Being Purpose Driven and People First makes an Organization Greater: Learn from Asia’s Best Workplaces

PAMELA SNG

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PAMELA SNG

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12 August 2021 marked our inaugural GREATER conference, Purpose Driven, People First. About 140 participants from Great Place to Work-Certified™ companies in Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore and Vietnam attended this virtual event.

“We are proud to launch GREATER to connect this community of like-minded individuals.” says Evelyn Kwek, Managing Director of Great Place to Work® ASEAN/ANZ. “It is hard work to build a high-trust workplace culture. It takes consistency, discipline and a deep commitment to listen to your people. So it is our hope that at this forum, you find a community to support your journey in creating great workplace experiences for all.”

Our speakers emphasized the importance of putting employees first, before all else. When employees know that their leaders have their interests at heart, feel that they are cared for, and believe that their physical, mental and emotional wellbeing truly matter, then will they be able to give of their best, and band together to forge ahead through difficult times:

Keynote speaker, Christopher Ong, Senior Vice President and Managing Director of DHL Express Singapore, kicked-off the event by sharing DHL’s approach to cultivating a values-driven culture and instilling a strong sense of purpose by equipping managers with the necessary knowledge and skills to cascade this across the organization.

He also shared how DHL went the extra mile to address employee needs and safety concerns promptly amidst rapid changes in government regulations and disruptions to the business across the region. As employees personally experienced their leaders’ responsiveness and authentic care, employee engagement scores increased and DHL saw a spike in operating profit from 2019 to 2020, and into the first half of 2021.

Michael Whyte, General Manager, Philippines and Vice President, Customer Engagement Network, APAC, American Express shared on Colleague Wellbeing. Amex’s people strategy is based on their conviction that the best way to back their customers is to back their people, and this drove management decisions and behaviors when Covid-19 struck.

Firstly, they shut down business operations and prioritized employee safety. Secondly, they increased employee engagement efforts through a variety of communication and listening platforms to stay connected and address ground concerns. Thirdly, they developed a dedicated Covid-19 program with expanded benefits to address holistic employee wellbeing, and focused efforts on reinforcing Amex’s culture through employee interest groups and virtual activities.

Chris Lee, President of Medtronic APAC presented on Inclusive Leadership. He shared the six common traits of inclusive leaders – visible commitment, humility, awareness of bias, curiosity about others, cultural intelligence and effective collaboration.

With a firm belief that consistent and authentic actions matter more than grand gestures, he strove to embody these traits in his daily actions and interactions. These included opening lines of communication to allow greater accessibility and honest responses; creating a culture that appreciates diversity through APAC-wide talent exchange programs, meetings and knowledge sharing; valuing ideas and rewarding collaboration via innovative platforms and employee-led initiatives; as well as being empathetic and going the extra mile to create a sense of belonging and support employees during the Covid pandemic. In APAC, employee engagement scores improved year on year even during the peak of the Covid pandemic.

The panel discussion featured winners from each of the three size categories in Asia’s Best Workplaces™ 2021 List – keynote speaker Christopher Ong, Victor Bay, CEO of PAP Community Foundation and Vanson So, Country HR Head of Canva Philippines. Facilitated by Evelyn, panelists shared what it meant to them to be ranked as one of Asia’s Best Workplaces, key challenges over the past year and how these were overcome, and their organizations’ strategic people priorities going forward. A common theme running through the discussion was a focus on employee wellbeing – from safety concerns to healthcare and mental wellbeing, adapting to new ways of working, and creating accessible high touch platforms to enable leaders to reach out and connect with employees. Panelists were unanimous in their agreement that their people were the priority, and their commitment to continue to invest in their care and support.

We would like to thank our Great Place to Work-Certified™ companies in Asia for their participation at our very first GREATER Conference, and look forward to working together to build a better world by helping organizations become great workplaces For All™.

“(We) had an insightful and impactful session yesterday with like-minded companies who put people first… Thank you Great Place To Work® Philippines for inviting us to your event and we look forward to more in the future.”

– Rudyard Von de Leon, Site Leader of Western Union’s Global Strategic Talent Center, Philippines

“It’s great that GPTW had arranged this platform, allowing the industry partners to Engage and learn from each other on their best practices. With the learning, we hope to make our workplace an even Greater place to Work in.”

-David Seah, Micron

“It was a great session and I learnt a lot from the sharing of our speakers. I especially like the sharing of DHL. That was very helpful.”

-Tran Thuy Trang, Deloitte

GREATER is an exclusive community for the leaders of Great Place to Work-Certified™ companies in the ASEAN region. It aims be a forum for participants to network with and learn from one another, as they create great workplace experiences for all their employees.
Take your first step to joining the GREATER community by getting certified as a Great Place to Work™. For more information, click here.

