Earlier today, Ashish Hemrajani, Founder & CEO, BookMyShow sent the following note as an email to BookMyShow employees.
These are unprecedented times and I hope each of you as well as your loved ones are safe as you read this. We are all experiencing first-hand the ongoing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the lives & livelihoods of millions of people around the world. At BookMyShow, we have lived through the dot com bust of the early 2000s and the Global Financial Crisis of 2008 to know that this is going to run deep and long. While all of us at BookMyShow have always maintained a steady state of optimism and strongly believe that this too shall pass one day as nothing in life is permanent, we also have to accept that this is the new reality. We also have to introspect its influence on the future and consumption of out-of-home entertainment for the foreseeable future.
Memories are short and I personally believe that people tend to forget good times in bad and bad times in good. At BookMyShow, we never prepared for a day when we would be happier asking our users to stay home, stay safe and not step out to go to the movies, catch a play, dance to their favourite artists perform at a live concert, or cheer their home teams from inside a stadium.
However, our immediate responsibility is towards our four key stakeholder groups, our customers, the community, our employees and shareholders. We have always tried our best to balance between these four pillars and our raison d’etre. The toughest job is to get this balance right, knowing it can never be perfect, especially in uncertain times like these.
For our Customers,
From day 2 of the lockdown, BookMyShow started offering digital content and most of it for free. We have succeeded and flourished over the years, due to the trust and love that customers have shown us and we wanted to pay some of it back and continue to entertain while keeping it largely free, hoping we can, in some small measure, keep customers home, safe and entertained as we return some of their love back to them. We are adapting to the changing times to address market dynamics and restrictions by future proofing the business and will hopefully come out of this stronger and better off. We are also working closely with our industry partners on introducing the necessary social distancing, sanitisation & hygiene norms for a safe entertainment experience when we open again to out-of-home experiences. Despite all the resilience we show, we can’t predict how the future shapes up, but we promise to continue our focus on a high quality of input.
For the Community at large,
While we have all been deeply impacted by this crisis, it does not absolve our responsibility to take care of the weaker sections of our community and those in need, more than us. To that effect, you should know that BookMyShow’s charity and social arm, BookASmile has been working harder than ever in helping daily wage workers, providing and supporting NGOs on the front line with Hazmat suits, PPE kits, feeding migrants and using our office cafeteria premises to cook and distribute 1,000 meals each day to the city’s front line health, police and BMC workers, totalling over 35,000 meals to date. We have allocated a significant portion of BookASmile’s corpus towards various government funds, NGO partners and the ACT Grants. Finally, as you know, we are currently running the BMC’s official Covid helpline (Extension 4) 1916 for the city of Mumbai, supporting them with our staff for this effort.
You must hold your head high, to know that you are all contributors to each of these causes by supporting in various ways through effort, time and intent. I am sure this good karma will protect you in more ways than you can imagine.
To our Employees,
As an organisation, we have no option but to take some key decisions around matters of compensation & benefits, on the basis of known variables today. We are constantly pushing ourselves to not choose a path of no-return, but given this extraordinary situation of such magnitude, with no let-up in sight, we have had to resort to the task of reducing our costs to align them with what we believe will be greatly reduced revenues in the months to come. Over the past two and a half months, we have been updating you all on weekly town halls – the good and bad, responding to all your queries on the business and the road ahead, with complete transparency. You have had questions about employee lay-offs and I have said that we are looking at all options to see what can be minimally disruptive for the organisation as a whole as well as individuals.
Today, we are at the stage where I have to share with you, the uncomfortable, unfortunate yet inevitable downsizing exercise that we have to take due to the unfavourable environment. None of these decisions reflect the quality of the work that any of these team members have put in.
Out of 1450 employees at BookMyShow in India and globally, about 270 employees across various functions and teams, will be impacted through this exercise. This includes those who will be put on furloughs, along with those who we will have to part ways with, at least, as of now.
To take care of all those who will be impacted, we have tried to do our best to offer financial support, continued health insurance cover and outplacement support to try and make this slightly less painful and ease the burden for employees and their dependents, as mentioned below:
All those put on Furloughs (leave without pay):
They will continue to remain employed with BookMyShow and will be eligible for all medical insurance, gratuity and other benefits as per their employment standards.
All those who will no longer be a part of the organisation:
For those employees that will have to leave us, the following are the details on the support being offered:
- Financial Support:
- Equivalent to a minimum of 2 months of salary irrespective of their tenure or as per notice period, whichever is higher.
- Healthcare & Wellness Support:
- Medical insurance cover for affected employees and their nominated family members until September 30th, 2020.
- Continued access to the Inner Hour mental health helpline programme 24×7 for their emotional well-being with full access to counsellors on complete anonymity, should they choose to.
- Career Transition Support:
- To assist you in this journey of finding an alternate work opportunity, the recruitment team, select members of the senior leadership, along with Rick & I, will help you scout for new placements, to the best of our ability. Whether it was the dot com bust when we had to downsize our workforce, or the global financial crisis in 2008, BookMyShow has always been there to support its own during a crisis.
- Impacted employees in certain teams will also receive a BookMyShow Certification highlighting and validating specific skills that will set you apart from others, aiding your efforts to look for new roles.
A dedicated team from HR has been created to assist impacted employees through this entire process. Not to mention, you have always had complete access to any member of the senior leadership to answer all your queries and this will remain unchanged during this period.
To those who are leaving us, I am truly sorry for having to make this decision. While it is of no consolation, you should know that the teams that are staying back have voluntarily taken salary cuts ranging from 10% to 50% at the leadership level, given up their bonuses and all salary raises. The company has cut all other expenses and renegotiated with vendors, partners and landlords and after exhausting all other cost-saving measures, we have taken this decision as a last resort.
Please know that this is not a reflection of your performance or ability at all. I can’t imagine how stressful this may be for you and want to let you know that we are by your side and will do everything we can to help with the situation.
For our Shareholders,
Finally our fiduciary responsibility is towards our shareholders too. These past few weeks have been truly challenging but what they have also been, is a lesson in clarity and resilience. This is not the first time we have been hit by a downturn and this will not be the last. These last few weeks – you have shown your best to us through your unflinching support and unwavering commitment to the company and we will always value that.
When the tide rises back, we will rise alongside and bounce back stronger, like we always have.
As the old adage goes, ‘When you can’t change the direction of the wind, adjust your sails.”
You have been with us through our journey in helping build BookMyShow to where it is today and we are honoured to have served alongside you. I, along with the entire leadership team want to wish you only the very best with everything that follows from here, and want to thank you deeply for all your contributions to BookMyShow.
Wishing you fair winds.