The Companies You Want to Work for in Asia in 2021

JULIE MUSILEK

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JULIE MUSILEK

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Fairness, pride and employee well-being stand out among the 2021 Best Workplaces in Asia™

Nine out of 10 employees at the Best Workplaces in Asia™ agree that they’re proud of their organization, take pride in their work, and feel welcomed when they first joined the company.  

Great Place to Work® has released its 2021 Best Workplaces in Asia List, showcasing 200 companies across 18 different industries, from information technology to manufacturing, to retail and financial services. 

The companies hail from 16 diverse countries and cultures: Bangladesh, Greater China (including China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan), India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Myanmar (Burma), Philippines, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Thailand UAE or Vietnam. Companies rank in three size categories: Small and Medium (10-499 employees); Large (500+); and Multinational.  

The company culture award highlights exceptional company cultures from multinational brands like shipping company DHL Express and hotelier Hilton (both held onto their 2020 first and second-place rankings in their size category, respectively) to Flagshiporchestra.Inc’s 35-person team in Japan in the small-medium business (SMB) category. 

Great Place to Work surveyed 3.3 million employees from over 1,000 companies across 16 countries in Asia and the Middle East to determine the list. As a result, 200 companies scoring high in their national lists went on to be named the best of the region. 

Several new entries made a list this year, including luxury retailer Chalhoub Group, telecom company Ericsson, medical device supplier Medtronic, and financial services brands American Express and Synchrony. All of these brands made it into the top 15 multinational workplaces in Asia. 

On average, companies named the Best Workplaces in Asia scored 10% better than those that only made it to the national list level — which is already an incredibly high bar as such workplaces are the best of the best in their own country.  

Compared to the national lists, the Best Workplaces in Asia had 15% more employees report: 

  • Receiving special and unique benefits  
  • Receiving a fair share of the profits made by the organization 
  • Feeling that management involves people in its decision-making 

Management is making a difference at the Best Large Workplaces in Asia

In the large category, PAP Community Foundation (Singapore), Talawakelle Tea Estates (Sri Lanka), and KB Kookmin Card (South Korea) claimed the top three spots.  

Compared to non-winners, the Best Large Workplaces in Asia had 21% more  employees saying: 

  • Management’s actions match its words 
  • Managers avoid playing favorites 

 

Image: PAP Community Foundation (PCF) Singapore #1 Asia’s Best Workplaces- Large

Best SMB Workplaces in Asia are honest, ethical and welcoming 

In the SMB category, Canva (Philippines), Charity Committee for Orphans Care (ENSAN) (Saudi Arabia) and THE One (UAE) claimed the top three spots. 

For employees at the Best SMB Workplaces in Asia, 

  • 93% report a warm welcome when employees join the company 
  • 92% believe management is ethical and sincere

Compared to non-winners, the Best SMB Workplaces also showed a commitment to fairness and transparency, with nearly 20% more employees agreeing that they: 

  • Receive a fair share of company profits 
  • They can ask management any question and get an honest answer 

 

Image: Canva Philippines #1 Asia’s Best Workplaces – Small and Medium Category

Wellbeing matters at all Best Workplaces in Asia 

COVID-19 brought health and safety front of mind for both employers and employees.  

In China, Hilton provided a live-stream lecture on return-to-work safety with the chief doctor of the Shanghai Centre for Disease Control and the director of infectious diseases at Huashan Hospital. Over 50,000 employees and their families and friends attended the sessions. 

In India, Medtronic introduced a vaccination program for employees and their families. Lighting company Signify has in-house doctors available 2-3 days per week. 

And in the Philippines, Canva is offering free COVID vaccinations for all employees and their household families.  

But Best Workplaces recognize that wellbeing is more than just physical health. They also create employee supports for everything from mental health to financial health. 

For businesses on national lists across Asia, 70% of employees said they experience wellbeing at work (defined by factors such as feeling cared for and believing their workplace is a psychologically and emotionally healthy place to work). But that number jumps even higher to 81% at the Best Workplaces in Asia.  

EY introduced hobby clubs to combat isolation and help employees feel more connected even while working from home, with 9,000 club members still actively participating. And across most of its Asia-Pacific countries, software provider SAS gave employees a paid Collective Mental Health Day so everyone could disconnect together.  

Employee innovation is sky-high at the Best Workplaces in Asia 

Innovation isn’t exclusive to tech industry giants like Facebook and Google. Any company can innovate at warp speed with the right mindset — one that fosters creativity and possibility. 

At the Best Workplaces in Asia, employees have twice the innovation experience than at non-winning organizations, as calculated through our Innovation Velocity Ratio (IVR). 

IVR is the ratio of which employees can innovate versus those held back and describes an organization’s ability to quickly harness, mobilize and respond to new information and ideas. 

At the 200 Best Workplaces in Asia, the IVR is 10:2, meaning for every ten employees able to innovate, two are experiencing friction. In contrast, non-winning workplaces show an IVR of 5:2 — for every five employees able to innovate, two are held back. 

Why should employers aim to be named among Best Workplaces? 

Around the globe, the fact remains the same: workplaces that are great for people are also great for business.  

For example, our research has found that businesses with a culture of innovation that encourages all employees achieve 5.5x the revenue growth. And employee wellbeing has been shown to precede financial performance, rather than the other way around. 

For the Best Workplaces in Asia, factors such as wellbeing, innovation, pride, and fairness are elevating them above the competition. These employers know that thriving company cultures lead to thriving businesses.   

Sign up for our monthly newsletter  to learn how other Best Workplaces around the globe are creating company cultures worth copying.  

JULIE MUSILEK

Julie Musilek is the director of customer lifecycle and education at Great Place to Work®. Julie brings insights and expertise built over 20+ years in the people and culture space to help companies create great workplaces. Julie co-authored many Great Place to Work reports including “Millennials in the Workplace” and “Defining the World’s Best Workplaces,” as well as DEI action guides for leaders including “Hidden Pieces of the D&I Puzzle.”

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.