Helpchat has had a few avataars during its short journey so far. It had started off as Akosha, a platform where consumers could voice their complaints against companies. Then it became Helpchat, and moved to a chat led model where it aimed to take on a personal assistant role. In October last year, it had fired 150 members of its chat team. Last month, it moved away from the chat model completely, and had to let go of its entire chat team. Rakesh Nadakuditi is amongst those who were let go.
In an open letter to Helpchat’s CEO Ankur Singla, Nadakuditi acknowledges that business exigencies could’ve led to their removal, but blames the company for its mismanagement.
Hello Mr.Ankur Singla,
Let me introduce myself. My name is Rakesh Nadakuditi. I joined your company on 3rd august 2015 as brand expert for which I chose the work-from-home option. I was told if I wanted I could shift to the office in future. I knew I was working as consultant but not as employee. I attended training for 1 week from 3rd august to 10 august 2015. Within 2-3 days of training my trainer said I was most suited to the tech support sector looking at my knowledge about things. I finished training and cleared exam and got selected. I started working from 13th august 2015. To my surprise, I was put into jobs sector. I spoke to my team leader asking if there had been a any mistake. He said no mistake, we have to work in job sector as there are lot of queues in that. So 3 guys from my batch who got selected for tech support got shifted to jobs sector without any basic introduction about how jobs sector works. We started working as told by TL. Lets talk about my TL Mr. Javeed. I was happy with him as he was not like the other TL i got to know from my friends. He was calm and relaxed . Not very pushy. Things i hated most about him was he was not available whenever we needed him. Most of the time he is offline on slack when we really need fast solution. I was sick one day and couldn’t work so i called him for day off but his response was surprising. Instead of asking what happened or how bad is it, He asked see if i can somehow work if not then if you are taking leave then you have to work on the day you got officially off. I agreed to it thinking may be because i was consultant. so i worked that day and next day with stomach pain and on third day i went to hospital and got admitted in KIMS Hospital as that day was my off.
Your team said we will be receiving upto Rs 5000 as incentives depend upon performance report. But your QA team started sending wrong fatal error report to avoid paying us that incentives but when few of us fought for it then your team said there was some misunderstanding so that errors are cleared. If you were not ready to pay our incentives then why promise something like that in first place. And your QA team is so incompetent that they couldn’t find that error in first time so we had to point out all this and this is from more than 4-5 people i know who shared that something like this happened.
On 8th September 2015 we received mail saying that Work From Home will be stopped and last working day will be 7th October 2015. People who are interested to shift from Work from Home to Work from Office needs to fill the form and will be selected based on performance report and we will be informed before that. Till 6th October 2015 TL had no idea when i asked about status. So company thinks that they will fire us on 7th october 2015 and we will find job next day? Till where i understand they have to provide prior notice regarding this so that will find another job in meantime. Who is responsible for this? You got incompetent fresher’s staff from top to bottom. You don’t have any correct process for anything(again i can give you so many examples). Ok we know you are start up so it takes time to organize things in such a big company. But thats not our problem. Now back to me. TL said on 6th October that there are enough staff in Work from office batch so they are not gonna hire us.
I FEEL LIKE YOUR COMPANY USED US. They knew if they told this that time itself then we would have stopped working. They wanted us to work till 7th october thats why they lied that they will shift us to office batch based on performance. In my batch (we all got training in same batch) 4 of us applied for Work From Office Me, Nandhini, Purnendu, Raghuvendra. Funny thing is we all didnt get selected where as we all are best performers in that shift in jobs. My first week score was(without any training) 9.2/10 with 1 error and as QA Mohammed Ayub sent a mail on 1st october regarding my performance report. my average score is 9.6/10 and no errors. If you are selecting based on performance then we should be selected but we didnt.
After one month while invoice was generating, Your invoice department by mistake instead of only my invoice they sent me all 100+ work from home guys invoice with personal details . Thats leaking every bodies personal data. Now i have 100+ people name, phone no., address, bank details, pan card details. Who knows who else received that details. What if somebody misuse that details. Unintentional maybe but people can sue you for that till where i understand. You didn’t run into any legal issues yet i guess. how about 100+ of them. Invoice department called and ask me to delete that mail and not to tell anybody. But before that i told this to my TL and he asked me to be quiet and asked me to forward that mail to him and then delete it reason only known to him. Why he wanted that mail in first place. I forwarded that mail.
As i said YOUR COMPANY USED US. As you mentioned in your blog, that “Despite several attempts at bringing accountability among WFH experts, we saw that it was extremely difficult to control their behaviour (attendance, training, response times etc.) “. As i said above that we 4 were best performing guys in that shift. With full attendance. Our Quality scores are proof of that. So either your QA(quality analyst) is wrong in analysis or you are lying.
