Singh spoke about what they had learned and overturned what they had learned about the softer aspects of management during this time, and stated that their culture had become very important to them. He admitted it might not be the best of the culture, but it was a story of resilience. “It’s not the best culture and we’re honest about it. We work six days a week, and we get a lot of criticism for it. But in these times, it works with us. Maybe it’s required, maybe it’s wrong judgment. But now we’re not ashamed of it. When We hire people or talk to them, there are no excuses for that.” He said, while speaking at Indian Internet Day by TiE Delhi-NCR, held on September 2, if they are okay or not okay with a six-day work week, it is their choice.
Recently, Singh faced a lot of backlash when he wrote a LinkedIn post detailing “interview hackers” at his company to select the right candidate. Some of the aspects mentioned are interviewing at 9 pm, interviewing on Sundays, having candidates spend 6-8 hours in the office and calling the candidate at 8 am to request an interview. He later deleted the post after several users on social media criticized the co-founder for encouraging toxic work practices.
Explaining more about how the company instills culture among its employees, Singh said they have grown from 300 to 1,100 people by following certain key philosophies. “Everyone at Pristyn – whether it is Rs 2 lakh a year or Rs 2 lakh a month; everyone, whether it is a temporary worker or a contractor – is interviewed by a founder because the culture has to be performance driven.”
Singh recalled the journey during the pandemic and aligning this with their cultural ethos, highlighting how Covid paved the way for them to build new business paths.
“Our business was down 70%. We had 300 people in the company and we didn’t want to fire them. We had to pay salaries. We were a young company. We found a need in the market. Everyone needed sanitizers and masks. Amazon and Flipkart couldn’t deliver at that time. So. We started selling sanitizers and masks. “It gave us a chance to avoid letting anyone go,” Singh said.
Learning purchasing, distribution and direct customer contact skills during the pandemic has made the company adapt to rapidly changing scenarios. “Once Flipkart started doing business on Amazon, everyone got masks. So that business went down. So we started selling oxygen kits. Once they were readily available, we started selling sanitizing pads. To cut the long story short, this ability gave us a chance.” To build a new business. It’s a DTC brand and we have crossed Rs 100 crore in revenue in less than one year. This business came from Covid and has nothing to do with healthcare. I would never have thought of my dreams to start a business like this if Covid hadn’t happened. Co-founder said : “This is our culture of resilience and behaviour.”
The Mobikwik co-founder also shared her experience of how things before and after the pandemic were shaping up for the payment service provider. Obasana Taku, co-founder, said two things are now a part of their lives. “Everything related to governance is key. So, the company has been run by an independent board of directors for the past year and a half, and that has been a new learning experience for us. The second thing is that nothing is happening now without planning. That means we have today, In September, reviewing all the numbers for August, and all the business leaders will present what they are going to achieve in September. Money is also allocated but everything is planned. These traits have become permanent for us and I love it.”
Detailing more about how life has changed in the past two years, Taco said a lot of the mindset has come from a business perspective. “There is a lot of rationality in the global ecosystem as well as India. And I think the mind is good. This will create strong, stable, long-term businesses and companies, which means sustainable growth and employment. All kinds of resources are available for the right business,” Tako added.