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Toxic work culture at Softbank’s Oyo!!! Lessons on how to avoid becoming one

After the shocking news of Softbank’s beloved investment- OYO’s unhealthy practices, the organizational practices for businesses should be reflected upon.

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An extravagant business can only be sailing well as long as it is ethically correct. In most recent news of OYO’s toxic work culture and untowardly incidents, businesses are urged to reevaluate their work culture. 

OYO is a start-up that provides hotel rooms at competitive prices and has seen an upward trajectory since its launch. With its significant contribution to the online hotel booking market, OYO hasn’t been the ideal business one would expect to soar. In conversations with their employees, it was revealed in anonymity that they practice a very toxic workspace. 

The company has been offering rooms from inactive hotels i.e unavailable or out of service hotels. While this creates an impression of bloated OYO rooms tie-ups, it is absolutely false. To be careful about this reveal, the company offered free rooms to officials that would question this unhealthy business practice.

Not just OYO, there have been many cases of companies that went through a downward spiral after earning a lot of money because of unethical practices. 

There isn’t a way for any business to escape the importance of ethics for a long time and moreover, public acceptance of unethical organizations is impossible. So, how do you ensure your organization never falls under the threat of a toxic culture? 

Here is how you can avoid the toxic culture in your company: 

Focus on areas of motivation: Money. Appreciation. Credit. 

In absolute candor, money is the biggest motivation for your employees to come to work and also the reason they continue working. But, the human mind is not that simple. 

There is a purpose each person is chasing to give meaning to their lives and for most people, it is their work. 

So, when they are unappreciated or their opinions are discredited at work, it creates animosity in the workplace. To avoid this, you should observe employees that work diligently in improving themselves and appreciate them. 

“Hey Karen, your pitch was well laid out this time. That last piece of information was liked by the client”, “Hi Carl, I noticed you have made changes to the document. It is looking great now.”

This will also increase the chances of them responding better to criticism and feedback. 

Team Spirit: Create a sense of belonging

When you are building a team, your employees should be able to form an attachment to your purpose. Every employee in the organization should be chasing the same objective as you and this happens when there is team spirit. 

Most times toxic environments manifest themselves when superiors make the company’s success about themselves. By not divulging enough information to your employees or playing favorites, there can be resentment in employees. 

You can avoid this by ensuring information is shared with all employees and there is no ridicule directed at low performers. You should address everyone as a team. 

An open communication space

There can’t be enough emphasis placed on the importance of communicating effectively. Your office atmosphere should be open where your employees are able to approach you without fear. There should also be an outlet for them to voice their grievances because once the issue is out in the open, it becomes easier to deal with. 

This will avoid employees bottling up their emotions and anger and also give you a fair idea of what is going wrong. 

Encourage Respect and Accountability

Once you have established a sense of belonging, your employees should also be in tune with the core values preached at your organization. From the beginning, encourage mutual respect between colleagues and seniors. 

Toxic environments are created when employees indulge in taking the liberty of disrespecting each other. Sometimes the disrespect is so well masked, it can almost pass off as a joke. Discourage this habit when you spot it. 

Accountability is another value you must encourage in them so everyone takes responsibility for their actions. The famous “blame game” problem would be avoided if everyone is held responsible for what they do. 

Be Positive, for yourself and your organization

Positivity is a very broad concept and cannot be brought down to a single point. Even if you manage to keep yourself positive about outcomes and processes, your employees will follow your lead. 

There will be difficult times and your response to them will define how your work culture will develop. Negativity is a very discomforting feeling and affects your employees’ future projects. To avoid this, be sure to be optimistic about powering through situations and keep your employees motivated. 


Oyo has shared the below statement with Express Computer-

“We are committed to growing OYO the right way — by meeting the needs of property owners and of the guests we serve together. We work hard every day to ensure that our values are upheld by thousands of committed employees around the world, and we are subject to regular external audits to ensure proper compliance and adherence to our Code of Conduct. With regards to complaints of a small section of property owners in India whose payments are disputed, multiple escalation mechanisms exist and we continue to provide resolution. We are also investing in technology and in building stronger partner support teams to ensure reconciliations happen faster. We expect all hotel owners to partner in delivering superior guest experience. We will also continue to utilize the provisions in our contracts that allow us to incentivise and recognise thousands of owners who consistently deliver a high-quality guest experience.”

While Softbank refrained from commenting on its most dear investment in OYO, there is a lot that businesses need to keep in mind when dealing with a crisis. Your response to the public will define the image of your organization for the longest time and will also deter your employees’ trust. Encouraging a non-toxic environment from the beginning can save you the trouble of rebuilding. 

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  1. zoha says

    Creating a working culture that encourages communication is a task that managers strive for. Acing it is now possible with these skills.

  2. Zeba Kazi says

    Creating a working culture that encourages communication is a task that managers strive for. Acing it is now possible with these skills.

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