World wide workplace: one office, 70+ nationalities, a multitude of stories (Part III) 21 May 2019

by Robin Nierynck

World wide workplace: one office, 70+ nationalities, a multitude of stories (Part III)


If you missed Part I and Part II of our world wide workplace series, be sure to have a read and find out more about what gives our Heroes that ‘looking forward to Monday’ feeling, and what has been dubbed as Delivery Hero’s “weirdest starting day ever.”

At Delivery Hero, we celebrate our differences and unite in shared experiences. With over 70 nationalities in our Berlin HQ alone, our international workplace is a great strength when it comes to developing products and solutions that work for everyone.

We caught up with our Heroes from all corners of the world, and talked about their backgrounds, experiences and observations. Some of their answers might surprise you!

Selcan Ünal

As a Berlin native with Turkish roots, Selcan has found a community at Delivery Hero to share in different cultures. As a Global Risk Manager, she travels to our brands around the world to ensure timely risk response.

Selcan, Global Risk Manager at Delivery Hero

Selcan, Global Risk Manager at Delivery Hero

Where are you from?
I was born and raised in Berlin, but my background is Turkish. I would consider myself an Ur-Berliner!

What languages do you speak?
German, Turkish, English (I forgot my French skills…).

What do you do at Delivery Hero?
I’m the Global Risk Manager. I identify financial, compliance, operational and strategic risks globally. This means I’m in touch with leaders in our central HQ and our brands around the world, and I travel a lot.
The first week I started, I went to Uruguay, and since then I’ve visited countries in Europe, Asia and North Africa and more to come.

How long have you been at Delivery Hero?
Since October 2018. I was impressed by the amazing culture, you notice it as soon as you walk in. Working culture is so important – you spend more time at work with your colleagues than with your family, so you need to love going to work. I think this is what you feel when you enter the building.

What’s your favourite German food?
I love Schnitzel with red cabbage, mashed potatoes and brown sauce. At home we call it ‘Lieblingsessen.’ When my mother asks me what I want to eat and I say ‘Lieblingsessen’ everyone knows what I mean.
In terms of Turkish food, my mother makes the best wine leaves with meat, rice and yoghurt.

What do you love about Berlin?
You can be as “crazy” or “normal” as you want. It doesn’t matter:  Berlin is a place to be free.
Also, the food is 24/7. I can get a fresh döner whenever I want. There’s such a variety of cuisines to choose from in Berlin – and I love food.

Working culture is so important – you spend more time at work with your colleagues than with your family, so you need to love going to work.

Selcan

…and what don’t you love?
People can seem very negative or stressed in Berlin. It’s the classic Berliner Schnauze (rude Berliner)… For example, once I was in Munich walking on the bicycle lane and a cyclist came up to me and very nicely asked me to step aside – that was very confusing! In Berlin they would just shout at you.

What’s your favourite place in Berlin and why?
I love Kottbusser Tor. We used to call it little Istanbul, because lots of Turkish people live there, it’s the best place to get Turkish food.
I also love sitting at Engelbecken by the canal, having a coffee and watching the swans go by.

How would you describe the company culture at Delivery Hero?
For me, at Delivery Hero you can be yourself. No matter where you come from, no matter what your preference or religion is. I love that we celebrate diversity instead of judging people. This isn’t the case in all companies. Here, I feel comfortable being myself.

Do you feel like there are opportunities to share your culture at Delivery Hero?
All the [cultural] activities we have here have brought me even closer to my own culture. I have found a space to come together with Turkish people from across the company and share experiences, languages and cultures. I always wanted to learn Arabic, so maybe I can find someone for language exchange here too.

Azhagappan Sivaraman

Azhagappan moved to Berlin in May 2018 and just joined Delivery Hero as a Systems Engineer in the Logistics-Infra team. He works on maintaining Cloud infrastructure for the Logistics Tech Stack.

Gappan, Systems Engineer at Delivery Hero

Gappan, Systems Engineer at Delivery Hero

Where are you from?
From the southeastern coast of India.

Why did you move to Berlin?
I wanted to move out of my comfort zone and also travel around Europe at a leisurely pace!

What languages do you speak?
English/Tamil/Telugu/Hindi. German… in progress!

How long have you been at Delivery Hero?
Less than a month.

What’s your favourite food from back home?
Too many to choose from. But if I had to choose one thing, it would be “Masala Dosa” (a savory potato stuffed crepe).

