competitors , he also dangled a carrot for those who chose to stay. “Teachers who’re diligently working with Allen, those who’re loyal to us, we will look after them forever,” he said. “We’ll be with them in their every joy and sorrow, we’ll be with them every step of the way. I make this commitment to them on behalf of Allen,” he said. “Those who choose to stay will find themselves in better positions financially three years from now than those who choose to leave,” he added.
“Allen is willing to take this challenge (from rivals) head on. We’ll see where the pieces fall,” he continued. “Aaj se sharafat ki duniya khatam. Jaisi duniya, waise hum (Starting today, the time of decency is over. We will do whatever it takes),” he dramatically concluded.
This might be an unconventional approach towards employee retention, but there are few business as dependent on star employees as the coaching center industry. Coaching centers are made and unmade by their teachers, and ed-tech startups — who’re flush VC funds — have been wooing away star teachers from offline coaching institutes. With Unacademy looking to enter Kota, which happens to also be Allen’s headquaters, their Director found it necessary to issue a public message among his faculty members, who were probably being approached by Unacademy with large bags of money. It remains to be seen how the video message will be received by Kota’s star teachers, but Maheshwari’s dramatic message — along with exhortations of “sharafat ki duniya khatam” — provides a rare glimpse into the sky-high stakes in India’s multi-billion coaching center industry.