Case study: With a workforce 1,000+ strong, here's why SHAREit is no longer a "garage startup"

Case study: With a workforce 1,000+ strong, here's why SHAREit is no longer a "garage startup"

With a multicultural DNA comprising teams spread across the globe and working remotely towards a common vision, here's why SHAREit continues to grow its 1,000+ employee pool. 

Amidst shake-ups in the tech industry, peer-to-peer file sharing, content streaming and gaming platform, SHAREit continues to see hyper-growth.

Its flagship app SHAREit, a file sharing and entertainment platform has been featured in three categories in the recent State of Mobile Report 2023 rankings. SHAREit was one of the Top 10 downloaded apps in Philippines and Indonesia, as well as one of the Top 20 downloaded apps globally in 2022.

So what's the key driver of its growth? Multicultural DNA with teams spread across the globe and working remotely towards a common vision, is what the company credits. SHAREit currently has over 1,000 employees representing over 20 nationalities spread across the globe. This multicultural workforce has seen the company achieve 220% revenue growth in FY21/22.

As such, SHAREit has plans to continue hiring in 2023 and maintain flexibility as one of its core work policies.

To find out more about its growth story, diverse workforce, and belief in remote working, HRO's Aditi Sharma Kalra speaks exclusively to Karam Malhotra, Partner and Global Vice President, SHAREit Group (pictured above). Read on for interview excerpts: 

Q Tell us about your journey with SHAREit, and your biggest milestones.

I am the Partner, Global VP at the SHAREit Group, a global internet technology company with the vision to ‘make digital content equally accessible by everyone’. Its diversified suite of applications, including the hero app SHAREit, a file sharing, gaming and content streaming platform, has been installed by nearly 2.4bn users worldwide.

Under my leadership, SHAREit has been ranked as one of the top publishers worldwide multiple times in the last few years. I am based in Singapore, I now lead our global sales team and eCommerce/Fintech Ads business.

Our first milestone is when we hit a billion app installs in the Google Play Store. There's very few apps which have achieved that milestone. We were also ranked as the world's top 10 most downloaded apps in the history of Android by Google Play in the 10th year anniversary, according to AppAnnie (now, which was a fantastic milestone.

During the last few years, we were able to open about 18 different offices across the world, spanning from the US, across Europe, Middle East Africa, and Asia, and that really showed that we are a multinational international company. Another milestone was that we finally have over 1,000 people working at SHAREit last year. So it's no longer a garage startup.

The year 2022 was a power packed one for the company as it clocked 220% revenue growth. The company forged new partnerships, built strength in new markets, and drove more value for our customers.

Q We know you have a hugely multicultural workforce. Which parts of the world do SHAREit employees come from, and how have you hand picked them to ensure diversity?

SHAREit Group has a global team with employees spread across Southeast Asia, MENA, LATAM, Europe amongst others. In my team alone I have colleagues from over 20+ countries. Our business network reaches over 150 countries in 45 different languages. What ties us all together is our passion for digital technology and the excitement of seeing our personal and team efforts immediately translate to visible and tangible impact. We look at a combination of the relevant experience, expertise and passion to join a global company that provides services to global users. They can be from any part of the world where we have plans to grow. This has been a catalyst for SHAREit’s hypergrowth in the last few years.

Q What are some of your favourite bits, as a leader, about working with such a diverse team?

I lead a young team, full of energy, ambition and ideas from different parts of the world. I believe in empowering young leaders to become better versions of themselves and gain more confidence and it is extremely fulfilling to see them evolve to the next level. Diversity needs to be ingrained in the DNA of a company - it is reflected in a diverse leadership and a diverse mix of talents. At SHAREit, we recognise this.

Q Does having such a diverse team contribute to the success of SHAREit?

Immensely. Having a diverse team ensures that we have perspectives from different parts of the world that can inform our broader global strategy, making our growth roadmap more achievable. I pride my team members who have grown with us personally and professionally, over years and continue to do so, to have pushed SHAREit towards the growth trajectory. For example, one of the commercial executives in Singapore, has bagged several awards over years for going beyond the call of duty and delivering exceptional results. We also have a dynamic sales person and mom working remotely from Tel Aviv and she is looking to grow her sales team in a rapidly evolving industry that is witnessing an app explosion.

