COVID-19: How do you keep employees engaged and connected? Interview with Chin Yin Ong, Head of People @ Grab 

Building Safe Journeys for Every Grabber

COVID-19: Insights for Leaders - #SGunited #SEAunited

ChinYin_Grab_ImageForWebsiteChin Yin Ong

Chin Yin has been the Head of People at Grab since 2015, running the People Organisations and Grabber Technology Solutions teams.
With over 20 years of experience, we're excited to have her take on the COVID-19 situation, and what has been on her plate.




How serious is the COVID-19 situation for People Operations teams at Grab?

  • Communication of plans in a timely way is essential. With 24/7 updates coming in from governments, independent health advisories and other organisations - it takes a real toll on teams who have to ensure these communications go out in a timely and accurate way.

  • Grab operates in over eleven locations - and this means that communications teams have to work harder on ensuring that communication within their teams are made properly.

  • One thing Grab has responded by is to build internal micro-sites to co-ordinate resources for every type of team on topics that are important to them.

  • Other initiatives include GrabRadio, a form of collaborative playlist for Grabbers and GrabCoffee, where a chatbot connects Grabbers around the world for remote interactions.
  • Initiatives such as these develop social connections, even for remote teams. Coordinating teams during a period of remote work should be a priority.
    Access our covid-19 microsite 

How do you keep Grabbers engaged, and connected with one another through this crisis?


  • Transparency is key - accepting the economic and social impact of the virus is vital, as explaining shifts in company policies and processes is equally important to ensuring engagement. Learn more about how communicating efficiently with your employees is important. 

  • How does communication lead Grabbers to feel a sense of engagement? "Communicating care through each message", says Chin Yin. Showing care doesn't have to stop with kind words, but also through understanding anxieties of your co-workers. Chin Yin, further elaborates that Grab's human resources teams have been receiving questions from employees that are not work related, but their People Operations teams continue to find ways to support their Grabbers is vital in a period of widespread uncertainty. 

What leaders can do to prepare for a remote future


  • Leaders are using real-time data to their advantage, to respond to crises as they emerge, and to shape their responses.

  • At Grab, feedback on any process has been internalised via adopting digital transformation at an early stage. What can people do to take feedback to action? 

  • Other companies who have yet to take a digital-first approach will need to do so quickly, and it might be difficult for them to do this in the short run. 

  • With remote work looking to be the norm for every company, find ways to prepare for socialising remotely.

Watch our videos with other leaders








Chanel Lim _ Youtube



Additional Resources: 



Business Continuity Plan

While a BCP is focused on bringing operational processes set in place, a People Continuity Plan  focuses on developing an environment that is supportive of your employee's emotional health, as well as developing procedures to manage critical business functions from 

Here are some resources for building psychological resilience for your teams, developing your people strategy and introducing succession planning for your teams.

Read our resources about PCP



Lessons from Indonesia's largest unicorn

We've interviewed Vice President of People at Tokopedia on their company's response to the COVID-19 crisis. Tokopedia employs more than 3000 employees across Indonesia - how did they manage employee experiences?

Visit our resources page to learn more about how to put your people-first during COVID-19


COVID-19 HR Resources