[Awesome Startup Employee] Rohit Agarwal the multi-talented star of HousingTanvi Dubey
Rohit Agarwal from Housing has been nominated as the Awesome Startup Employee by Advitiya Sharma the Co-founder and CMO of Housing.com.
The prefect house makes the best home. Finding the right house is not an easy task. With the stressful lives we have started leading it is more and more important for us to find the right house that defines us and provide the sense of comfort, safety and space that we desire. Rohit has helped millions find their perfect homes," says Advitiya Sharma.
“Searching for a house can be a painful experience. Rohit who holds the reins to the Housing helpline number has helped many find their perfect home,” says Advitiya. He adds, “to solve the problems that people face, we need to understand them first. Rohit empathizes with people amazingly well, and I feel that's his best quality.”
Rohit joined last August and will be completing a year at Housing very soon. He has worked in association with sales to design and setup operations for client on-boarding, relationship management and rapid customer acquisition using All 3s. As Head of Customer Experience, he is responsible for delivering operational excellence and customer delight at all touch points.
This is how Rohit describes his role at Housing.
You are house hunting online for a house but don’t have time to hop from site to site filling forms, applying filters and screening through hundreds of options and you wish someone gave you the best option to choose from. I wanted to solve this problem for our users so I took up the responsibility to set up Housing's helpline which advises users on their real-estate requirements and delivers best-suited property options directly on their phone within seconds.
Rohit says, “this past year has been fulfilling and humbling.” With exposure across marketing, operations, product management, sales, recruitment and working with some of the smartest business minds across functions has ensured a steep learning curve for him. “My own team has scaled up more than 10X in last one year to 200+ colleagues and leading them has been a very enriching lesson in leadership and people management,” he adds.
Rohit loves ‘Being Out There and So Close.’ Sitting on top of a million interactions per month spread across geography and user groups that comprises property consultants, developers, homeowners, tenants and buyers, he constantly gets to feel the nerve of his customers. He loves screening these interactions to filter out exceptional and inspiring customer expectations and put together next set of challenges, priorities and insights for the company.
The knowledge I collate helps all teams to step into the customer’s shoes and build products and services that they would themselves love as customers, he says.
What helps is that Rohit has known the core team for a while as quite a few of them come from his alma mater, IIT Bombay. He says, “Being in a customer centric role I have had the privilege to work with almost all cofounders and I must admit that they all have one thing in common - they chase excellence and have instilled the same in the air. They always lead by example and their vision and ambition is extremely motivating and inspiring for all of us.”
One of the challenges Rohit says he faces is that of people scaling. He says, “in rapid growth phases like the one Housing is going through, team sizes multiply from single to double to triple digits in no time. It necessitates every layer of leadership to move to the next level. Some people fail to scale up, primarily because of losing focus of the larger picture or getting carried away.”
Over the year, Rohit has seen the company grow and evolve. “Business Metrics, Products, Geography and Head Count have all grown at breakneck speed over last six months and yet it just seems like the tip of the iceberg with regard to what is already in the pipeline. We have delivered excellence and innovation in everything we have done till now.”
When it comes to work life balance Rohit points out that employee sincerity or discipline is evaluated based on the punctuality of deadlines and not in-time or out out-time from office. “It is based on mutual trust and cooperation,” he says.
When doing collaborative work we need to be in office, else you can work from home. “Colleagues complement each other and come around to share responsibilities when on some occasion you have to be away from work for personal reasons. Moreover we have a very vibrant social life in office which helps us feel comfortable spending long hours at work,” he adds.
Talking about the work culture of Housing he says, “we lay a lot of stress on innovation and excellence.”
Rohit shares some interesting insights about the startup ecosystem. He feels that startups are about passion and if you do not feel passionate you may have a burn out because of the demanding work culture at startups. He adds, “while most people are drawn to startups for want of challenging roles, exposure and ownership, which startups do provide, folks must also possess a lot of agility. Startups continuously evolve and require adaptive employees who can absorb the change fast. The best part about being at a startup is visibility of impact i.e. how your daily work is contributing to growth of your company and changing the lives of your consumers. This transparency shoots up your job satisfaction to an altogether new high.”
Rohit is very passionate about trying new things. He has worked with an international think tank and has presented his views in the Parliament of India on policy matters. He has also researched under the guidance of a senior bureaucrat from the PMO on Police Reforms. A game he recently built on Indian Politicians during election season was bought by a leading media house and went live on their digital media platform. He loves to write and is interested in history, law and sports.
He has a good way of unwinding at the end of a hard day at work. He says, “Good food at home and a game of chess with my flat mates is typically how I end up my day. A good night call with parents is a very refreshing moment and helps diffuse all stress. I moderately workout to keep myself fit but I am a big foodie and hop over to restaurants or try street food over the weekend. I go to watch plays, read poetry or tune my playlist to Ghazals for a soothing evening.”
His message to his team is, “we are set to build a great organization which places its customers above everything. The way we do things, I am sure, we would be the only competition to ourselves and we need to continuously outperform ourselves. Be visionary in your thinking, aggressive in action and impeccable in delivery.”
He believes that we are living in fortunate times for there is a lot of support framework coming up in the country now to enable people to startup. Identify your passion and follow it. Do not be intimidated by competition or always think about inventing something - world still needs a lot of improvements so continue to challenge the status quo. If you can find a better solution to a problem already deemed solve - you will have space. Housing is a live example, we are changing the way real-estate transactions happen.
A message for Rohit that Advitiya share is, “Just keep killing it!”
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