Q Working with teams across time zones, how do teams keep productivity high and their members engaged?

We hold regular check-ins and pow-wow meetings with teams, while striving to infuse energy and maximise alignment in cross functional departments based across geographies. The teams have goal setting and mapping meetings with their managers on an ongoing basis to ensure efficiencies. People who join SHAREit do so because of the global opportunities that the company opens up for them, and the opportunity to be working with one of the smartest and diverse teams across time zones.

The most important are trust and decentralised autonomy, which allow us to build a global organisation of leaders who all align to a common goal, but may do so in their own specific leadership styles.

Q How does SHAREit enhance staff cohesion with a multicultural workforce?

Last year, we held a team bonding session in Thailand which was the first company gathering since the pandemic. Employees from around the world including Singapore, Indonesia, India, Israel, UAE, etc. were present. We also make sure to celebrate with our employees their local festivals, like Diwali in India, Jewish New Year in Israel, Ramadan in Indonesia, amongst others, through simple gift gestures.

During the pandemic, we facilitated free vaccination for all our employees. We also did mental fitness workshops to protect our employees’ mental health, as working in isolation while managing other responsibilities requires special attention from all of us and can be draining.

Equality is an important aspect of our corporate culture and a core guideline for me in leading our global team. We respect the culture of our employees of different nationalities and we emphasise an equal working atmosphere - for example, the management in the SHAREit Group do not have their own office room. We are willing to listen to the needs and difficulties of people from different countries and in different positions.

Q What are some challenges SHAREit has faced in building a diverse workforce?

Finding the right fit can be challenging. Over time, we have become quite familiar with varied cultures and working styles which was not the case before, and have leveraged local partners to get the kind of talent we want. Apart from the skills and market expertise, we also look for people who are keen to work in a fast paced, high growth environment.

Today, in my team, almost 70% of the team has been referred to the company by a direct or ex-colleague. This maintains cohesion of culture and also ensures we attract people that others find inspirational and exciting to work with.

Q How has the workforce supported SHAREit's journey in the digital apps space - any best practices in harnessing talents?

The usage of digital apps is growing at an astronomical rate as they have become the most popular spaces for consumers. In such a fast-paced, ever-changing, and competitive world, for any company to grow, a well-mobilised, agile workforce is essential. From product innovations to delivering exceptional experiences for our corporate customers to ensuring SHAREit stays the most relevant for the users, people at SHAREit are driving every bit of it.

One best practice that we follow, is to be fluid and flexible. We like to support the employee’s career development and journey with no barriers, which essentially means enabling an employee to transition into another role or department for instance, which could be quite different from the previous one. The intent is to be aligned with the employee's long-term career goals while recognising the strengths they bring to the table and harnessing them by providing the right opportunities.

Q In your role, how closely do you work with your HR head, and what are some people projects closest to your heart?

I think the HR department is the fuel that keeps the organisation running - they have a huge responsibility to let the best people in for the organisation. I tend to catch up with my HR head every month to take employee feedback, make broad global manpower assessments, and mark improvement areas.

I am most passionate about leading our leadership talent nurturing workstreams as I believe for any organisation, identifying the next batch of CXOs is important to the organisation but also helps place greater trust and accountability in the upcoming talent pool.

Q From your experience, how can fast-growth companies look to foster innovation and cohesive culture amongst global teams?

Fostering innovation means driving a company culture that thrives on open communication and strives for excellence. We believe in empowering our teams by letting them make decisions, think out of the box, and take action even if there is risk involved. No one will sit them down - failures and success are all a part of the game.

Being cohesive is really important, since everyone in the team needs to be working together, towards one common goal. They need to fill in for each other, and leverage each other's strengths. That is what makes a high-performing team. For any global team for instance, we ensure that all those who are a part of it, report to one manager or leader who sets the direction and drives them forward on the common path.

ALSO READ: HR OnScreen: Sehr Ahmed, Global CHRO, The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf on living with wings while knowing your roots

Photo / Provided (featuring the interviewee, Karam Malhotra) 

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