How choice, growth and a global mindset create an amazing place to work

25 Jul 2019 | Business & Innovation, Culture & Careers | by Robin Nierynck

How choice, growth and a global mindset create an amazing place to work

10 questions with Jeri Doris, Chief People Officer at Delivery Hero.
1. Jeri, you’ve been Chief People Officer at Delivery Hero for over 1.5 years. What’s an accomplishment that you’re most proud of?

It has been a crazy 1.5 years. I’ve been more emotionally involved with the journey here than I have been anywhere else, and I think that’s because of two things: one – I have a manager, our CEO, that gives me space to be myself. I think that’s so powerful, because it gives you an opportunity to really bring your whole self to work.

Secondly, I’m really proud of the organisation that we’ve built. When I started in January 2018, people ops* didn’t exist. We had two teams that were doing the best they could with very limited resources. Fast forward a year and a half, and we have a fully fledged department that is contributing to the global people strategy. We’re building a global community. We have a long way to go, but we have a good foundation and great teams. And I’m super proud of that.

2. Delivery Hero is in a phase of hypergrowth. What does that mean for talent acquisition?
Jeri Doris Delivery Hero

“We’re committed to nurturing, growing, and cultivating female leaders, and I think it’s really important that we continue to drive that.”

As a company, we’re growing rapidly, and talent acquisition plays a huge part in that. We’re currently building the team, and at the same time the team is responsible for helping the whole organisation to grow. Talent acquisition is the gatekeeper for everybody that comes into the organisation. We’re looking for the best talent, not only here in Europe, but globally. The team is sometimes given seemingly impossible tasks because we’re growing at a level that is truly the definition of hypergrowth. Trying to maintain a great candidate experience when you’re going through hypergrowth is the goal we’ve tasked them with and sometimes it’s a real challenge, but our team is doing a fantastic job.

3. Why is Berlin a good place for the Delivery Hero headquarters from a people perspective?

I think Berlin is a unique little bubble in Germany. You don’t necessarily need to speak German (which could be good or bad, depending on whether you’d like to learn it or not). I think you can find your community anywhere here. Sometimes when you relocate internationally it’s hard to find your community, and Berlin has a little space for everybody. And, from a business perspective, one of the competitive advantages Germany has is the ability to get visas for qualified candidates, which is crucial for us to attract and retain talent.

4. How does Delivery Hero as a global business ensure global career pathing? What are the opportunities and challenges of this international setup?

Our value proposition to candidates who are globally-minded is massive because you can truly grow your career globally at Delivery Hero. Our people ops department in Berlin is currently working on designing processes and programs within the business to help facilitate opportunities for that. We see that there is talent all over the world and people are really excited about exploring different communities and the brands that we have worldwide.

If you’re globally minded – this is the place for you.

If you’re globally minded – this is the place for you. And that comes with both opportunities and challenges: Every individual has a different perspective. When you have different cultures, different backgrounds, the way you communicate can be misunderstood sometimes, and I think that’s where our values come in. We may not have the same background, we may not have the same language, but our values are our native language.

5. How is Delivery Hero adapting to new ways of working and building the future workplace?

As a company, we are continuously innovating our services for customers – and consumer behaviours are always changing. The same goes for our employees. We need to adapt our workplace to the way that our employees work. When thinking about our workplace strategy, the focus is on choice. It’s all about creating spaces for people to be comfortable, whether that’s here at the office or by providing more opportunities for them to work in other parts of the world.

Jeri Doris at Talabat Dubai

Jeri in Dubai for some women workshops with our local brands Talabat and Otlob

I think the traditional setup of just a cube or a desk is super dated and we need to be as innovative internally when it comes to our workplace as we are externally for our customers. We’ve already started introducing flexible working spaces in our Berlin headquarters and this is definitely something we’ll be expanding in the future.