What’s your favorite German food?
Schnitzel.

What do you love about Berlin?
The city has a very distinct aura and it kind of grows within you. It has been over a year and I guess I have barely scratched the surface of understanding the city. It is definitely an amazing place to live.

…and what don’t you love?
There isn’t much to be honest. The only thing that I can think of is that there aren’t many great Indian places to eat.

It has been over a year and I guess I have barely scratched the surface of understanding the city.

Azhagappan

What’s your favourite place in Berlin and why?
I always enjoy sitting near the Berliner Dom and Museum Island at night. Also Mauerpark on Sunday evenings, there is a flea market, and a bunch of local artists come and perform.

What’s the biggest difference compared to where you grew up?
The amount of beautiful public spaces around the city and the fact that people prefer to use cash over digital transactions.

Do you feel like there are opportunities to share your culture at Delivery Hero?
Yes. There are people from different cultural backgrounds and I believe that diversity does bring a different perspective on how you view things. People have been very welcoming so far.

What is a unique tradition/custom from your country or origin that your co-workers just don’t get?
India is way too complex to actually point out one tradition or custom. Because people from different parts of India are culturally and linguistically so different from each other.
But something that struck me over the last year would be the “Head Nodding” (which I think is prevalent mostly in southern India). Put simply, we nod differently. It took me a while to get over that!

Joanna Stock

Joanna is a Senior Recruiter and is responsible for executive hiring for Delivery Hero and all our brands around the world. She moved to Berlin in February 2017 after a life changing New Year’s Eve party…

Joanna, Senior Recruiter at Delivery Hero

Joanna, Senior Recruiter at Delivery Hero

Where are you from?
I’m from London, UK.

Why did you move to Berlin?
I was looking for a life changing experience, to move out of my comfort zone in London. While searching for the new challenge I was on holiday in Berlin and I met a number of foodora employees at a New Year’s Eve party, and I just fell in love with the people. The next day I applied to work at foodora! Two months later I moved.

What languages do you speak?
English, I can read Hebrew and I’m learning German at Delivery Hero.

What’s your favourite food from back home (explain if needed)?
A traditional British Sunday roast! It has to be beef – one of the pink bits from the middle – with amazing gravy and roast potatoes. And a good glass of full bodied red wine.

What do you love about Berlin?
What I love about Berlin is that you feel like you’re part of something that is always changing.

Because of its history there is so much creativity, I feel like I’m contributing to something great. I think that’s one of the reasons we all love being at Delivery Hero and working in a startup environment is because there’s that feeling of being part of a journey.

…and what don’t you love?
You never know if you’re going to get a summer! One year it’s great, the other you just get rain.  That and the airports – you can’t fly direct to most places from Berlin at the moment.

What’s your favourite place in Berlin and why?
The parks. I like to sit by the spree in Mitte and watch the boats go by and have a picnic in the grass. It’s great that we have Monbijou park right next to the office, so in the Summer I can sit outside on my lunch break.

It feels a bit like a big family, it goes beyond just being colleagues.

Joanna

What’s the biggest difference compared to where you grew up?
Everything is closed on Sunday! And it’s still very cash-centric. But the cost of living is also lower. Food is cheaper and I can afford to live in the city centre for the price of what it would cost me to live in zone 5 in London.

How would you describe the company culture at Delivery Hero?
I would describe it as very natural, very genuine. People are respectful but not at the cost of being open. The majority of us at the headquarters, even if we are German, are not from Berlin. So we rely on each other a lot to get set up in the city, make friends, and share tips. It feels a bit like a big family, it goes beyond just being colleagues.

Do you feel like there are opportunities to share your culture at Delivery Hero?
There’s a real openness. Everyone is curious to know how things are done in other places and  cultures. People don’t feel like “their way is the right way,” it’s a melting pot where we can bring all the best parts together. There’s a definite openness to that, no matter where you’re from.

What is a unique tradition/custom from your country of origin that your co-workers just don’t get?
I love jacket potatoes with english cheddar cheese, tuna mayo and sweetcorn. Maybe some baked beans on the side. You can basically get this in any cafe in the UK, but it’s impossible to find in Berlin. Here I have to buy all the ingredients separately and assemble it myself. But I would love it if an english jacket potato shop opened in Berlin! I also love a good meal deal, which is hard to come by here.