Meet Gurpal Singh Bhatia, ApplyBoard’s CX Team Lead, who works out of our office in India. Having been there for almost six months, Gurpal is sharing his insights on what it means to work for a global company and how to stay connected internationally.
Gurpal joined ApplyBoard in December 2018 as a member of the Admissions Team. As our company grew and expanded to India, one of our key markets, Gurpal decided to temporarily relocate in order to help us build our team.
Gurpal hails from Punjab, India. He came to Canada as an international student in 2013, and is an alumnus of Conestoga College in Kitchener, Ontario. He loves to listen to music, especially classical devotional music. Recently Gurpal bought a rubab, a lute-like string instrument. It was on his bucket list for a very long time, and he is excited to master it and play some tunes!
About Our India Team
ApplyBoard is a global organization, with over 500 employees across 18 countries. Earlier this year, we opened an office in India. Since then, it has grown to 37 team members who work with students to ensure that they are qualified and eligible and help them apply to their desired institutions abroad.
Like our team based out of the Kitchener Headquarters, the India Team has transitioned to working from home since March to help curb the spread of COVID-19. While working apart, this team has been creative in finding ways to stay connected!
How Our India Team Stays Connected
Working in different time zones can occasionally make it difficult for our global staff to stay engaged and connected with one another. However, our team in India never fails to come up with initiatives to make sure that everyone feels like a part of the ApplyBoard family.
When asked about how his team maintains cohesive communication and team morale, Gurpal shares these insights:
Meti Basiri, the Co-Founder and CMO of ApplyBoard, travelled to India along with other members of the Canada team to help open the new office. “We’re ever grateful for Meti’s support,” says Gurpal. “Meti is one of those people whose vibrance and energy can light up a room! Under his mentorship, we were able to build this new office to reflect a similar culture as the ApplyBoard Headquarters in Kitchener.”
When it comes to maintaining a connection between international teams, maintaining regular touchpoints has been very important. These include a biweekly company-wide update for all staff, and a vision meeting led by ApplyBoard leaders once a month. According to Gurpal, these meetings are a crucial way that the team in India has been able to stay connected and build the ApplyBoard culture.
Another way to stay connected is through “water cooler” conversations. ApplyBoardians chat through Basecamp, a project management and communication platform. While Basecamp plays an important role in our professional communications, it’s also the perfect place for us to connect on a personal level. We can share interests, celebrate birthdays, and organize game nights—Dungeons & Dragons and Jackbox are team favourites! “By staying engaged and participating in the group chats, the India Team is able to build relationships with team members from across the globe,” says Gurpal.
Joining the ApplyCommittees
ApplyCommittees are an essential way that our team celebrates and embraces our core values every day. Our committees, ApplyFun, ApplyCare, and ApplyCulture, host employee-led events and activities that allow team members to give back to our communities, celebrate the diversity of our staff, and make work fun!
This summer, the ApplyCommittees went global, with our team in India leading international trivia challenges. Currently, nine members of the India Team have joined the ApplyCommittees to help bridge the geographical gap between the teams. “By being a part of a larger team, people feel a sense of belonging and less stress, anxiety, and ambiguity,” says Gurpal.
As a part of the Indian Independence Day celebration on August 15, ApplyFun members from our India office organized Namaste India, a virtual trivia challenge. “This event was not only a great way for us to come together, but our team was able to share some fun and interesting facts about the modern-day and pre-independence era in India,” explains Gurpal. “The most memorable moment was the friendly squabble between team members on what Chandni Chowk in Delhi was most famous for—jalebis or samosas!”
Gurpal’s Personal Highlights
When asked to share some of his favourite moments of working out of the India office, Gurpal says that it was exciting to be part of building a new team and office.
“When I arrived in India in February 2020, my vision for the India Team was to be a reflection of the culture we have at our headquarters in Canada. It was important that the team not only got great work done, but also worked as a family, had fun together, and cared about each other.”