I anticipate that there will be more of a virtual workspace going forward. There are companies out there that are 100% remote, and they’re big. A lot of resources already exist that enable and promote collaboration and communication. Meeting face to face is great, but I think this is not necessarily needed with all the technology that we have out there.

6. Delivery Hero promotes a diverse and inclusive workplace. What exactly does that look like?

As an organization, if you look at our headquarters alone we truly are multicultural, we have over 80 nationalities represented here. So if you think about it in terms of diversity of backgrounds, we really exceeded expectations with that one. But, creating a diverse and inclusive workplace is more than this, and we’re committed to building a working environment and teams that are representative of our global community.

We need to be as innovative internally when it comes to our workplace as we are externally for our customers.

For example, from a gender perspective, we still have a long way to go, especially within our tech teams. When we think about fostering diversity, gender is one of the areas where we can have a noticeable impact. We want to get to a place where we have equal gender representation within the entire organisation, across different functions, at all levels. And to be honest that’s where we still have a gap: in female leadership. We’re committed to nurturing, growing, and cultivating those female leaders, and I think it’s really important that we continue to drive that.

7. What’s the main challenge your teams are facing at the moment?
Jeri Doris in Dubai with Delivery Hero

The central people ops team connects to our local brands around the globe

Pace. If you look at how we’re growing as a business, it’s hard to create something amazing when you’re moving as fast as we are. But I think that’s actually a really good challenge, because that’s when you have to be innovative in order to keep up with the pace of play. Sometimes you get stuck putting out fires when really you should be looking ahead and thinking strategically. It’s all about finding that balance between long-term focus and executing against our short-term goals.

8. You moved your family from California to Berlin – was that an easy decision?

I think it’s never an easy decision when it affects more than just you. My husband quit his very good job in San Francisco. We moved both kids (and a dog). My son at that time was just 9 months old. When most mothers in Germany would still be on maternity leave I was already back and relocating to start a new job.

But there were two things that made it quite easy: One of them was that I believed Niklas [Östberg, CEO] when he said that his goal is to create a company that his kids will be proud of. And he had also said that Delivery Hero was doing really well from a business perspective, but there was a long way to go on the people side. So I could see where I could step in and really make a difference. I think it was such a unique opportunity – that’s what made it easy. The move was not easy. The relocation was not easy. But the decision to join Delivery Hero was easy.

9. How do you keep a work-life balance?

I’m going to be very clear to every working parent out there: it takes a village. And you’ve got to ask for help. Here are a couple of things that I always tell people: Embrace your chaos. Ask for help. And it’s never going to be perfect.

So often we have this vision of Pinterest and Instagram that we’re working towards – and I believe that comparison is the thief of joy. You have to figure out what perfect looks like for you, and just give yourself permission to fail sometimes. That applies especially for people who are overachievers. For me, it was definitely a transition and I wish people would have told me that a little bit more and would have been a little bit more authentic.

The move was not easy. The relocation was not easy. But the decision to join Delivery Hero was easy.

10. In your opinion, what makes Delivery Hero an outstanding place to work?

This is so cheesy, but I do think it’s the people. We are so unique in terms of what we’re doing – in the sense of how fast we’re growing and how well we’re performing as a business. But the people really are amazing, and with that we are given space to be innovative. These are things that we talk about within our leadership team all the time. I challenge our team to really think outside of the box. And we have the opportunity and the space to do that. Too often work environments are constrained to traditional norms – that’s the opposite of how we operate.

That’s also the feedback that Niklas [Östberg, CEO] gave to me: I want us to continue to get better. I want us to continue to innovate. And I said: My goal is to create an amazing employee experience – and I want it to be the best on the planet. Full stop. And we actually have permission to do that. I think that’s really cool.

* The people operations department at Delivery Hero Berlin HQ, consisting of Global Communications, People Systems, Total Rewards, People Partners, Talent Acquisition, Employee Engagement, Sustainability and CSR, Workplace Strategy, Talent Development and Travel

About the author

Robin Nierynck

Senior Specialist, Global Communications
Delivery Hero