Scaling the first-ever remote-first crypto company in India
WazirX was started in 2018 to provide users with the most powerful crypto trading interface accessible to everyone in India. Today we have grown to be the country’s largest and most trusted exchange in the crypto market. WazirX employs more than 160 people working out of over 60 locations and serves users in 180 countries. We grew the most during the pandemic, and have always been a remote working forward organisation.
The case for being remote-first
There are an incredible number of statistics that make a great business case for remote working, the leading reason for us being employee safety. Also, the nature of crypto is decentralisation, so why not a human resource model that is inspired by it.
Remote working, we’ve learnt, can improve employee satisfaction and reduce attrition. In a recent FlexJobs survey, 81 percent of respondents said they would be more loyal to their employer if they had flexible work options, while another stat from the report revealed that remote workers are 13 percent more likely to stay in their jobs than onsite workers.
It can reduce commute times and opex. Commutes often translate to dead time for employees which contributes to unscheduled absences, poor punctuality, less availability, higher staff attrition, recruitment challenges and negative environmental impacts. Going remote-first also made us location-agnostic and opened up a talent pool that wouldn’t have been possible with an on-premise dynamic. In fact we’ve had over 15,000 applicants for the 160-odd positions we’ve put out so far, and that’s huge.
But beyond the tangible benefits, it allowed people who were truly passionate about tech, crypto and being a key part of the crypto revolution in India and the world to come on board and be a part of the dream team. India, with more than a billion people, is primed for massive crypto adoption, and working with us gives employees not just a front row seat of history being made, but also be an active part of making that history. The outcomes also speak for themselves; a recent employee pulse revealed that around 85 percent of our employees were ‘extremely happy’ with their situation.
Making remote working, work
Given our workforce’s nascency, and the fact that nearly 80 percent of our employees haven't met physically, making remote working work for us requires a creative and strategic rethink of culture and management to help keep employees engaged, productive and motivated. This starts with hiring people with a high sense of ownership, a robust virtual induction, clear goal setting, broadcasting a shared vision, decentralised and distributed accountability, and creative flexibility to accommodate asynchronous working styles.
As we do this, listening is a key tool for engagement and it’s important to listen at all levels and every opportunity with different frequencies to understand effectiveness, while catching gaps and challenges in the system. We do this while simultaneously leveraging and analysing data available to us for data driven, actionable insights.
Finally, mentor-oriented managerial roles - with a formalised buddy system - have been critical to maintain team morale, relationships and cohesion in the remote working dynamic.
Beyond processes, we leverage a slew of digital tools that help us deliver on our collaboration, engagement and productivity goals virtually as we align our people to deliver on the larger goal.
The future of remote work
As we begin to script our post-pandemic HR playbook, we realise that the key to making remote working work is to make it sustainable. This also means that we must accept that remote working may not necessarily work for everyone. Being inclusive in this scenario would be to explore a blended or hybrid approach to be sensitive to the needs of our workforce. Every effort must be tempered with an effective feedback and listening strategy. Employees who know they are heard are more engaged and productive.
Finally, it’s the realisation that though we are the cryptocurrency business, which is fundamentally about digital assets, our true assets are always our people.