Ever wondered what it’s like to work for one of Southeast Asia’s hottest startups?
In less than seven years, Grab has grown from being just focused on ride-hailing to branching out into food and grocery delivery, financial services, mobile payments and more. How did we grow so quickly? We focused on building great teams. Ong Chin Yin, Grab’s Head of People, tells us more about what it takes to be hired and to thrive at Grab.
“No Brilliant Jerks”
The choice can sometimes be akin to being caught between a rock and a hard place but we want to make it clear that what you do is as important as how you do it. In hiring leaders, we are guided by the 4Hs: Heart, Honour, Humility and Hunger. These form our Leadership DNA that drives us not only in our dealings with customers and external parties, but also helps us align on how we can continuously improve and create a positive experience for all.
In the highly competitive landscape that we operate in, the more elusive “H” is Humility. Anthony personally interviews some of our top leadership hires and often, he might speak with them on weekends. I have received calls from him before – and it shows how perplexed he is for him to ring me on a weekend – to talk about a candidate’s humility, or lack of. And these candidates have what we refer to as blue-blooded CVs. They are super talented and experienced, and we want them. But we often come to the same conclusion – that technical or business performance does not trump values so we do say no to such candidates who do not have humility. As a company that puts customers first, including internal customers, being humble is important. We must say no to brilliant jerks.
“We are serious about feedback.”
Within the organisation, what keep us on our toes is feedback. Grab is a place where “what you do” and “how you do it” becomes real. When it comes to appraising performance, the weightage of performance and culture is 50-50. We not only look at the metrics that someone has delivered but also how he or she has gone about doing it. We look at the feedback that the person receives from his teammates, stakeholders and other people he or she collaborated with. These matter too.
We must see feedback as a gift. Therefore, we have started encouraging Grabbers to ASK for feedback in order to receive it. It brings more autonomy and provides a safer space to receive the feedback. We also want all Grabbers to reflect on our intent of giving feedback – which at Grab, is to build each other up – before we share it.
“Inclusivity is about being partially blind.”
One of our key strengths is our diversity. With over 40 nationalities in our organisation, we have huge diversity at Grab. Our people are of different ages, have different cultures, backgrounds, experiences and so on. They have worked at a variety of organisations before and worldwide too.
To ensure we remain inclusive, we must filter out biasness, especially when we hire. We need to be a little blind to race, gender and all the things unrelated to the job, and have sight only for skills, curiosity and intellectual rigour. We are helping our hiring managers understand and manage their unconscious bias through in-house training and workshops.
“We are not in a hurry but we will pounce on the right talent.”
So, while we have many exciting opportunities waiting to be taken up, we caution against hiring hastily. We are focused on identifying and recruiting talent who not only have the skill sets that will contribute to Grab’s growth but also believe in our shared mission of driving Southeast Asia forward. Our purpose to enhance mobility – be it physically via our transportation suite of services, socially or financially – for the people of this region is very important to us.
At the hiring stage, it is important to manage candidate expectations realistically. We must be honest about how it is like to work at Grab – it’s intellectually rigorous, ultra-dynamic and we do make a real difference in the lives of many people, but its also crazy hard work. We don’t want people to just get in the door, we are really looking for people who can be authentic and thrive in Grab. If you are aligned with our values AND hungry, proactive and have a large dose of resilience, we want you!