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

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INTERVIEW: The pandemic has changed the way workers do their jobs. Now more than ever, companies respond to workplace challenges with new techniques geared towards a win-win outcome for employees and employers.

Louise Pender, Zalora’s general counsel and chief people officer, describes how the fashion e-commerce platform is setting new best practices and blazes the trail for this new era of work.

She shares that Zalorians, as the company's employees are called, have adapted very well since the onset of the pandemic.

“We have gone through some tough times, but we have found innovations to ensure that we continue our operations amidst widespread restrictions while caring for colleagues in need,” Pender tells Chief of Staff Asia.

Zalora has enforced a deliberate over-emphasis on transparent and frequent two-way communication, culture and engagement activities, and a focus on mental health and well-being at its workplace.

“These have helped create a sense of certainty, connection, and belonging, notwithstanding all of the disturbing things happening in the market and our employees’ personal lives,” she says.

Zalora conducts a comprehensive Future of Work survey to gather feedback on evolving priorities and concerns of its employees, in addition to frequent Town Halls and Q&A sessions, Pender explains.

This allows the company to lean on solid data before making changes or implementing well-being initiatives, ensuring relevant and impactful options for as many people as possible.

“The insights from the survey form the basis of Zalora’s Hybrid Future of the Workplace Strategy, a four-pronged approach outlining our workplace transition into the post-pandemic world. Recognising the diverse home environments of our employees, we launched the Home Workspace Support Policy and Home Workplace Subsidy. These provide flexibility for our employees in choosing the support they need most in transitioning to working from home,” she enumerates.

Zalora has shifted to a full hybrid work mode since trends and studies have shown that employees highly value workplace flexibility.

Pender explains that after implementing a permanent hybrid work policy in 2020, they have learned a lot over the last couple of years operating in this mode, such as the need for in-person connection for engagement, relationships, culture, and mental health.

“We encourage our hybrid employees to go to the office a couple of days a week. However, we also appreciate that some roles can work 100% remotely, so we have developed fully flexible positions that operate equally effectively.

“We will continue to adapt our strategy for the future of work to meet the changing needs of our employees and our ever-evolving world. It means continually reviewing our policies and procedures to keep them relevant to our culture and current events. For now, we are committed to full hybrid work,” she emphasises.

During the pandemic, Zalora’s employees’ mental health and personal well-being also became front of mind as the impacts of isolation and increased home and work pressures collided, Pender says.

She added that employees received free counselling from trained psychologists, additional mental health leave days, and many self-care tools and platforms to remove the sense of isolation.

Don’t miss the next installment in this series, where Pender will speak about Zalora’s best practices in using technology for HR.

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 the below link:

Louise Pender looks beyond Zalora's passion for fashion

Louise Pender balances Zalora’s human and digital connections

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

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