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What Worker-Friendly Product Design Looks Like Part I: Glovo

Nov 2, 2022 | Lessons Learned (the Hard Way) | 1 comment

By Mercy Mangeni

“It is interesting that people will often complain about the quality of service they receive from platform-based workers without ever having an understanding of the user interface (UI) from the perspective of the service provider, to understand how work is allocated or managed.” – Program Director, Jobtech Alliance.  Admittedly, most of us are likely to fall into this category of people. Very few of us can honestly say that we understand the driver view of a ride hailing app or the merchant’s view of an e-commerce platform or the skilled worker view from a care services platform etc.  In fact, I would argue that if more creators of gig platforms could spend a day with a service provider, say a driver, or a “fundi” or a courier, platforms would more likely be able to design user friendly apps, and become more empathetic to their user journey – a phenomenon referred to as designing empathetic technology (more on this coming in Part II). 

While many Jobtech Alliance readers will be familiar with the Fairwork principles, it can be difficult to understand through what this looks like in practice, beyond the more obvious things like size of pay. This article examines the UI of Glovo’s courier app to understand how it promotes worker friendliness; and some of the tenets that can be adopted or borrowed by platforms for offline work particularly the ride hailing, delivery or logistics platforms to  augment worker friendliness.  Glovo is consistently one of the highest scoring jobtech platforms in Fairwork ratings globally, and for example, in Kenya was ranked highest compared to nine other platforms in 2021. This article seeks to present what worker-friendly UI means in practice.

Credit: Glovo


Glovo was founded in 2015 and is headquartered in Spain. It is an on-demand courier service platform that supports purchasing, picks up, and delivery of products ordered through its mobile or web platforms. Couriers that own either cars, motorcycles or bikes are used to do deliveries.  The company operates in 25 markets across Southern Europe, Central Asia, and Africa. Glovo has directly employed over 3,500 employees, with over 74,000 couriers (platform workers) registered on its platform and expecting to hit a target of 240,000 couriers by the end of 2023. Recently, Glovo also launched its couriers pledge in the markets in which it operates. It is a pledge that the company is making towards upgrading its couriers’ social benefits. 

As such, this article assesses the functionalities included in the Glovo app, that increase worker friendliness.

Incorporating Specific Booking Windows

Glovo’s rider App allows couriers to pre-book specific slots under the calendar tab. This is unlike other platforms that are characterized by long working hours, which is often driven by long wait hours before work is allocated and at times a strategic push from the platforms themselves due to challenges in attrition. Particularly in Kenya, Glovo’s calendar booking opens every Mondays and Thursdays, 4:00 pm, where couriers are able to pre-book varying sized slots as small as one-hour, with guaranteed numbers of jobs based on the length of slots. This allows the couriers to plan accordingly depending on their availability to deliver the job. 

While being a more friendly model for drivers, this also makes sense for the platform. This enables the platform to offer high demand slots, which are usually determined by partner stores based on the number of orders received per location, wherein the traffic is highest. The platform incentivizes the couriers to book slots within the high demand windows by increasing the couriers’ excellence scores depending on the number of orders fulfilled within these time windows, and consequently earning more.  If the courier unbooks a slot, this affects their excellence score in terms of reliability. This shows that even in driver-friendly UI, some sticks are necessary as well as carrots.

By incorporating this functionality, platforms have the ability to increase stickiness on their platform, because platform workers are guaranteed to get work within the time slots that have been pre-booked, and which exponentially reduces the long wait hours before work is allocated. 

Incorporating a Transparent Excellence Score (Rating) System with Weighted Parameters

Glovo has implemented an excellence scoring system, wherein a courier is assigned a score of between 0 – 5 depending on various factors such as customer ratings and reviews, couriers’ reputation, reliability, absenteeism, among others. Glovo recently changed its excellence scoring formula, based on feedback from both its partners and couriers. By including the couriers in the feedback process, the platform is able to increase its worker friendliness aspects by ensuring that the platform workers feel included in the rating process, which affects their earnings. Couriers are incentivized to achieve a higher excellence score, because the higher the score, the higher up the courier is, in having access to book slots in the calendar.  Note that the platform’s algorithm does not reduce the excellence score of a courier for an inactive period of up to seven days. By incorporating this into the app, the platform encourages facets of rest and consequently improving the working conditions for its platform workers.

Further, the parameters that are included in the scoring formulae are not only weighted, but the weightage varies depending on the couriers’ location and the users or partners’ needs. This scoring formulae is clearly outlined and is unambiguous even for the couriers. This is unlike other platforms that is marred by secrecy around the algorithm that is used.

By incorporating this functionality, platforms have the probability of increasing trust between service providers (couriers) and the end users (customers). Based on a weighted rating system, platforms can ensure that they are able to customize their service provision depending on the needs and preferences of their uses in specific locations. This consequently increases the probability of the end user to become a repeat customer, which increases the bottom line of the company.

Incorporating Tenets of Fair Pay

Among the platforms that were evaluated by Fairwork in Kenya (2021), Glovo was the only platform that provided sufficient evidence to indicate that their  platform workers were paid above the statutory minimum wage level for their active working hours, after costs were considered. Glovo’s earnings takes into account the (a) base pay, which is a fixed rate depending on the city; (b) waiting time, which is counted after 5 mins of waiting and (c) the distance between delivery and pick up point. By disclosing this matrix, the app makes it easier for the couriers to predict and figure out their earnings per job unlike other platforms that operate in other markets. This augments the worker friendliness of the app. Specifically, in Kenya, couriers can earn an average of between KES 190 -210 per hour. Furthermore, in case a courier delivers a bundled order, that is delivery of two or more orders to various customers, they are given extra compensation.  

It is therefore important for creators of gig platforms to understand how worker friendly product design can be incorporated into their apps. By doing so, platforms are more likely to improve stickiness and reduce the rate of churn. To borrow a quote from Paul Brelof, CEO of Shortlist and member of the Jobtech Alliance steering group, “I think we’ll continue to see that many of the winners in jobtech will succeed only when, and not until, they get the tech vs. human touch balance just right”. 

This article sought to demonstrate what worker-friendly product design looks like. In Part II, we’ll share more about how to better build empathetic product management skills into your team.

The author is a Senior Venture Building Manager at the Jobtech Alliance

1 Comment

  1. Harrison Gitau

    Quite informative and well put. It was a pleasure reading this. Waiting for more of the same.

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