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Garena is an internet platform company and will soon be setting up an office in Accralaw Tower, Bonifacio Global City. The company is known for its investment in employees and progressive ideas about workspace and work-life balance. TechInAsia visited the Garena office in Singapore which is a taste of what to expect when Garena starts its operation in the Philippines.
Garena has grown rapidly from its beginnings in 2009, with a value of US$3.75billion and a 5,000 strong employee team spread across Southeast Asia, it has had a rapid rise to success. Part of this success could be contributed to the time and effort that Garena invests into knowing and understanding their employees, what motivates them and how to improve their experience at work.
Garena recently celebrated their Racial Harmony Day in Singapore, where employees are encouraged to dress up in traditional clothing from their country of origin. The initiative allows the participants to share and teach each other about their culture, which helps create a better understanding of everyone in the company.
"Culture is what we do when no one's looking, culture is the CSR project we do that doesn't get a press release." Nick Nash - Group President of Garena
These opportunities for employees to teach others about themselves and the importance of understanding is not limited to nationality and culture, Garena holds dedicated 'Dessert for Thought' days where employees are encouraged to share their hobbies and interests with each other. These half-hour lunchtime sessions are held fortnightly and topics have ranged from rock climbing, chocolates and scuba diving to pole dancing.
"We have a lot of interesting personalities in Garena, and this is an interesting platform to help get to know each other," said Jacqueline, a People Team associate.
The company is still relatively new, and it's reflected in the employees whose average age is 27. This youthfulness is manifested in their day to day operations - upon check in, guests sign in on an iPad. A massage service or meeting room can be booked with a computerized panel that syncs with Google calendars. This youthfulness is also shown in the flatter organizational structure of the company.
"The flat structures mean we all get to work on serving the customers, regardless of our seniority." Apple Ng, manager, assistant to CEO, Singapore and Malaysia
For a company growing so fast, there is less value in wasting time with bureaucracy and there's a necessity to just get things done. Rapid expansion of the company into multiple business functions including social networking (BeeTalk), payments (Airpay) and ecommerce (Shopee) is testament to their quicker thinking as a result of the lack of bureaucracy; they are able to get things done quicker than their competitors.
An in-house massage therapist provides staff with up to two half-hour massages each month. It's a huge hit, and slots have to be booked way in advance.
Whilst Garena is a rapidly growing tech company who invests in employees, they also want their staff to have fun. Initiatives such as the annual Garena Big Day Out - where staff take part in game show style activities - were immensely popular team bonding sessions. The company also organizes activity sessions every quarter within departments including cookery, paintball and obstacle courses.
It appears the Garena vision is working and could be a model other companies in the Philippines can choose to follow when it comes to investing in employees and motivation. Garena will be showcasing this first hand when they base themselves in the Accralaw Tower in Bonifacio Global City.