Ever wondered what it’s like to work for one of Southeast Asia’s hottest tech startups?
In less than seven years, Grab has grown from being a ride-hailing platform to an Everyday Super App, offering a variety of services like food and grocery deliveries, financial services, mobile payments and more. But how exactly did we grow so quickly? Grab’s Head of People, Ong Chin Yin, notes, “We focused on building great teams.” We sat down and asked her what it takes to not only be hired at Grab, but to thrive in our hyper-challenging environment.
“No Brilliant Jerks”
The choice can sometimes be akin to being caught between a rock and a hard place, but we are clear that what one does is just as important as how he or she does it. In hiring leaders, we are guided by the 4Hs: Heart, Honour, Humility, and Hunger. These form the 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. Our CEO and Co-Founder, Anthony Tan, personally interviews some of our top leadership hires and often speaks with them on the weekends.
“I have received calls from him before – and it shows how concerned 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 say, “No” to such candidates (who lack humility).”
As a company that puts customers first, including internal customers, being humble is important. In short, we must say, “No” to brilliant jerks.
“We are serious about feedback.”
Within the organisation, what keeps us on our toes is feedback. Grab is a place where both “What You Do” and “How You Do It” are very real considerations.
“When it comes to appraising performance, the weight we place on performance and culture is 50-50. Not only do we look at one’s deliverable metrics, but we also look at how he or she has gone about achieving them.”
The feedback that one receives from his or her teammates, stakeholders and other collaborators matter too; it speaks volumes on the way they work with others.
In turn, we must see feedback as a gift. We have started encouraging Grabbers to go out of their way to ask for personal feedback, instead of waiting for someone to give it. It allows for greater autonomy and provides a safer space to receive both compliments and critique. We also want all our Grabbers to reflect on the 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 diversity. With over 40 different nationalities in our organisation, our pool of Grabbers is incredibly diverse. People at Grab represent a whole range of ages, cultures, backgrounds, experiences and so on. They have also worked at a variety of organisations both locally and worldwide too.
“To ensure we remain inclusive, we must filter out biases, especially when we hire. We need to look past race, gender and all aspects unrelated to the job, and seek out only skills, curiosity, and intellectual rigour.”
Through in-house training and workshops, we want to help our hiring managers understand and manage their unconscious biases better.
“We are not in a hurry, but we will not hesitate to hire the right talent.”
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 mission 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 also very 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 make real differences in the lives of many people, but it is also crazy hard work. We don’t want people to just get in the door, we are looking for authentic people who can thrive in Grab.”
If you think you’ve got the hunger and resilience to make a difference, and are aligned with Grab’s values, we welcome you to join us!