Article: Becoming a destination employer-The Zomato way


Becoming a destination employer-The Zomato way

In a session at People Matters Talent Acquisition Conference 2019, Steven Murray, Global Head of Recruitment and People Development at Zomato shared insights on what Zomato does to become a preferred employer brand.
Becoming a destination employer-The Zomato way

In today’s world, your employer brand stands out as one of the most important factors to attract talent. How do you become a destination employer? How do you become the preferred brand of choice for talent? What are the key elements that go into making such a brand?

In a session at People Matters Talent Acquisition Conference 2019, Steven Murray, Global Head of Recruitment and People Development at Zomato shared insights on what does Zomato do to become a preferred employer brand and how it amplified its employer brand to become the destination employer. 

Be culture first-always

The question before Zomato, like any other brand is, how do we secure our talent five years down from now, how do we keep our talent from leaving five years down from now? While the brand is trying to look deep into the future but one thing it focuses on first is getting the basics right. Because than then builds the momentum for everything else that you want to do.

Steve reveals that something that we do really well at Zomato is being culture first. Joining Zomato at a time in 2015, when the company was in the midst of layoffs, was challenging. However, it in these times, that culture steps in-the culture of the people who remained. And if employees believe in the culture and the vision, they can do a lot. So the first thing you need to do as an organization is to identify your culture. For each company, it is different and evolves over time. A defining feature of Zomato’s culture is the growth mindset-that when you throw us at a problem, we will get better, smarter, and we will develop by immersing ourselves in tough challenges.

Another feature of its culture is not being afraid of failure. Zomato encourages people to pivot on the execution, deal with it, and move on. This enables the development of people

Communication= Transparency

Communication is another important facet of Zomato’s culture. What communication means to Zomato is transparency. An important practice that the organization has put in place is that of non-anonymized feedback. If you give feedback, you give feedback as yourself. And the organization has nurtured an environment where people feel free to give honest and open feedback. This drives the ability to straight to the core of the problem.

Founder’s mentality

The third feature of Zomato’s employer brand is encouraging founder’s mentality. 

“Everyone believes that Zomato is their own. If there is a problem, I will fix it.  We drive that in the organization and celebrate it.”

Steve here gave an example of COO Gaurav Gupta, who has been in Zomato for four years. This year Gaurav was labelled and classified as a founder.  Although he was originally doing everything that a founder was doing, classifying him as one further amplified and elevated his behavior and increased his ownership. The organization also gives out a Founder’s mentality award, recognizing people for their spirit of ownership and taking initiative.

Steve adds, “The privilege that comes with building a good culture is that you can ask people to do far more than just the job. They will happily go the extra mile if they are culturally aligned.”

Building brand advocates

While companies may be enabling the right behaviors, but communicating about them and getting people to advocate is also important. 

“Your company is not what you say it is, it is what your employees say about you online or to other people. They are defining what your company is, not you.”

So while you are sitting in a happy place thinking everything is fine, you are not actually engaging with the people who are defining the type of company you work for. So what Zomato tries to do now is that be it any initiative around perks or CSR, it makes sure that it is enabling advocacy. And because of that, the brand has started seeing a massive upward trend in its social spaces or in terms of its ratings. So when you get the advocacy piece in place, your employees become the best supporters of your vision.”

On similar lines, for building the brands of its leaders, Zomato believes in giving them a voice. So a team sits with them and enables them to write content around what good things they are doing, effectively getting their voice out.  Similarly, the company also facilitates informal group connects with the leader to make them more accessible to the employees. In such WhatsApp type groups, employees can ask any questions to the leader.

“We also say we don’t have a corporate ladder but a corporate swimming pool. You can stay at the shallow end and get as much development as you can or swim out to the deep end and hang out with the big league and get development there. It’s all about what you put your hand up for!”

Ultimately, building an employer brand does not involve just thinking about building the brand of the organization. It also involves one also needs to think about the building the profiles of people in your organization, besides building the employer brand. It also entails thinking how do we solve practical problems in their lives. Ultimately, it’s about wanting to drive balance in people’s lives so that they can be well health-wise and financially, and prosper. 


(This article is based on a session by Steven Murray, Global Head of Recruitment and People Development at Zomato on Becoming a destination employer at the Futurist Forum powered by Randstad India at People Matters Talent Acquisition Conference 2019.)

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Topics: Culture, Employer Branding, #PMTAC

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