As you also said ” We decided to do the right thing – communicate clearly with the employees, figure out outplacement by talking to other companies/startups and give proper notice and an additional month’s pay. In addition, we extended all help in terms of introductions / recommendations etc.”. Again you lying to prove your point. TIll today we didnt receive any such notice for us as you mentioned and one month’s pay? Don’t make me laugh. You didnt pay even single penny like you are claiming. Above that incentives i got was Rs. 2250 from upto Rs.10,000(5,000 per month) we can earn. When i asked for clarification from TL Javeed. He started saying something about eligibility criteria and company policies and stuff. So in 2 months of work i get Rs.2250 as incentives with Quality scores of 9.2 in first month and 9.6 in second month out of 10(confirmed by TL).
Your comment on WFH women completely sounded like unnamed politician talking about women empowerment in an interview and it was not an experiment. They interacted with live customers of the your company and did better job than your so called WFO guys.
I have seen lot of brand experts working from office( WFO ) making big big mistakes and we took all that abuses after them when we picked up that chats later. But they are still in office and we are not even considered. I can confirm that from real people who faced all this and can provide you 100+ examples. And you spoke about our behavior. I have seen how WFO guys worked in your office multiple times. Guys playing songs out loud on their laptop speakers , some using headphones and watching youtube videos, putting legs on top of desks and leaning back on comfortable chairs like a boss, girls sitting on desk and shouting at each other, throwing tissues at each other and so many other things were happening. If you call that discipline then i am sorry that we were not well disciplined as you claimed.
When i joined your company, we had a queue of 100+ anytime but after 2 months i see queue of 20+. You are losing your customers fast . And thats not because of us. My batch got some of the best brand experts in different channels and out of 20 members none were selected. You fired some good guys from delhi team and paid them 2 months salary but you didnt do anything like that for us. Nandhini from my batch got average rating of 10/10 every week and she got most positive responses from customers in whole jobs sector combined together. But she didnt get selected and your company said that you will select us based on our performance. Tell me Mr. Ankur Singla will you join a company if you know that you gonna work there for only 2 months? You may argue saying that you company paid salary for that. But i think you are smart enough to understand thats not the point i am trying to make. Now tell me you fired us on 7th october without any prior notice from your office regarding our WFO status and when will i find other job now. You know how difficult it is to find job in bangalore? If i dont get job soon then how will i pay rent and all next month. This all because your staff didnt do their jobs properly. All this time i was hoping they will let us know soon. I asked TL every alternate days in last 2 weeks but his answer was he dont know yet. So Tell me Mr. Ankur Singla if i am wrong anywhere here. Your company fired lot of people recently. I heard some 150+ got fired. Everyone knows it. My TL said there are enough people in office so we are not selected. Some say its due to over staffing, You cannot fire employees for some unknown reason so you removed all who were working from home( WFH). That’s more convenient right? We were not daily labors that get paid on daily basis, no work no pay. You hired us on contract basis. When you cannot afford people you hired then where is our mistake. It’s your company problem, why they hired so many in first place. Your Hr department problem that they didn’t know how many to hire. I heard somewhere that sometimes 100 positive response doesn’t matter but few negative reviews will affect you in bad way. Now your company managed to upset good number of them. If company is successful then its not only because of top guys who make big decisions. It is because of hard work of lower guys who runs the company. I guess your company don’t value this employees. I get it if you are running a business or a company then you can’t keep everyone happy but now you have lot of unhappy ex-employees. I am also interested in starting my own start up someday. I joined your company to learn about how start ups work(as i donno anything about it, slowly learning) and all and earn some money too. If i ever start my company then your company taught me things i should not do.
Some of the employees got to know that their personal information was leaked and they wanted have meeting in your office. Your Team (Miss Charu Seth) threatened me to delete data i received of all personal details of your ex-employess or else she will take me to court. Thats what happens when you hire amateurs for some responsible post. First you screw up and then you threaten the person to cover up your mess. And now i heard you fired another 150+ employees (reported by tech blogs on 26 may). I am sure their also all details will be leaked. I have a feeling all personal details ( phone no. and e-mail id) of who downloaded your app is being sold outside as databases.
I heard this somewhere that most important thing in human life is time. Not money or not health or relationships. Lost money can be earned back, health can be regained, relationships can we improved with communication but time you cant get it back. And your company managed to waste our 2 months of time. All the best for your future.
Rakesh Nadakuditi and 19 others whose time you wasted.
[The views and language expressed here are those of the author and not of OfficeChai.]