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Suite Talk: How Deliveroo built its Hong Kong workforce from scratch

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Human Resources magazine’s exclusive interview with Brian Lo, general manager, Deliveroo Hong Kong and Taiwan.

You established the Hong Kong office in 2015 and now have over 100 employees. What were some of the challenges in recruiting so many new staff?

Back in the early stages, brand awareness was a key challenge when we tried to recruit. People hesitated when they were not familiar about the brand and what we did.

However, we have successfully increased our brand awareness in a short period of time by going directly to consumers. For example with giveaways, festive events – such as the Dragon Boat carnival in Stanley – and corporate events with HR and office managers.

We’ve always strived to be an innovative workplace, which in turn, means that our employees are all advocates for our company as a great place to work – leading to more job applications through word of mouth.

Deliveroo’s ongoing CSR efforts have included a Chinese New Year event for the elderly and free first-aid training for over 150 riders.

How do you encourage a workplace environment that’s creative, flexible and agile?

Our space at WeWork encourages team collaboration and stimulates creativity during brainstorms. With a variety of areas available, from flexible private offices to common amenities and meeting rooms, we can get down to business and get new ideas up and running quickly.

The shared space at hot-desks encourages conversation and interaction. The teams are free to work in any booth, pantry areas as well as the lounge floor, rather than at their fixed desk, to encourage creativity. There is also a phone booth if they want privacy.

Can you elaborate on Deliveroo’s recently implemented get-paid-anywhere-any-time policy for its riders?

“Cash out” is a global initiative by our company. Riders can receive their fees as early as the same day should they wish to. The new feature will help riders manage their finances, to access money in an emergency or simply if they need instant money.

What benefits does your company deliver to workers?

Benefits to riders: In Hong Kong, all riders will be automatically enrolled onto a personal accident and income protection and public liability policy from a leading insurance provider, Marsh – whether on bicycles, scooters or making deliveries by foot.

This will apply to all riders while they are online and logged into the Deliveroo app, including up to one hour after logging off.

We have also joined hands with the Hong Kong Red Cross to provide first-aid training for our riders. It’s part of a global initiative to equip our riders with life-saving skills and the confidence of dealing with emergencies.

Benefits to (office-based) employees: We provide wellness programmes such as a gym allowance for our employees to encourage them to enjoy a positive work-life balance. Though Teal Talks, different speakers are invited to talk about a range of topics such as entrepreneurship and personal finance, to help the team become well-rounded professionals.

Millennial employees are constantly seeking new challenges. We encourage employees to take on tasks beyond their traditional roles. For example, when we launched in Taiwan last year, we sent some Hong Kong team members to help build the business there.

What advice can you give to HR professionals with C-suite ambitions?

It’s important to be involved and be part of the team. You have to be approachable and available for the team – teammates can reach out to me if they want. I have coffee chats with the team regularly to understand their needs.

Don’t isolate yourself as an HR professional. We must be part of the team to understand what employees do, what their challenges are and how we can help.



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