The business world would be better off if leadership and managers were more empathetic. If a CEO really knows what it’s like to work in a warehouse, fulfillment center, serving customers in a restaurant or delivering food, they’d have a greater appreciation of the daily challenges they endure.
On Blind, the anonymous platform for millions of members to post career-related comments and opinions, a verified DoorDash employee posted that the company will require all employees to deliver at least one order each month beginning 2022. The online responses ranged from shock and disgust to saying this is a smart and empathetic program.
The initiative is called WeDash and mandatory for all employees, including the CEO and executives. There are some exemptions. Employees can work in chat support for customers or merchants instead. In addition to making the food deliveries, employees will be reviewed on their performance. The delivery app’s goal is to allow employees to understand and empathize with the experience of the delivery person.
According to Rick Chen, director and head of communications for Blind, WeDash was previously paused for safety because of the pandemic, but beginning in January 2022, it will be restarted and tracked, as part of the employee performance review
The policy serves several purposes. It will let tech engineers and other well-paid professionals understand what it’s like for the delivery person. They’ll have an understanding of the challenges they face. Similar to walking in someone’s shoes, the white-collar professionals will drive or ride a mile in the worker’s car or bicycle.
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By actually picking up food at a crowded restaurant and then quickly bringing it to a customer’s home—dealing with traffic, irate customers and getting lost—the office and remote employees will gain valuable insights and empathy toward these generally lower paid workers. By seeing what happens in the real world, it may help them with their own jobs, armed with this new real-world experience.
The responses from the site were mixed, with many angry and upset over the new DoorDash policy.
Here are some of the examples of the responses by both Doordash and Blind members affiliated with an array of other companies.
- Ddasher— “Mandatory ‘WeDash’ starts from next year. You need to dash once a month. WILL BE TRACKED IN PERFORMANCE REVIEWS!! What the actual f—? I didn’t sign up for this, there was nothing in the offer letter/job description about this.”
- stonkNibba— “Can’t tell if it’s serious or troll. If serious, then what the f—? Not acceptable in any way!”
- Zhongguo— “@SF8roz – wasn’t against my interests. I voluntarily signed up. I’m young, healthy, unlikely to be at risk from covid. Why not help deliver food and stuff to those who were stuck at home? The $ was negligible (not even noticeable compared to TC or investment swings), but the internal karma / feel good feelings more than made up for it.”
- Cryptonyte— “Empathy for your customers, dashers and restaurants is a good thing. Would be awesome to see dashers paired with engineers and product managers on these ride-alongs. An opportunity to learn from each other. How is this a bad thing? Might help DD product and engineering teams better understand and empathize with the challenges faced by dashers. Reminds me of how Tony Hsieh had all new Zappos employees, regardless of level or role, operate the phones when they started. Would be dope if Uber and Lyft followed suit with their employees.”
- Panda319— “What a fantastic push from leadership to become more customer-centric, it both makes sure all employees understand the process firsthand, and will increase attrition for the employees that really only give a sh-t about the paycheck, but not the company’s mission. Well played, leadership.”
- Newyrkcite— “Doesn’t seem that bad. Devs get to relate to dasher experience, figure out what features they might need to build next and generally how their product works in action. On top of that, you’re making tons of money anyway. People on Blind have massive egos. Making a delivery isn’t going to kill you. Get off your high horses please. (Btw, not at DD & never been at DD. Also, believe company eval is super over inflated. Regardless, this particular thing isn’t crazy.)”
- Eng Мicrosoft— “Making a delivery might literally kill you if you get carjacked and shot. I kinda want to see this happen and see the family sue the company for like a billion dollars and win just so no company ever gets a stupid idea like this ever again.”
- SF8roz— “100% with Microsoft on this one (things I never thought I’d say, lol). I have respect for delivery drivers, I always tip properly when I order delivery, I understand it’s a hard job, putting yourself at risk physically, beating the sh-t out of your car, risking that if you get in an accident. Then, many are essentially uninsured because the appropriate insurance costs too much (and I doubt DoorDash is going to provide it or pay for people to get it for this mandatory delivery work), but that’s why I choose not to do that work. If for whatever reason I was unable to work in tech, I still have other skill sets that would provide easier, safer, more lucrative work. I hate to sound like an asshole, but I made sure I got a good education and built up marketable skills, so I wouldn’t have to have a McJob like that, but one I could do from home or an office that doesn’t involve physical risk.”
- Cl4p— “Interesting idea though. Following the same line of thought: 1) Everybody at Amazon will have to work at a warehouse once a month. 2) Everybody at dating services will have to find a one-nighter every month. 3) Everybody at Uber/Lyft will have to taxi once a month. 4) Everybody at AirBnB will have to rent their living room once a month.”
- GsXl87—“Ridiculous how many of you think you’re above experiencing your own product as an end user. Sit down, be humble. You’re not any better than the person making 10% your salary. You’re all working for the capitalists who own everything. This is why I hated Silicon Valley and left after a year and a half. So much classism and elitism. So much snobbery. So much obsession over status. What if *sniffles* what if someone sees me delivering food in my Tesla, like a poor Mexican! Reeeeeee. This whole thread, and Silicon Valley in general, is a self-parody. It’s unbelievable. Kudos to DoorDash for knocking some of these prima donnas down a peg, and also for realizing there are obvious UX problems that an engineer will realize very quickly if they had to use the app for a whole hour.”
We reached out to DoorDash to verify the new policy and didn’t receive a response at the time of publication. If this turns out to be an unsubstantiated claim, it still provides for an illuminating mental exercise to reimagine how well-paid, white-collar workers can gain an appreciation and learn from the struggles of low-wage, app-based contractors.