Don’t just work here, belong here.

This blog post was written by Sabrina Khaw, Chief of Staff at Teleport as part of the company’s dedication to understand through learnings on what it really means to belong and work at Teleport for our current and future employees.

These days, I spend a lot of time thinking about culture. 

What does a great workplace look like?

How can we get people to say what they really think and communicate openly?

How do we help managers develop growth plans with their teams?

We’ve had to take a step back to really review and reflect: what does it mean to work here? It took us about 6 months to figure it out and in all honesty, I don’t even think we’ve got it down pat yet, but here’s what we know [for now].

On Expectations: Ambitious and uncomfortable

An ambitious goal serves as a clear statement of intent to each other, and to the team, and, at the point of setting that goal, we should not be sure yet on how to deliver on that outcome. People will gasp when they initially hear it.

What’s a common baseline for ambition?

First, it’s measurable.  

Second, it’s a goal that is memorable, and the team can rally toward.

Third, it’s a stretch, meaning achieving 50% of the planned goal is a win. 

Hitting a target is not cause for celebration.

  • 70 – 100%: Not ambitious enough
  • 50 – 70%: Great results
  • 30 – 50%: Average performance 
  • 0 – 30%: Underperforming

What does uncomfortable feel like?

It takes many hours to make what we want to make happen. The hours don’t suddenly appear. We have to steal from comfort. Empty the tank. Clear the deck to prioritize. Forego perfection. Fight natural urges and resistance. It can feel awful on the surface and downright frustrating, but do the work anyway. In the end, the deeper satisfaction of finishing is lasting and observable.

The harder the problem, the more we run toward it. 

On Satisfaction: It’s about growth

In the process of putting together our “People” goals for the year, we hit a block. We knew we wanted our people to be “satisfied”, but what did satisfaction even mean at Teleport? 

  • Isn’t satisfaction different from one person to another? Yes.
  • Is it even possible then to make everyone happy? No.
  • Is it necessary to make everyone happy? Also no.

To help define satisfaction, let’s dial it back: What defines us as Teleporters? How could we describe a Teleporter in 3 words?

1. Sky’s the limit

2. Uncomfortable A F

3. Getting shit done

Survey says: All of the above.

Now that we’ve established what a true Teleporter embodies, this question should be easier to answer. What does someone with the above 3 descriptions consider as satisfaction?


Are you being challenged?

How often were you uncomfortable in the last year?

Have you learnt something every day?

If the answer is yes for all 3 questions, you’re probably pretty satisfied [in our definition].

On Diversity: By opening the door

Over the past few years, we’ve seen hashtags like #girlboss, #blacklivesmatter and #changetheratio floating around our Instagram feed, promoting and advocating for equality in our communities. Even in a recent open session, someone asked, “What should I do if there are inequalities at the workplace?”, hinting at issues of power, experience, race, gender, age or barriers in Teleport.

Equality has never been more essential. What more in a workplace?

So we started thinking about how we would apply this to our culture and how we employ our people.

How do we make sure we have equal opportunities for any gender, any race and at any age?
Having equal parts female to male in our workforce?

Having a mix of teams at well-distributed age ranges, so we don’t skew “too young” or “too senior”?

Then we asked the question, what if we didn’t base diversity on gender, race or age at all? Let’s take a second to dive a little deeper.

  • Hiring based on gender: a female is hired, not just because of her capability, but also because of her gender. Should it not solely be because of her capability?
  • Hiring based on age: by hiring someone more senior, we would have representation from an older, but not necessarily a more “experienced” demographic.
  • Hiring based on race: we would still be hiring someone based on the colour of their skin, even though yes, for the purpose of inclusion and equality.

So if not the above, then again, what does diversity even mean? To us, anyway. Here’s how we defined it.

To be diverse, we must give equal opportunities and accessibility for all. To us, this meant extending it even to those with employment gaps.

We have since had retirees join us as delivery partners, a diving instructor for an account manager, cabin crew as delivery partners and even pilots as project managers. The true meaning of diversity for Teleport is to provide equal accessibility and opportunities to anyone at any level of commitment and experience.

This is a photo of our first batch of delivery partners back in April 2020.
[L-R]: Saggaf (Cabin Crew), Wan (Technician), Nurul (Cabin Crew) & Fazrul (Ground Operations)

Why is this so important to us?

The fuel to our fire is our people. It’s important for us to create a working environment that welcomes all, not just by the colour of your skin or what box you tick when asked “male or female?”. 

Teleport is an open door for anyone who wants to make magic happen. From A to B, of course.

So, back to our first question: what does it mean to work here? 

Creating something new (and hard) comes with a lot of unknowns. Being a part of Teleport is more (way more) than the 3 things I’ve summarised above and like I said earlier, we’re still figuring it out – that’s okay. The bottom line is we’ve set out to create a safe space for people of all backgrounds and experiences, to be challenged and to grow at Teleport. And that to me is where I belong.

What about you? 

Where do you belong?

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