Article: How foodpanda Singapore fosters a culture of belonging


How foodpanda Singapore fosters a culture of belonging

How the food and grocery delivery company promotes a culture of belonging through DEI initiatives, aiming for an inclusive workplace where every employee feels valued.
How foodpanda Singapore fosters a culture of belonging

Keeping employees engaged and happy is a top priority for businesses today. Over half of Singapore's workforce reports not feeling a sense of belonging, with job-hopping a common trend. This highlights a crucial factor – belonging is key to workplace satisfaction. Forward-thinking companies are recognising this gap and reassessing their approach to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI).

Sukhdeep Singh, Director of People at foodpanda Singapore, emphasises the importance of a comprehensive DEI strategy that goes beyond superficial initiatives and integrates inclusivity into the very fabric of its operations.

The business imperative of belonging

"DEI isn't just the right thing to do, it's a smart business decision for us," says Singh. Research confirms this – employees who feel like they belong are three times more likely to stay.

However, fostering belonging is no simple task, especially in a diverse workforce. The food delivery company’s approach addresses several touchpoints throughout an employee's journey with the company, Singh says.

To prevent bias, the company adheres to TAFEP guidelines in their hiring practices. Application forms exclude fields like age, gender, and religion, focusing solely on skills and potential.

"We focus on skills and potential," Singh explained. "Our job descriptions are carefully crafted to be inclusive, and our interview processes are designed to evaluate candidates objectively."  

Cultivating leadership diversity

Singh recognises that diverse hiring is just the first step. True inclusion requires a balanced leadership team. While they currently have 31% women in management (a figure Singh acknowledges needs improvement), they're actively working to close the gender gap.

Beyond leadership, "panda Communities" serve as Employee Resource Groups (ERGs), offering safe spaces for connection and advocacy. These groups extend to well-being, with "Zen pandas" promoting mental wellness, and "eco heroes" championing sustainability initiatives

foodpanda's workspace includes prayer rooms, nursing facilities, and accessibility features like braille signage in meeting rooms and lowered light switches.

"We believe that an inclusive workplace isn't just about policies," Singh stated. "It's about creating a physical environment where everyone can navigate and work comfortably."  

Addressing unconscious bias 

Singh acknowledges the potential for unconscious bias to impact decision-making and they address it through regular manager training to identify and mitigate its influence.

"We've standardised our processes for recruitment, performance evaluation, and promotion," Singh explained. "This helps ensure fairness and reduces the potential for bias to influence important decisions."

The company also conducts regular reviews of its policies and practices to identify potential areas for improvement.  Their benefits package includes extended maternity leave, fertility leave, marriage leave, fostering leave, family care leave, and volunteering leave.

The company supports employee mental health with access to Headspace for meditation, Intellect for self-care and counselling, and a 24/7 Employee Assistance Programme.

Measuring impact and looking ahead

To assess the impact of its DEI initiatives, Singh says the company tracks various metrics, including workforce demographics, employee engagement, internal mobility, and compensation data to identify and address any pay gaps.

Looking to the future, Singh outlines DEI priorities such as developing internal talent through training, increasing women's representation in leadership, and enhancing benefits for a diverse workforce.

Singh acknowledges that creating a truly inclusive workplace is an ongoing journey. "We're constantly learning and adapting," he said. "The workplace is evolving rapidly, along with the needs and expectations of our employees. Our goal is to remain responsive and continually enhance our DEI efforts."

Indeed, as the global conversation on workplace equity and inclusion evolves, success hinges on their long-term impact on employee satisfaction, retention, innovation, and overall company performance.

Singh concludes, "Our DEI journey isn't about reaching a destination; it's about continually evolving to meet the needs of our diverse workforce and the communities we serve."

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Topics: Diversity, #DEIB

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