We are excited to share the latest insights following a recent event hosted by Grab; Hear Grab’s People Journey – From Asia’s Leading Tech Start-up to International Market Leading Business
Frazer Jones recently welcomed a number of Senior HR and Talent Acquisition stakeholders across industry, for an engaging and thought provoking round table & breakfast discussion hosted by Grab’s very own Chin Yin Ong, Head of People.
Chin Yin did a supreme job in sharing Grab’s humbling journey from a start-up to what is almost 6 years on one of South-East Asia’s fastest growing and largest unicorn.
Today, Grab is an everyday app for daily essentials, enabling people to commute, eat and deliver packages – and pay with one mobile wallet. This year, Grab started Grab Financial, a fintech platform to create new economic opportunities for millions of unbanked and underbanked consumers, drivers and small businesses across Southeast Asia. To date, over 6 million micro-entrepreneurs across the region have been enabled by Grab’s platform.
How did it all begin?…
Like all best ideas – legend has it, the two Co-founders met at Harvard Business School and worked on a business idea that can solve a real problem, do good and make money at the same time. This was Grab’s inception (what was then MyTeksi). The rest is history.
We would love to share with you just some of the people insights and lessons learned from aggressively scaling up a business that now serves 209 cities across eight countries, with over 95 million mobile downloads across the region.
Frazer Jones took a privileged peek ‘under the hood’ at Grab’s people and talent strategy, insight into life as a ‘Grabber’, how they nurture, attract and retain talent. Chin Yin is responsible for helping to shape Grab into a positive and personalised place to do purposeful work, learn and grow.
So what does it take to be ‘Grabber’?…
1. Hiring the ‘RIGHT’ people
Start-ups frequently struggle to compete for talent with big known, stable brands with greater budgets to attract the best and the brightest in the workforce. Having the right people makes all the difference. This is why Chin Yin insists on, ‘turning down a talented potential hire who is not a good fit for the company’s culture’ EVEN when the leaders feel they will be an asset to the business in all other aspects.
2. The ‘4Hs’: Grab’s Immune System
Chin Yin referred to the ‘4Hs’ on which Grab was built upon and is part of their Leadership DNA or ‘immune system’. These are; Honour, Humility, Hunger and Heart. One needs the passion to persevere on amidst challenges, the honour to be ethical, the heart to do things for the right reason, and the humility to always be respectful and learn every day.
3. Underlying Principles
Grab Leaders has been measured and hired against these values and also the 7 core underlying principles which all Grabbers are measured against;
- ‘Intellectual Rigour’
- ‘Outserve our Customers’
- ‘Grab Before Self’
- ‘Performance & Culture’
- ‘Disrupt or be Disrupted’
- ‘Grab Friends Forever’
- ‘Your Problem is My Problem’
One question echoed around the room was; ‘How can you scale up a business at that size and pace in a talent short market?
4. ‘Talent Magnets’
A genius concept that once explained to us, made complete sense. This is simply to hire the top talent that lives and breathes Grab’s vision and mission, and they in turn will help attract the right talent in the layers below. In short, hire ‘top down’.
5. “How do you hire for talent that you don’t even know you need yet?..”
Chin Yin saw this as pretty straight forward and explained that if you have the brightest and the best and they are aligned to the 4H’s; they can work out the rest. People today won’t have vertical careers, they will have “jungle gym” careers, they will learn new skills and adapt according to business growth and their own development needs and interests.
6. Leaving a Lasting Legacy
Chin Yin passionately explained to us that one of the reasons behind Grab’s successes story has been the impact to the wider community in which they serve. This is something Chin Yin and the other Grabbers are enormously proud of and one of the top reasons for one of their many drivers have joined them. For example, as of June last year, the platform has enabled:
- Improvements in driver incomes; Grab driver-partners earn on average 32% more on an hour basis compared to the average worker wages across all of Grab’s markets
- Improvements in Transport Safety; 5 x Lower traffic accident rate on Grab rides vs regional average
7. Learning from mistakes… it doesn’t need to be perfect!
Mistakes happen. Let’s all move on. Grab didn’t have the luxury of time for perfection, Chin Yin openly explained ‘it’s far from perfect!’, in order to get things done we have to allow people to start somewhere, if we strived for perfection we wouldn’t get to be in the position we are today. We just keep going and evolving to better and better versions every day.
A snapshot of feedback from the session;
“It was inspiring to hear a success story from a “made in” Asia company. I enjoyed hearing how their focus on experimentation has led to innovation and not being afraid of failure”
“Thanks for this great event, it was very well organised and of course an amazing venue! The session was especially interesting to have viewpoints/sharing from HR professionals from various industry. Some great insights and take-aways!”
“Thank you Chin Yin et al, as well as the awesome team at Frazer Jones! The pearls of wisdom shared has been interesting and insightful. Many thanks to the team for this thoughtful and well-organized event. I certainly look forward to the next thought-provoking session!”
“Great crowd, the mix of TA and HR practitioners was well balanced. I liked the informal approach to the presentation and lots of room for Q&A in between. The overall atmosphere was good as people started to share their experiences.”
Key Takeaways for our HR Network;
- An understanding of the people strategy and cultural impacts the leadership teams have on a start-up business undergoing major growth
- Insight into a major success story for a ‘home-grown’ tech start-up; scaling up without compromising on quality
- Practical tips and insights into retaining talent
We hope you enjoyed reading this, please contact us to hear about future events we have planned throughout the year. We would also like to express our appreciation to Chin Yin and our HR network for making this truly insightful event and look forward to the next one!