PAMELA SNG

Pamela is our Senior Consultant and Research Lead for Great Place To Work® ASEAN and ANZ. She has over two decades of consulting and policy experience helping organizations in their journey to become fair and progressive employers. She believes that every organization has the potential to be a great workplace, and works with data to distil insights and develop resources to help them. When she’s not burrowing down the rabbit hole of words and numbers, she’s probably immersed in a new K-drama or enjoying a good meal with family and friends. 

The data science behind this list from Great Place To Work®

Great Place To Work® has been surveying employees around the world about their workplace experiences for 30 years. We have developed a set of themes and metrics that not only predict whether employees feel their workplace is great, but predict retention, agility, and overall business success.  

Using our proprietary Trust Index™ survey, we measure the core of what we know creates great workplaces — key behaviors that drive trust in management, connection with colleagues, and loyalty to the company.  

The survey enables employees to share confidential quantitative and qualitative feedback about their organization’s culture by responding to 60 statements on a five-point scale and answering two open-ended questions.

Employees tell us whether leaders are accessible, communicate honestly and clearly, and if their actions match their words. They tell us whether they feel respected as individuals, if they receive training benefits, appreciation, support for their well-being and opportunities to contribute. They tell us whether they believe their company is fair related to pay, profits, promotions, recognition, favoritism and opportunities. They tell us if they are proud of their work, their team, and their company, and if they feel they make a difference and their work is meaningful. And they tell us whether they enjoy the people they work with, feel cared for and can be themselves.  

List rankings are based on this employee feedback, which we analyze to determine the extent to which this experience is shared by the full workforce. Great Place To Work measures the differences in survey responses across demographic groups and roles within each organization to assess both the quality and consistency of the employee experience. Statements are weighted according to their relevance in describing the most important aspects of an equitable workplace. 

The best companies create great work experiences not just for management, but also for their part-time employees on the front lines, for those who’ve just joined and those who’ve spent their whole career there, for every race and ethnicity, gender, neurotype, or other demographic in the organization – we look at it all. Companies with the broadest set of employees who report positive workplace experience receive the highest rankings on lists.

In addition to analyzing employee feedback, for National List’s for companies in the Medium and Large size categories, we also consider what a company can tell us about their programs and workplace strategy. Each company also answers six essay questions that provide greater insight into how, and why the organization is great for all people. Responses are rigorously evaluated and cross-reviewed according to Great Place To Work’s research-driven criteria. From what companies share in datapoints and essays, we identify the organizations that offer the most generous, caring and innovative cultures that reflect a genuine commitment to meet the diversity of their people’s needs inside and outside the workplace as validated by what employees themselves report in survey results.
Where an industry list is being revealed (i.e. Healthcare, Technology) additional information provided from an organization in the form of a culture audit will not be considered; rather we analyze employee feedback from the Trust Index survey with the above methodology.

Because employee feedback drives these rankings, surveys must meet strict requirements for how they are distributed and the percentage of employees who respond to ensure they accurately represent honest feedback from the company’s full population. To be eligible for the list, companies must be Great Place To Work Certified™, have 10 or more employees in the country they are being Certified, and be operating in the industry relevant to a specific Industry list if applicable (i.e. Healthcare, Technology). If categories are being listed within a National list, category break downs are as follows: Companies with 10-29 people were considered for the Micro category; those with 30 to 99 people for the Small category; companies with 100 to 999 employees were considered for the Medium category; and those with 1,000 or more for the Large category. Some lists in certain countries may combine categories in which case that will be specified in the list breakdown.
While essay responses provide important context for rankings, only survey data can garner a list placement.

The data science behind this list from Great Place To Work®

Great Place To Work® has been surveying employees around the world about their workplace experiences for 30 years. We have developed a set of themes and metrics that not only predict whether employees feel their workplace is great, but predict retention, agility, and overall business success.  

Using our proprietary Trust Index™ survey, we measure the core of what we know creates great workplaces — key behaviors that drive trust in management, connection with colleagues, and loyalty to the company.  

The survey enables employees to share confidential quantitative and qualitative feedback about their organization’s culture by responding to 60 statements on a five-point scale and answering two open-ended questions.

Employees tell us whether leaders are accessible, communicate honestly and clearly, and if their actions match their words. They tell us whether they feel respected as individuals, if they receive training benefits, appreciation, support for their well-being and opportunities to contribute. They tell us whether they believe their company is fair related to pay, profits, promotions, recognition, favoritism and opportunities. They tell us if they are proud of their work, their team, and their company, and if they feel they make a difference and their work is meaningful. And they tell us whether they enjoy the people they work with, feel cared for and can be themselves.  

List rankings are based on this employee feedback, which we analyze to determine the extent to which this experience is shared by the full workforce. Great Place To Work measures the differences in survey responses across demographic groups and roles within each organization to assess both the quality and consistency of the employee experience. Statements are weighted according to their relevance in describing the most important aspects of an equitable workplace. 

