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



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.




Great Place To Work identifies Best Workplaces in Asia™ by surveying 2.1 million employees in Asia and the Middle East about the key factors that create great workplaces for all and analyzing company workplace programs impacting 5.9 million employees in the region.

To be considered, companies must first be identified as outstanding in their local region by appearing on one or more of our Best Workplaces lists in Bahrain, Greater China (including China, Hong Kong and Taiwan), India, Indonesia, Japan, Kuwait, Oman, Philippines, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Korea, Sri Lanka, UAE, Vietnam during 2022 or early 2023.

Companies rank in three size categories: Small and Medium (10-499 employees); Large (500+); and Multinational. Multinational organizations are also assessed on their efforts to create great workplaces across multiple countries in the region. They must appear on at least two national lists in Asia and the Middle East and have at least 1,000 employees worldwide with at least 40% (or 5,000+) of those employees located outside the headquarters country.

To determine the 2022 Vietnam Best Workplaces™, Great Place To Work®️ analyzed confidential survey feedback representing nearly 20,000 employees across different industries in Vietnam. Employees responded to over 60 survey questions describing the extent to which their organization creates a Great Place To Work For All™️.

85% of the evaluation is based on what employees say about their experiences of trust and reaching their full human potential as part of their organization, no matter who they are or what they do. Great Place To Work analyzes these experiences relative to each organization’s size, workforce make up, and what’s typical in their industry. The remaining 15% of the rank is based on an assessment of all employees’ daily experiences of innovation, the company’s values, and the effectiveness of their leaders, to ensure they’re consistently experienced.

To be considered, companies had to meet the Great Place To Work-Certified™ standard. To ensure survey results truly represent all employees, Great Place To Work requires that Trust Index©️ survey results are accurate to a 95% confidence level with a 5% margin of error or better. We review any anomalies in survey responses, news and financial performance to ensure there aren’t any extraordinary reasons to believe we couldn’t trust a company’s survey results. 

Companies with 10-99 people were considered for the Small category, companies with 100-999 people were considered for the Medium category and companies with 1000+ people were considered for the Large category.