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Lazada Singapore's quick response to COVID-19 earns SBR Management Excellence Award

Online supermarket RedMart by Lazada hired and trained displaced workers and gave them a livelihood.

Lazada Singapore has won the award for the COVID Management Initiative of the Year - Retail in Singapore Business Review’s Management Excellence Awards 2020 for aiding retrenched workers to find a new job amidst a backdrop of an economic recession that forced many businesses to downsize their headcounts.

Following the announcement of Singapore’s circuit breaker measures, Lazada Singapore’s online grocery platform RedMart experienced a surge in order volumes as citizens sought to stock up on essential household supplies.

The surge in online grocery demand was even more challenging, when a sizable portion of its Malaysian workforce was also locked out of Singapore upon Malaysia’s announcement of its Movement Control Order. This lack of manpower, combined with overwhelming demand, pushed RedMart’s talent acquisition team to find ways to increase operational manpower to keep pace. The team saw an opportunity in reaching out to companies from the worst-hit sectors that were downsizing their workforce.

RedMart partnered with companies in the aviation and hospitality industries to conduct mass interviews with workers who faced retrenchments. With the assistance of RedMart’s warehouse operation managers and line supervisors, RedMart interviewed more than 500 people, resulting in the hiring of 250 warehouse associates in two weeks, an increase of 300% from average and a feat that usually requires months under usual circumstances.

In April and May, about 650 warehouse associates were hired in total as Lazada collaborated with government agencies to support displaced workers from affected industries, to ramped up their online capacities for essential goods.

Apart from serving as an essential service to feed the nation, Lazada also went out of the way to take care of employees hit by COVID-19 upon the Malaysian border lock down as it housed hundreds of its Malaysian delivery and warehouse staff in hotels and arranged shuttle buses to assist them as they travel to and from work.

The sense of camaraderie in having all sectors of the business come together in such a short time to help ensure that RedMart could fulfil its public and social responsibility as an essential service provider was truly inspiring.

In addition, Lazada Singapore held the Lazada Learning Festival 2020, a learning initiative from 5 to 7 August designed with two key objectives in mind: to encourage a healthy learning culture in Lazada and to develop the skills and capabilities of its workforce.

The initiative aims to provide Lazada’s employees with insights on topics such as accelerating commerce and logistics, developing talents in a VUCA world, and leading innovation.

The first learning festival was opened to all employees as well as selected sellers in the six countries Lazada operates in. Held completely virtually through internal communications platforms, Lazada hosted internal and external experts for live webinars and panel discussions. 

Concurrently, e-learning materials such as a virtual warehouse tour were also deployed, as well as hands-on, home-based activities employees could be involved in. Twenty-one sessions were hosted in total, with more than 8,000 employees in attendance.

“This year, the Lazada People team really stepped up to ensure that the business and our employees are well taken care of. In the midst of an unprecedented situation, the team has shown their dedication by placing the welfare of others before them, and this award is a testament to the efforts and dedication of the team. We feel encouraged and will continue to do our best to ensure the well-being of all Lazadians,” said Chief People Office of Lazada Singapore, Mr. Kelvin Kong.

Note: Photo was taken last November 2019 before the COVID-19 measures were implemented.

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