By Pamela Chan
It was the afternoon of January 23, 2018 when a 6.1 magnitude earthquake struck the city of Jakarta. The Dynamic Culture (DC) team, headed by Sam Diah, had never encountered such an emergency. To make matters worse, Sam was just getting off a plane in Singapore. “We had teams in DC, but no leaders just yet,” she explained. After half an hour of spewing directions over the phone, everyone in the Jakarta office was evacuated to safety.
This situation illustrates the crux of the Dynamic Culture team: The guardians of our GoTroop’s safety and well-being. Since then, the DC team has grown both in size and importance within Gojek. From establishing workplace policies, to orchestrating over 40 company-wide events a year, the DC team’s responsibilities run far and wide. In this blog, we take a closer look at the inner workings of the DC, one of Gojek’s multifaceted teams.
🤝 A team by the people, for the people
During Gojek’s first five years, Sam managed the company’s building maintenance, employee events, project & leasing agreements, travel documentations, and SOPs, to name a few.
“Nadiem said, since the company was growing quickly, we needed to set up a strong People Team to manage and maintain our employees,” she explains. Nadiem suggested since Sam enjoys taking care of people, she should take on the role. “This is how the DC team was born.”
Unlike a typical human resource group, the DC team’s overarching purpose is to promote an inclusive, progressive, and adaptable culture for GoTroops — One that’s embedded within the fabric of Gojek’s values, history, operations, and trajectory. Though this team of around 42 members is based predominantly in Indonesia, everyone shares a collective goal of safeguarding our GoTroops’ physical and psychological wellness. DC oversees all things related to our GoTroops — from the activities we do, the environment we work in, to the policies we follow.
👊 As a People Team, you’ll have to roll with the punches
Ironically, despite the enormity of work the team oversees, one of their most incessant hurdles is fielding the misconception of their team being all fun and games. “We get questions about openings in the team every day, because people don’t realise how much work actually goes into everything we do,” Sam says.
For instance, Julianty (Julie) Wijaya (the Head of Core Workplace Strategy & Policy) and her team of three had to write, develop, polish and execute nearly sixteen workplace policies and eleven SOPs from scratch in under a year (and are currently working developing nine more SOPs simultaneously). 🤯
In addition to inviting food vendors for the office’s GoCafe, the team thinks down to the minute factors of every day lunch break — from waiting for the elevator to walking to the restaurant and back. More than simply providing an alternating selection of food choices in-house, the team constantly ensures our GoTroops’ workplace routine is kept as efficient as possible.
Additionally, from inception to execution, a single calendar event can take up to five months to plan. DC team’s average to-do list consists of managing vendors, securing the date and location, inviting entertainment and hosts, coordinating with the logistics and finance teams, providing ample food and beverage, and ensuring the safety of all attendees.
Jessy Rumamby, the team’s Manager of Events & Activities, explains how the initial brainstorming session can take up to a month to close: “We need the time to finalise our event concept and speak to vendors and other stakeholders to see if our ideas are even feasible.”
🂭 Work smart with the cards you’ve been dealt
Another recurring obstacle the team faces is the dearth of data, and the subsequent pressure about the necessity of their events & projects. The team finds it difficult to “keep up with the company” since they aren’t a data-centric team, per se.
While events and projects undoubtedly boost employee engagement and satisfaction, these factors aren’t as easily measurable as user adoption rates, for instance. One of the core necessities enshrined in Gojek’s value system is to think like a scientist, to always have data to back up actions.
As the team builds an overarching solution to this matter, they gather numbers from employee attendance and registrations, surveys on employee satisfaction on their events and projects, and engagement rates on online chat forums.
Though some may think collaborations with Coca Cola and Starbucks, or having a “Battle of the Divisions” contest is expendable, every one of DC team’s events have been attended by over 80% of GoTroops each time, with a constant 90% or above satisfaction rate.
Fun fact: The name “GoTroops” was voted by employees during one such event in 2016.
“A collective name heightens our sense of community, and boosts employee synergy and morale,” Jessy says.
These team bonding activities remind GoTroops that we aren’t just colleagues who share a common professional goal, but fellow human beings who share the same personal needs of companionship, understanding, and fun. Taking time to work on the latter only bolsters the former. The DC team ensures this balance.
💪 Piloting Gojek through turbulent winds
Arguably the greatest challenge has been the COVID-19 pandemic; it has brought with it unpredictable change and the need to be highly adaptable. The DC team, which draws energy from community engagement and face-to-face interactions, has been hit hard.
However, true to its “dynamic” title, the team has spearheaded the shift to a fully remote set up, adapting employee events to an online format.
The team has set up weekly Zoom workouts — from Zumba, Boxing, Barre and Yoga. There are bi-monthly GoTalk Fridays where both internal and external guest speakers share their expertise on a variety of topics, virtual concerts and milestone celebrations.
These online events haven’t been easier to plan than their offline counterparts. “People assume planning online events just means pressing enter, because they don’t see any of the back work,” Sam says. Keeping the GoTroops engaged, educated, and entertained from afar has been no easy feat. A new field of technical issues like network connection, Slido set up, time zone differences, audio and visual components are new aspects the team had to quickly familiarise with.
The fruit of the DC team’s labor comes in how well these online events have been received by GoTroops. The recent GoTalk Friday with Chief of GoPay, Hans Patuwo, was attended by over 300 participants — the highest attendance for the initiative yet. The 10th Anniversary livestream saw hundreds of live chat comments from start to end by over 3500 GoTroops. Ironically, the online medium has actually brought GoTroops from all countries together more so than any in-person event ever has.
⬅️➡️ Sometimes, to part is for the best
Reflective yet again of the “dynamic” part of the name, as of April 1, 2021, the DC team announced a split of their functions into Workplace Management (under Finance) and Community Experience (under People & Culture).
The split enables both sub-functions to have a more distinct purpose and direction. “Our Workplace Management function focuses on our work environment and facilities, not events and experiences,” Julie explains, “We needed more governance relating to our third party vendors, AB&C policies, code of conduct, and various premises we manage. We needed to break away from employee-related responsibilities and give our undivided attention to this vertical.”
Especially for a fast-scaling company like Gojek, a cohesive foundation for workplace management and community experience are vital for the years to come. This separation underscores the importance of constant inward reflection of a team’s structure and responsibilities, and the need to remain flexible to these changes over time.
🚀 Full speed ahead
As Gojek continues to scale, readjust, and evolve, the Workplace Management and Community Experience functions will continue to play a vital role in preserving Gojek’s history and culture, and maintaining a conducive work environment for our GoTroops to call home.
There are a trove of new projects both teams are cooking up. The Community Experience team is switching ID cards to QR codes, launching a community engagement site called OneGojek, and are even in the works of creating an electronic coffee table book of the history of Gojek.
The Workplace Management team is busy laying out the foundation for the Future Gojek Workplace project — a plan for how the Gojek workplaces will look once COVID-19 becomes a non-issue, or when most GoTroops have been vaccinated. As of now, 68% of GoTroops prefer a hybrid, work-from-office and work-from-home system. “Who knows though. Maybe by the time we finalise this plan, people will want to return to the office or work from home full time,” says Julie.
As Julie alluded to, we can’t tell what the future has in store. But given the dynamism of life at Gojek, and the changing landscapes of our global society, we’re sure glad we have this new evolution of the DC team to pilot the way for us all.
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