Connectivity at Deliveroo means people over processes

Updated: Jul 29

INTERVIEW: In this second series of Chief of Staff Asia’s interview with Natasha Doctor, Head of People at Deliveroo Singapore, she shared how to maintain people’s connection to keep the company culture alive.

Like in any great endeavour, obstacles are anticipated. In Deliveroo’s pursuit to sustain connectivity, Doctor disclosed, “We need to be deliberate about employee engagement, communication, and alignment of goals to keep our culture alive.”

This deliberate move is not simple. But everybody pitched in, especially when Singapore declared prolonged lockdowns.

Doctor went on to say, “During Singapore’s circuit breaker period, the cross-functional ‘social committee’ led informal and engaging virtual activities every week. Budgets were allocated for social activities, virtual get-togethers, and regular team check-ins to discuss plans and expectations.

“All in all, we focused on building a strong sense of community by being there for each other and making sure we were moving towards a shared goal to succeed as a team,” she proudly said while recognising her team’s united efforts.

The other end of the connectivity spectrum is disengagement. So, one might ask if Deliveroo has any tool or measure that could detect employee disconnect?

The people manager talked about how they patiently do this regularly, saying, “We run monthly engagement surveys where employees have the opportunity to share regular feedback on a variety of topics. This provides us with real-time and meaningful feedback to gauge engagement and continuously tailor our initiatives based on employees’ feedback.”

Another factor to consider is the digitisation of everything. Where do we see the human touch in “human resources” after things around it have gone digital? Doctor injected her personal belief in keeping the human touch in HR.

“My personal mantra of keeping the human touch alive is prioritising people over processes and being flexible and empathetic to the varying needs of employees. The human touch is about building real connections, which technology cannot replace,” she firmly pointed out.

This human connection had been put to test when the pandemic began. Deliveroo did not run out of ways to engage, as Doctor said: “Successful organisations are those that have prioritised holistic employee care and wellbeing. At Deliveroo, we recognise this through the support initiatives for our teams.”

These pandemic support initiatives that are open to all their employees include free access to Headspace, a mindfulness app for meditation and mindfulness skills.

Doctor cited, “We also have a well-being group with free counselling sessions via our Employee Assistance program and subsidised Classpass memberships. Globally, our Wellbeing Committee organised a ‘Well-being Week’ to provide opportunities to make new connections and engagements through a series of events.

“We held virtual stretching and mobility sessions and cooking classes to remain connected when remote working was Singapore’s default arrangement. Our employees had a comfortable and fully-equipped work set-up at home and work-from-home care packs. We conducted training sessions for managers to support remote teams and hybrid working.

“When restrictions eased, we extended the initiatives to include offline fun activities such as pot painting, cycling, and spin classes,” she happily recounted.

In the next piece of this four-part series, Doctor will impart her leadership strategy and describe how Deliveroo Singapore is an ideal workplace.

This feature was extracted from Chief of Staff Asia's exclusive interview with Natasha Doctor, Head of People, Deliveroo Singapore. For further coverage please see any of the below links:

Deliveroo and its people-driven service platform

Connectivity at Deliveroo means people over processes

Deliveroo: Nurturing talent and enabling people

Getting to know: Natasha Doctor of Deliveroo Singapore

Gallery: Natasha Doctor, Head of People with Deliveroo Singapore

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