Our Employee Spotlight series invites you to meet some of our Birds from around the world. Discover what they love about their jobs, how they’ve grown their careers, what challenges they face and much more. If you’re interested in joining our flock, this is a fantastic opportunity to learn about our culture, people and how we work!
“Everyone here is open-minded, open to feedback and open to asking how change can be accomplished. When you suggest an idea, sometimes you’re even given responsibility to make it happen — YOU can drive it and be the agent for change.”
During her first week at MessageBird, Priyam Malik already experienced a huge milestone: her first-ever visit to Amsterdam.
“It was a COVID-free world back then, so we all used to travel to Amsterdam for the first two weeks on the job,” Priyam explains. “I’d never been, so I was very excited. I got to meet the entire team, see the office, and feel the vibe and culture.”
Priyam says that during her first days as Bird — and throughout the intensive onboarding program — she was already struck by the level of diversity across the company.
“I could immediately sense the inclusivity,” she says. “On our floor we had about 100 people and there were 30 different nationalities represented. It was very diverse, but the way people behaved was respectful and similar.”
She returned to Singapore as MessageBird’s only HR representative for the APAC region, and hit the ground running. “Now almost two years later, every day is still as exciting as my first!”
You’re originally from Delhi, India. How did you end up in Singapore?
I moved to Singapore in 2018 and I was working for Philips at the time. I’d been with the company for five years, so I felt that it was time to experiment with something new and dynamic. I took a big leap of faith and applied at MessageBird.
Why did you apply with MessageBird, and how did you feel about it?
I had no experience in technology sales organizations before this, so I was pleasantly surprised that MessageBird was open to the idea to talk to someone like me. It’s a space in a hyper-growth mode. While I had no knowledge in it, I knew that if I could get into it, I’d be exposed to a lot of interesting aspects of this field.
How did your background help to ease you into the role?
My education is in engineering, plus I have a human resources degree. The engineer in me was keen on the tech side of the business and how we can make an impact. But because I’m in recruitment, I also need to believe in the product that we sell. When our VP of APAC explained to me the impact we can make for any business, that really motivated me.
Since you didn’t have a background in telecomms, how did you get up to speed?
There’s a lot of investment from the company into onboarding for every employee across the world. I was exposed to and taught a lot about the product, the solution, the company history, and the vision and strategy, which has helped me to do my job and explain the role to other potential candidates.
"I love that there’s so much autonomy in my role. Nobody checks in on when I start or end, and I plan my day myself and not by the clock. I can get shit done and let my work speak for itself.”
How does a typical day “as a Bird” look for you today?
No two days are the same! But a typical day might involve reaching out and speaking to candidates across the entire APAC region. In my afternoons, I normally manage European stakeholders and time zones, which can get busier. I also get to speak with other Birds in the region, because I’m the only People team representative who’s here in APAC. So, I help to build relationships, check-in with people, try to solve any issues, and have career conversations. We are always open and can share things with each other.
As a Recruiter, how has Work Anywhere changed the scope of your role?
From a strategic standpoint it really helps, because it’s opened doors for us to hire candidates across the entire APAC region! When I first started in the job, I looked primarily in Singapore and Australia. Now it’s Indonesia, India, China, Korea — everywhere! I’m not restricted to finding talent in just one country, and I can tap talent from across the region which means 10x the volume of talent availability! That also requires me to understand the nuances of different cultures, and I must be open-minded from a language standpoint.
Have you personally taken advantage of the Work Anywhere policy?
During COVID-19, Singapore has been strict in terms of travel. But when things open up again, I can’t wait to go back home to India for some quality family time together. My parents haven’t met my baby daughter yet, so I hope to go for a few months and work from there. I don’t think many other companies give you that type of luxury!
How do you take advantage of the 80/20 policy?
I have an eight-month old daughter, so mornings are very rushed for me. My work start time can vary, but it’s usually not until 9:30 a.m. Before that I can spend time with my daughter, give her a bath, feed her, and play with her; having that time has really been a blessing. To compensate, I work late in the evenings, which is great because then it’s morning in Europe.
What do you like most about the MessageBird culture?
The freedom to speak your mind. The lack of hierarchy. People don’t make you feel like you’re talking to a Director or a VP, and I love that.
The journey is not stable, constant or slow. It really is 200 miles an hour. But everyone here is moving at the same pace, and everyone is equally excited. That keeps the momentum going.
Compared to your previous jobs, what is something special or different about MessageBird?
Your role is not restricted to the job description you might have read when you joined. If you’re willing to make a step, the company is very open to giving you ownership to make an impact.
For example, while my prime responsibility is recruitment, this role also gives me the ability to take on other HR projects which excites me. It also exposes me to all of APAC, so I get to talk to people across the entire region, which is quite interesting.
“I love talking to a truly diverse set of people, both internally and externally. From a culture perspective, a thought-process perspective — there’s so much to learn from everyone here.”
What’s changed since you joined in 2019?
When I started two years ago, I had to really sell the MessageBird story, but now the story is out there. People really know us already because of the pace at which we’ve grown. It’s not every day you hear about a company that in the last six months has acquired four companies and nearly doubled in size. People are excited to join us at this stage; people believe in it.
What traits do you look for in someone applying for a role in tech?
Someone who likes to make an impact and see it come to life — not just talk or words, but actually making a change. And someone who is driven by building things, whether it’s a small process change or an entire solution.
What has been your biggest accomplishment at MessageBird?
Last year we weren’t hiring at the speed we are hiring now. When COVID-19 first hit, we didn’t want to over-hire in a pandemic and we were conscious as a business to retain the people we had. But now we have the green light to “go” again. Within two weeks, things clicked, and I actually closed seven offers — and all accepted! It’s a personal record for me in my time at MessageBird. Many of them have been remote-based, and for markets where we didn’t have people: China, Korea, Hong Kong and Taiwan.
What are three words you’d use to describe MessageBird?
Awesome place to be! (That’s four words, but oh well!)