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Louise Pender balances Zalora’s human and digital connections

Updated: Dec 1, 2022

INTERVIEW: As a digital business, Zalora’s simple way of keeping the “human” in Human Resources is by aligning with its People vision, mission, and values that its People and Culture Team stands firmly by to create a happy and vibrant workplace.

Louise Pender, the fashion platform’s general counsel and chief people officer, speaks about how Zalora utilises technology to serve its internal customers, also known as Zalorians.

“We are all working to make Zalora the first choice for talent in our markets, and winning the hearts and minds of Zalorians is our priority. We test all our initiatives against our team values to ensure we put our people first. We actively foster diversity, inclusion, and belonging, deliver an outstanding end-to-end employee experience and remain endlessly curious,” Pender says.

Zalora’s embracing of technology enhances its employees' experience through multiple channels for a clear line of communication across the organisation, exemplified by the monthly Town Halls, newsletters called Limitless @ Zalora, and weekly emails from the CEO, Gunjan Soni.

“We carefully curate Z-Talks, our training, and knowledge-sharing sessions, to cater to employees’ interests and life needs. It has grown popular, with as many as 500 participants in each session. People and product management are some of the topics covered in these sessions, as well as financial planning, stress management, and self-motivation. These sessions foster a connection with Zalora and enhance employees’ skills,” she cites.

“In short, our team’s DNA centres around providing a human touch, evident in how we cared for our employees during the pandemic and how we have carried that forward into the post-pandemic environment with the progressive hybrid work and well-being initiatives.”

The HR leader joined Zalora as general counsel at the beginning of 2016. However, she says that her passion has always been for people and culture. Her shot at turning her passion into a profession came after she led Zalora’s Covid Task Force in 2020.

“I raised my hand to take on the vacant Chief People Officer role. I care deeply about Zalora and creating a high-performance environment. I had a clear vision about how I would approach the role in a very people-centric way. So, I now wear both hats – Chief People Officer and General Counsel. It is a little bit unusual! But I get the best of both types of roles,” she enthuses.

Pender’s focus then was managing the employees through the pandemic, keeping them safe while maintaining productivity and engagement. Presently, she prioritises fostering a people environment that would take Zalora to the next level of growth and performance while maintaining its unique culture of connecting and caring for its people.

What does she love about her job?

“The obvious answer is the people and the culture at Zalora. Beyond that, it’s the level of opportunity and breadth of experience at Zalora. Not every General Counsel gets the opportunity to explore an interest in HR. But this is part of our company culture – strong performers receive opportunities through promotion or other professional interests. Our geographic footprint and complex operating model provide good venues for our people to develop. I’ve seen this happen time and time again. I think it's exciting!”

This feature was extracted from Chief of Staff Asia's exclusive interview with Louise Pender, Zalora's general counsel and chief people officer. For further coverage please see any of the below links:

Louise Pender looks beyond Zalora's passion for fashion

Louise Pender readies Zalora for a new era of a hybrid future

Getting to know: Louise Pender, Zalora's chief people officer

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