Delivering a people-driven service platform


No one can deny the invaluable role that couriers and riders have taken on during the stay-at-home season. Mobility amidst the pandemic has been very convenient and safe. Thanks to front-line workers and their innovative digital platforms for playing their part well in providing life essentials in these crucial times.

One of those platforms in Singapore is Deliveroo. Chief of Staff Asia had the privilege to speak with Natasha Doctor, Head of People at Deliveroo Singapore. Doctor’s main priority is the well-being of the workers in her team to make customers happy in return. 

The people leader explained the role of workplace culture and connectivity in sustaining organisational success. She also shared how Deliveroo empowers its female employees and provides them with growth opportunities. Women comprise more than half of the Deliveroo leadership team in Singapore, and 57% of the company’s employees are women.

Find out more about Doctor’s HR strategy in this exclusive interview feature.

Delivering DEI

We started by asking Doctor about the qualities and skills that her team looks for in choosing incoming employees.

For those who are interested in working at Deliveroo, she said that it is good to be skillful and competent, but the company is still after other valuable competencies: “…a growth mindset and curiosity are other qualities that are great for potential candidates to possess. Given the fast-paced environment we operate in, it is also beneficial to have high learning agility, adaptability, flexibility, and the drive to innovate. Curiosity and a passion for solving complex problems will enable one to succeed.”

Her answer led the writer to the idea of diversity, a staple in management vocabulary nowadays. Knowing that a team thrives in a combined variety of talent, backgrounds, and qualities that add value to any organisation, how does Deliveroo incorporate DEI?

According to Doctor, “We want Deliveroo to be a place where everyone feels able to contribute, collaborate, and be true to themselves while at work. However, diversity, equity, and inclusion do not just stop at the office door. It also means championing diversity, equity, and inclusion among our consumers, riders, and restaurant grocery partners, where we know there is more for us to do.”

Applying this in the internal HR process, Doctor said that Deliveroo follows fair and appropriate recruitment and selection best practices to fulfil its commitment to equal opportunity. She added that they do this by taking steps to remove as much potential bias from the hiring processes as possible. “We ensure our hiring processes are inclusive and support our diversity goals, including allocating time and resources to source from underrepresented groups for a diverse pool,” Doctor notes. 

The HR chief demonstrated how her office observes DEI practices, with employee resource groups leading activities that are centred around key inclusion initiatives and communities, such as gender and racial equality, and well-being. 

She says, “These groups have received executive sponsorship and budget to raise awareness and support their respective communities. In addition, the groups collaborate closely with the Leadership and People teams for business initiatives.”

As a known male-dominated sector, Doctor explained that Deliveroo is taking active steps to advocate for women through several initiatives. These are:

  • Accelerate Programme: Enables female employees to accelerate careers into more senior roles
  • Mentorship Programme: Deliveroo’s Gender Equality Committee facilitates this for women within the business 
  • Rooparents Programme: A pilot series of workshops for parents tailored according to life stage 
  • Unconscious Bias Training: Mandatory for all employees 
  • Fair Review Processes: A performance calibration process that checks managers’ recommended ratings to ensure they are performance-based and not on external factors 
  • Fair and Competitive Benefits: Continuous reviewing of benefits to ensure they are fair and competitive  


“Moving forward, this year and beyond, we will be focusing our efforts on a balanced gender representation to increase females in our most senior roles; a new voluntary self-identification campaign to get a better picture of the Deliveroo workforce; an increase in the number of employee-led resource groups (such as neurodiverse, parents/caregivers, and employees with disabilities); and celebrate differences using our engagement with female riders to improve our rider proposition for them, thus increasing their participation,” Doctor cites. 

Given this drive to improve workplace culture, the discussion proceeded to the still-prominent topic, The Great Resignation. Many may have quit, but many are still searching for jobs. So, how does Deliveroo view and respond to The Great Resignation? 

To this, Doctor replies, “It is paramount for HR and business leaders to focus on understanding the key drivers for attrition and take action to address these drivers. At Deliveroo, we conduct monthly engagement surveys that reveal real-time insights to understand what employees value most. When it comes to retention, a one-size-fits-all strategy will not work as it is about developing a tailored approach that meets employees’ unique requirements.”

Connectivity at Deliveroo means people over processes

Doctor shared how to maintain people’s connection to keep the company culture alive. 

Like in any great endeavour, obstacles are anticipated. In Deliveroo’s pursuit to sustain connectivity, Doctor discloses, “We need to be deliberate about employee engagement, communication, and alignment of goals to keep our culture alive.” 

This deliberate move is not simple. But everybody pitched in, especially when Singapore declared prolonged lockdowns.

Doctor goes on to say, “During Singapore’s circuit breaker period, the cross-functional ‘social committee’ led informal and engaging virtual activities every week. Budgets were allocated for social activities, virtual get-togethers, and regular team check-ins to discuss plans and expectations. 

