“Gotong Royong” for everyone at Bukalapak


Sasono said that this work culture applies to whatever function, title, level, department, or country one is from.

Sasono recounted that every year, they conduct an employee engagement survey. One of the questions is: “Which values resonate with you the most at Bukalapak?” Since the survey’s inception, the answer has always been consistent: “Gotong Royong,” a Bahasa Indonesia phrase that refers to working together to achieve a common goal. 

“Whatever we do at Bukalapak, we never work alone. Someone somewhere in the organisation will excitedly help you whenever you need it. In less than one hour, a person will answer any question posted on a department Slack group. We surveyed new hires, and they were always surprised when someone from a different department willingly helped them navigate the work,” Sasono proudly states.

Having achieved remarkable milestones as a young executive and as an HR leader of one of Indonesia’s successful e-commerce platforms, we asked if Sasono has any words for aspiring HR executives from start-ups looking to grow their headcount.

He replies with an interesting answer, “Growing the company does not necessarily mean growing the headcount. We often translate business requirements directly into adding more people to do the job, but we rarely ask the more fundamental question: ‘Do we need to do the job itself?’.” 

For him, new jobs will surface as the company grows. But more often than not, old jobs will become obsolete, and people with outdated skills will require reskilling or job reallocation. He thinks this can immediately become a problem when the company needs to turn its growth into profit.

In the end, Sasono advises, “Prepare your organisation early. Build a culture that promotes lean, high-performing organisation. It’s not always fun and games in the process of having a performance-oriented culture, but it is what is needed to sustain an organisation.”

This feature was extracted from Chief of Staff Asia’s exclusive interview with Suryo Sasono, Bukalapak’s Senior Vice-President of Talent. For further coverage please see the below link:

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Chief of Staff Asia