Why this consumer company is a “Fave” among employees
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Why this consumer company is a “Fave” among employees

Employees in an office

Whenever Singaporean Jeannette Ang bakes a fresh batch of Pão de Queijo – a savoury Brazilian cheese bread – she always makes it a point to share with friends and loved ones.

And each time she does, people would ask her how she came across the recipe. Whenever she recounts that it was her boss who taught her, they usually have a hard time believing her.

“Not only did my Brazilian boss teach me how to bake cheese bread, I also learnt how to make eggplant lasagne and beef stew. I’m confident of my dishes because I’m pretty sure I learnt my craft from one of the most authentic cooks from Brazil!” she says with a chuckle.

Jeannette is a merchandising and revenue planner at Fave, a local discovery app company that gives customers access to over 5,000 offers and discounts based on their preferences.

Previously known as Groupon Singapore, the company underwent a facelift two years ago when it was bought over by Fave Group, formerly into a fitness subscription service KFit. The group currently has offices in Malaysia and Indonesia too.

Jeannette makes weekly trips to Fave’s Kuala Lumpur office where she spends two to three days working alongside the marketing team there.

Even though she has an option to lodge by herself, she always chooses to bunk in with her boss, Fave Singapore’s general manager Daniela Llobet who hails from Brazil. Apart from connecting with Daniela over food, Jeannette has also learnt from her how to dance the Samba and appreciate classical Brazilian music.

In the workplace, Jeannette cites Daniela as a guiding force who has taught her valuable career skills like project management and effective problem solving techniques.

“I guess that's the beautiful thing about working in a company like Fave. You work side by side talented people from different parts of the world who are constantly guiding you both in the office and outside of it,” she says.

“Who else can say that they went to their GM’s house to cook up a feast?”

A workplace of global opportunities

With over 40 employees from countries like Ukraine, Myanmar, Indonesia and Australia working together in the Singapore office, the company exudes a vibrant and cosmopolitan vibe.

Singaporean Angela Goh, who is the head of merchandising and revenue planning at the Singapore office, has witnessed first-hand the benefits of an inclusive workplace.

When it comes to developing marketing strategies for the brand’s regional ventures, she always makes it a point to organise impromptu coffee sessions with international employees to get their perspectives on the proposed ideas.

“What I love about working in Fave is that we are truly a company without borders. It doesn’t matter where you’re from, it’s about working together and growing as one big family both for the company and for our consumers,” said Angela.

The camaraderie within the office has made international employees feel right at home in Singapore.

Ukrainian Iryna Bhardwaj, key account manager at the Singapore office, recounted an incident last year which best reflects the company’s ethos of an inclusive workplace.

Iryna’s laptop had crashed a day before an important product launch and she had lost a bulk of crucial documents in the process. With no choice other than to recreate the documents from scratch, she was busy typing away when three local colleagues came by to ask her if she was about to leave soon as it was almost midnight.

When Iryna explained what had happened, they immediately volunteered to help with the data entry process even though they were not from the same department.

“I was very insistent that they should not help me because it was getting very late and I didn’t feel good seeing them stay back just to help me. But the more I said no, the more they persisted,” she said.

With their help, the data was uploaded in double quick time.

“At Fave, it doesn’t matter which country you’re from - we’re all family here,” she said.

This culture of sharing knowledge is deeply embedded in the company’s day-to-day operations, such as a mentorship programme that aims to encourage skills sharing and talent development.

For example, Angela, who has been with the company since 2010, was hoping to get deeper insights on people management skills. So she requested for a mentorship programme under managing director Ng Aik Phong who has managed 11 Asia Pacific start-up markets throughout his career.

Given his vast experience working in and around the region, his insights on intercultural understanding and interpersonal communication were of keen interest to Angela who felt that Aik Phong would be able to add on to her existing skill set.

Since May, she meets him over breakfast once a week before office hours where they openly share and bounce off ideas with one another.

“Having a good mentor definitely helps me improve myself in more ways than one. No matter how many years of experience you might have, there’s always room to improve and grow as a person so that keeps me humble and open to new ideas,” she noted.

For Aik Phong, the process of sharing his experiences has allowed him to take a step back and analyse his own professional journey from a leader’s perspective

“I’m a big believer in continuous learning and growth so I couldn’t be more glad that we currently have one of the best skills transfer programmes around,” he said.

“When I share my experiences and insights, I’m also learning a little bit more about myself so I think this is a win-win cause, no matter how you look at it.”  

Jeannette, on the other hand, had always wanted to learn how to use the Adobe Photoshop software but she never quite got around to it. Thanks to Fave’s mentorship programme, she is currently paired with a designer from the media team who is guiding her along her way.

“As an employee working here, there are tons of opportunities to upgrade yourself. So naturally, you feel motivated to want to learn more and push yourself that much higher to achieve things you never thought you could,” she said.

A brand that goes beyond borders

With regional offices in Indonesia and Malaysia, Fave Singapore also engages in regular cross border collaborations.

This has provided local employees with richer work experiences by giving them greater exposure to regional and international economies.

Nur Syahirah Abdul Rahman, head of marketing and partnerships from the Singapore office, cites the working relationship between the three companies as an integral aspect in the brand’s overall development.

“Though we are very different in scale and size, what we do here inspires our offices in other countries and vice versa. We end up sharing what works and what doesn’t, and this translates into business growth,” she said.

Regular collaborations and cross-sharing across countries has also allowed local employees at Fave to strengthen their global linkages. These are what make things tick. 

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