“All in all, we focused on building a strong sense of community by being there for each other and making sure we were moving towards a shared goal to succeed as a team,” she proudly says while recognising her team’s united efforts.

The other end of the connectivity spectrum is disengagement. So, one might ask if Deliveroo has any tool or measure that could detect employee disconnect.

The people manager talked about how they patiently do this regularly, saying, “We run monthly engagement surveys where employees have the opportunity to share regular feedback on a variety of topics. This provides us with real-time and meaningful feedback to gauge engagement and continuously tailor our initiatives based on employees’ feedback.” 

Another factor to consider is the digitisation of everything. Where do we see the human touch in “human resources” after things around it have gone digital? Doctor injected her personal belief in keeping the human touch in HR.

“My personal mantra of keeping the human touch alive is prioritising people over processes and being flexible and empathetic to the varying needs of employees. The human touch is about building real connections, which technology cannot replace,” she firmly points out.

This human connection had been put to test when the pandemic began. Deliveroo did not run out of ways to engage, as Doctor says: “Successful organisations are those that have prioritised holistic employee care and wellbeing. At Deliveroo, we recognise this through the support initiatives for our teams.” 

These pandemic support initiatives that are open to all their employees include free access to Headspace, a mindfulness app for meditation and mindfulness skills. 

Doctor cites, “We also have a well-being group with free counselling sessions via our Employee Assistance programme and subsidised Classpass memberships. Globally, our Wellbeing Committee organised a ‘Well-being Week’ to provide opportunities to make new connections and engagements through a series of events. 

“We held virtual stretching and mobility sessions and cooking classes to remain connected when remote working was Singapore’s default arrangement. Our employees had a comfortable and fully-equipped work set-up at home and work-from-home care packs. We conducted training sessions for managers to support remote teams and hybrid working.

“When restrictions eased, we extended the initiatives to include offline fun activities such as pot painting, cycling, and spin classes,” she happily recounts.

Nurturing talent and enabling people

Doctor imparted her leadership strategy, described how Deliveroo Singapore is an ideal workplace, and her ideals as an HR manager for the company’s diverse staff.

For Doctor, the best thing about being a Deliveroo people leader is the fulfillment it brings.

“Being part of Deliveroo has brought me so much fulfillment. I have grown my passion for nurturing talent and enabling people to deliver exceptional business results. To do this, I always ensure that I am partnering with the leadership team and line managers to create exceptional employee experiences,” she enthuses. 

The HR chief continues, “At a personal level, I continue to learn something new each day, and I love applying those learnings to my day-to-day life to make a meaningful impact on the Deliveroo team.”

When Chief of Staff Asia asked her about her leadership strategy and ideals, she emphasised the importance of growth.

“People management has always been about creating an environment that enables people to grow. I’ve had the opportunity to work with talented and capable managers, many of whom are still great mentors to me today. I’ve learned that people management is about earning the trust of your team and being genuinely interested in their personal and career development,” Doctor recalls.

Doctor encourages future HR leaders to achieve greater heights in the workplace through people empowerment. “Leadership is about empowering people to do their best work and trusting your team. At Deliveroo, we allow employees to own and manage projects where they can apply their skills, expertise, and passion to reap the rewards of their hard work.

“There is also great value to building connections that last and being authentic to yourself and the people around you,” she advises. 

As a workplace, Deliveroo, according to Doctor, is “…(an) informal, fun, yet highly fulfilling work environment.” 

She elaborates with DEI in mind, “Our workspaces are purposefully designed to promote collaboration, communication, and good quality banter across the office. We believe a great workplace represents the world we live in and how beautifully diverse it can be. It means that we have no judgement regarding the things that make others who they are. All that is required is a passion for making our customers’ experience with food the best it can be, and a desire to be part of one of the fastest-growing start-ups around.”


Getting to know: Natasha Doctor

Job title: Head of People

Company: Deliveroo Singapore

Location: Singapore

Years in the role: 1 year

Family status: Married. Paw-parent of a two-year-old golden retriever

Academic background: Bachelor’s degree in Business Management, an MBA in Human Resources

Professional background: 15 years of experience in a range of HR functions in diverse industries including technology, consumer goods, and healthcare. 

Hobbies: When I’m not engaging in a discussion on talent, I can be found watching thriller movies, trying out different cuisines, or spending time with our golden retriever.

Leadership philosophy:  As an HR leader, I see my role as a coach who can develop and enable our team to achieve success. 

Inspirational quote: “You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You must do the thing you think you cannot do.” — Eleanor Roosevelt



Industry: Delivery, ride-hailing, and information services

Regional headquarters: Singapore

Employees: Under 50 full-time staff; in addition to an extensive group of contractors

HR focus areas

  • Employer branding
  • Talent attraction
  • Engagement and retention

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Chief of Staff Asia