Work-life balance and DE&I at Deliveroo with Madhu Prashanth

Here’s what work-life balance and DE&I at Deliveroo is really like, according to one of our engineering managers Madhu Prashanth.

Madhu, thanks a lot for taking the time to answer our questions. It would be great if you could start by introducing yourself and your role.

I’m Madhu Prashanth and I am an Engineering Manager within the Trust team. I have been with Deliveroo for just over 10 months and I am based in Nottingham. Our team has grown significantly over this year, and our main focus in welcoming new team members has been to create an environment where engineers can thrive and evolve.

You joined us a bit over 10 months ago. What made you decide to join Deliveroo? How has your journey been so far?

For me, the main reason to join Deliveroo was (and still is!) its mission to make food accessible to everyone. I did not realise the extent of the challenges in the food delivery market until I watched Will Shu’s interview in The Diary of a CEO with Steven Bartlett, but watching it made me want to be part of this journey and contribute to Deliveroo’s success.

My journey so far has been truly exciting. I’ve not only been involved in the group responsible for tackling Fraud and Abuse, but am also actively participating in improvements across the enterprise, from improving the way we do interviews, to evolving our Incident Management working group and Women in Tech resource group. The impact we can make as individuals, at Deliveroo, is enormous and there are plenty of opportunities for everyone to be involved in. It’s amazing to look back on how much we’ve grown and the amazing projects that we’ve been working on over the past year, both in my team and within the Tech org as a whole.

Outside of work, you’re a mum of two girls. How do you juggle work and family and how do you organise your schedule?

I think it’s a balance between the roles, and one that is slightly different for everyone. There are times when one responsibility takes over more of your life than the other; it can’t be a perfect 50/50 work-life balance and sacrifices will have to be made. This is where scheduling, time management and flexibility comes into play. We have to prioritise the essential things and may not be able to tick off every item on the ToDo list. Ordering groceries online on Deliveroo is one of the ways I save time on food shopping over the weekend, so I can spend it with my family.

Another example of striking that balance in my family life is that I don’t attend school reading sessions or volunteer regularly at school fairs, but I do attend other activities like parents evenings and Open Days. I also feel that my being a working mum is beneficial for the children, as it teaches them independence, and since my children are proud of the work that I do, I hope that I’m setting a good example for their future.

One of the great things at Deliveroo is we’ve set up a successful remote work culture. My team is remote and we come into the office once every three months. This means my schedule is flexible and I’m around when the girls come home from school, or if they’re ill, and I am able to pick them up occasionally and drop off a PE kit that has been forgotten!

What’s your opinion on the importance of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in a workplace?

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DE&I) are three important pillars of a healthy company culture. Creating an environment with people from different backgrounds fosters greater innovation and creativity among employees. Having a diverse workforce also encourages more productive and happier teams, and it’s also a learning opportunity as we can understand various cultures and their practices. We recently witnessed this with the various festive celebrations like Chinese New Year’s Day, Diwali and Hanukkah in the office!

I’ve seen that you’re very active when it comes to events and other diversity-related initiatives yourself. Could you tell us more about some recent projects you’ve worked on?

At Deliveroo, we have a number of Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) like:

I’m part of the Women in Tech and Gender Equity committees, because I want to personally make a difference in that space. I feel in our industry, women are over mentored and under sponsored, but what such underrepresented groups in tech often need most is opportunity and visibility, not advice. At Deliveroo, we work hard to ensure we can make this happen through various events, training and workshops.

We have a diverse mix of folks in most Tech teams. Our team has a group of engineers from over ten different countries. We value unity in diversity and even in our interviews, we have a diverse panel of interviewers as we want it to be a true representation of the diverse culture that we have at Deliveroo. I believe that every one of us (myself included) is a role model for the company and can set an example of the culture we are looking to build.

About Madhu Prashanth

A picture of Madhu Prashanth

Madhu is an Engineering Manager at Deliveroo. She has over two decade’s experience in solving challenging technical problems across telecommunication, finance and the education sector. Her global experience living and working across Europe and Asia ranges from launching brand new lending products to digitising the telecom industry and scaling products to billions of users at Capital One.

She’s a role model and a mentor to many women across the industry and is constantly looking to improve the representation of women in tech with a focus on shifting perceptions of what it takes to be a leader in Tech. As a career-driven mum of two young girls, Madhu strongly believes in diversity and encourages more women to take up Engineering roles. She’s an active member of the Women in Tech community at Deliveroo and tries to tackle this issue at the grass roots level by speaking at schools and encouraging more girls to get into STEM.