Louise Pender looks beyond Zalora's passion for fashion

Updated: 2 days ago

INTERVIEW: You’re a true-blue Asian online fashionista shopper if you have a Zalora account.

Louise Pender (left) celebrates International Women's Day with her team of "Zalorians"

Giving access to a vast selection of 500 top international and local names in fashion, Zalora started its business in early 2012. Its presence in Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, Brunei, the Philippines, Hong Kong, and Taiwan is a testament to its enduring innovation in online shopping. Customers can browse through thousands of products with a 30-day free return policy, buy-now-pay-later scheme, quick deliveries, free delivery for ceiling purchases, and various payment methods.

But what about the quality of its employees' life at work?

Chief of Staff Asia talks to Zalora’s general counsel and chief people officer, Louise Pender (pictured above, left), to find out about the work culture of the fashion-focused e-commerce platform. We discover that, indeed, what happens internally transcends beyond the delivery of customer satisfaction.

Read about all these and more in this exclusive interview.

Becoming a Zalorian

The company fashionably calls its employees Zalorians, who must possess certain qualities to align with the platform’s thrusts on diversity.

“The common trait we look for is alignment with Zalora’s unique culture and values, which sets it apart from other companies,” Pender says.

“Zalora takes so much pride in having a ‘limitless’ mindset, full of individuals bringing a mix of art and science to make us rationally creative. We care for each other and work as a team to exceed expectations regardless of the role and professional background.”

Zalora copes with the ever-growing demand in online retail by being intentional in investing in its talent, the company’s main priority, according to Pender. In terms of impact, this growing business demand did not spare talent acquisition.

Pender believes that putting their employees first has set Zalora well for the future.

“We are a growing company. We are always looking for top talent to help us meet our audacious goals, and we’ve been very strategic about creating and nurturing a culture that attracts the best talent. So, as we grow, we will continue to balance the right mix of experienced and new talent across all segments.”

Part of this goal of having the right mix involves having a balance of new and senior workforce members. In line with this, Zalora has established performance-measuring steps focusing on the employee-Zalora connection and creating a true sense of belonging.

“We live, eat, and breathe our People Mission Statement, which is to create a happy and vibrant workplace by delivering an outstanding end-to-end employee experience. Attracting and retaining top talent through compensation and other direct benefits is not enough. We should create an excellent working environment so that our people may develop a strong connection with Zalora and enhance their desire to see the team’s success,” Pender explains.

To measure its employees’ engagement and performance, Zalora uses several standard tools, she said.

However, she quickly pointed out that a happy and vibrant workplace relies on the art and science of listening to people frequently and responding to their changing needs. The pandemic has also taught them not to be complacent about this.

“What works today may not necessarily work tomorrow,” Pender continues.

The conversation moved on to quiet quitting. As an HR leader, Pender admits that recently she has been reflecting so much on the concept.

“It’s a new phrase but an old phenomenon. It’s just been more hidden in the new environment we all operate. Disengagement doesn’t occur overnight. It usually stems from a prolonged period of dissatisfaction for many reasons, and it is often too late by the time it is recognised,” Pender comments.

Coming up: Zalora’s people leader will delve more into the new era of work.

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

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