Swift Responses Amidst Uncertainty
The Nakama That Sails Together

Interview with Nanang Chalid
VP, People @ Tokopedia

Responding to COVID-19 together - #SGunited #SEAunited

Nanang Chalid

Nanang Chalid is currently Vice President of People at Tokopedia, where he advances the Indonesian unicorn's mission to develop their engagement capacity, capabilities and culture.
Tokopedia's goal is to democratize commerce in Indonesia through technology by developing an ecosystem of self-starter entrepreneurs.



Tokopedia has a strong relationship with the consumers of Indonesia.

How serious has the impact of COVID-19 been for Tokopedia?


  • Tokopedia assembled a crisis management team immediately to respond to the crisis - nicknamed the 911 team. This emergency response team took a daily pulse of the developments of the COVID-19 virus and built forecasts of what to expect based on political discourse in Indonesia in early January 2020. Very early on, Tokopedia understood that tackling the challenges posed by the virus would be a marathon, where responding to each obstacle thrown towards firm would be the metric of success.

  • A challenge Tokopedia faced early on was the decisiveness and clarity of their federal government on the severity of the COVID-19 virus. This posed a serious setback to the tone of Tokopedia's response. With protection of their people and business continuity on the minds of leaders at Tokopedia, the company erred on the side of caution by requesting employees who recently travelled to self-quarantine. Restrictions on visitors to their headquarters in Jakarta were also placed, as another pillar of defence against ambiguity.
  • At the beginning of March 2020, with outbreaks occurring in all parts of the world, Indonesia had yet to even report its first case. Responding with too much caution would have caused much disorder in the country of 250 million citizens - but Tokopedia management responded immediately with issuing temperature checks, social distancing within their offices and telecommunication wherever possible. 

  • Tokopedia's cautious attitude paid off a month and a half later,  as Indonesia is now reporting the highest number of reported cases in Asia apart from China. Nanang Chalid relates that the bold decision from their leadership was based largely with a focus on protecting the health of their Nakama - and they took immediate action to amend their HR administrative policies about healthcare to provide tele-heath consultation services, based on forecasts that the healthcare system in Indonesia would be immensely strained in the wake of rising cases.


Who are the Nakama of Tokopedia?

Tokopedia employs 4,700 employees Across Indonesia and partners with 7.6 million merchants - with 90 million active users on their site monthly.







Tokopedia's people team developed this application for their employees within 2 weeks to help their employees have access to professional counsellors and be open about their well-being.



  • Tokopedia's co-founder William Tanuwijaya, is a self-confessed fan of the Japanese illustrated manga series, One Piece - and even attributes it as an inspiration to his approach to company culture. Friendship, a sense of belonging and a common mission is the key to being a Nakama.

  • Nanang emphasises it has become a core component of their company identity, with many employees accepting that being part of Tokopedia is not just about taking on a job, but accepting your colleagues as a "comrade" against a common crusade. This is especially relevant in today's climate, notes EngageRocket's CEO, Leong Chee Tung. 



What other unique challenges did Tokopedia face?


  • Nanang Chalid relates that Jakarta offers the most job opportunities within Indonesia. As many of Tokopedia's young and talented Nakama leave their home provinces to work in the city, they are susceptible to feeling vulnerable and isolated, with constant worries about their families back home.

  • Mental well-being was an immediate concern for Tokopedia's People team, and they launched a "Safe Space" mobile application for their employees. Trained counsellors were available to chat with employees, to ensure they had everything they needed - and to encourage emotional resilience.

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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

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People Continuity Package

We've put this resource together with the support of IHRP and SHRI to be able to help businesses improve their employee's engagement and productivity while WFH during this extended circuit breaker period.

This includes a pulse survey tool that is fully automated and managed by EngageRocket, and we will also provide you with free access to your company’s results - including benchmarks and insights after the survey cycles.

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


COVID-19 HR Resources