The best companies create great work experiences not just for management, but also for their part-time employees on the front lines, for those who’ve just joined and those who’ve spent their whole career there, for every race and ethnicity, gender, neurotype, or other demographic in the organization – we look at it all. Companies with the broadest set of employees who report positive workplace experience receive the highest rankings on lists.

In addition to analyzing employee feedback, for National List’s for companies in the Medium and Large size categories, we also consider what a company can tell us about their programs and workplace strategy. Each company also answers six essay questions that provide greater insight into how, and why the organization is great for all people. Responses are rigorously evaluated and cross-reviewed according to Great Place To Work’s research-driven criteria. From what companies share in datapoints and essays, we identify the organizations that offer the most generous, caring and innovative cultures that reflect a genuine commitment to meet the diversity of their people’s needs inside and outside the workplace as validated by what employees themselves report in survey results.
Where an industry list is being revealed (i.e. Healthcare, Technology) additional information provided from an organization in the form of a culture audit will not be considered; rather we analyze employee feedback from the Trust Index survey with the above methodology.

Because employee feedback drives these rankings, surveys must meet strict requirements for how they are distributed and the percentage of employees who respond to ensure they accurately represent honest feedback from the company’s full population. To be eligible for the list, companies must be Great Place To Work Certified™, have 10 or more employees in the country they are being Certified, and be operating in the industry relevant to a specific Industry list if applicable (i.e. Healthcare, Technology). If categories are being listed within a National list, category break downs are as follows: Companies with 10-29 people were considered for the Micro category; those with 30 to 99 people for the Small category; companies with 100 to 999 employees were considered for the Medium category; and those with 1,000 or more for the Large category. Some lists in certain countries may combine categories in which case that will be specified in the list breakdown.
While essay responses provide important context for rankings, only survey data can garner a list placement.

The data science behind this list from Great Place To Work®

Great Place To Work® has been surveying employees around the world about their workplace experiences for 30 years. We have developed a set of themes and metrics that not only predict whether employees feel their workplace is great, but predict retention, agility, and overall business success.  

Using our proprietary Trust Index™ survey, we measure the core of what we know creates great workplaces — key behaviors that drive trust in management, connection with colleagues, and loyalty to the company.  

The survey enables employees to share confidential quantitative and qualitative feedback about their organization’s culture by responding to 60 statements on a five-point scale and answering two open-ended questions.

Employees tell us whether leaders are accessible, communicate honestly and clearly, and if their actions match their words. They tell us whether they feel respected as individuals, if they receive training benefits, appreciation, support for their well-being and opportunities to contribute. They tell us whether they believe their company is fair related to pay, profits, promotions, recognition, favoritism and opportunities. They tell us if they are proud of their work, their team, and their company, and if they feel they make a difference and their work is meaningful. And they tell us whether they enjoy the people they work with, feel cared for and can be themselves.  

List rankings are based on this employee feedback, which we analyze to determine the extent to which this experience is shared by the full workforce. Great Place To Work measures the differences in survey responses across demographic groups and roles within each organization to assess both the quality and consistency of the employee experience. Statements are weighted according to their relevance in describing the most important aspects of an equitable workplace. 

The best companies create great work experiences not just for management, but also for their part-time employees on the front lines, for those who’ve just joined and those who’ve spent their whole career there, for every race and ethnicity, gender, neurotype, or other demographic in the organization – we look at it all. Companies with the broadest set of employees who report positive workplace experience receive the highest rankings on lists.

In addition to analyzing employee feedback, for National List’s for companies in the Medium and Large size categories, we also consider what a company can tell us about their programs and workplace strategy. Each company also answers six essay questions that provide greater insight into how, and why the organization is great for all people. Responses are rigorously evaluated and cross-reviewed according to Great Place To Work’s research-driven criteria. From what companies share in datapoints and essays, we identify the organizations that offer the most generous, caring and innovative cultures that reflect a genuine commitment to meet the diversity of their people’s needs inside and outside the workplace as validated by what employees themselves report in survey results.
Where an industry list is being revealed (i.e. Healthcare, Technology) additional information provided from an organization in the form of a culture audit will not be considered; rather we analyze employee feedback from the Trust Index survey with the above methodology.

Because employee feedback drives these rankings, surveys must meet strict requirements for how they are distributed and the percentage of employees who respond to ensure they accurately represent honest feedback from the company’s full population. To be eligible for the list, companies must be Great Place To Work Certified™, have 10 or more employees in the country they are being Certified, and be operating in the industry relevant to a specific Industry list if applicable (i.e. Healthcare, Technology). If categories are being listed within a National list, category break downs are as follows: Companies with 10-29 people were considered for the Micro category; those with 30 to 99 people for the Small category; companies with 100 to 999 employees were considered for the Medium category; and those with 1,000 or more for the Large category. Some lists in certain countries may combine categories in which case that will be specified in the list breakdown.
While essay responses provide important context for rankings, only survey data can garner a list placement.