Embrace AI, Build Perseverance, Embed Well-being – 3 Things to Adopt in the Future of Work

Great Place To Work® ASEAN and ANZ Summit team

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Great Place To Work® ASEAN and ANZ Summit team

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From 7-9 May 2024, our team from Great Place To Work® ASEAN and ANZ attended the 19th annual Great Place To Work For All™ Summit held in New Orleans. The theme of the Summit was “Change Happens Here” – an apt and evocative phrase to remind attendees that each one of us can make a difference.

The Summit offered multiple platforms and opportunities for attendees to learn. These included mainstage keynote presentations and panel discussions featuring well-known speakers and thought leaders. Breakout sessions covered diverse topics on workplace culture and employee experience, featuring company examples and practical tips from Great Place To Work clients. To facilitate opportunities for networking, peer learning and dialogue, the Great Place To Work team and conference attendees hosted multiple braindate sessions for interested parties to sign up.

Our team’s reflections can be condensed into these three key takeaways:

1. Embrace AI for a more equitable future

Many people view the impending growth of artificial intelligence (AI) in our daily lives and work with some ambivalence. This is the same for business leaders – while there are clear benefits, there are also questions about AI’s impact on how jobs will be done, how decisions will be made, and what the future holds. Some look forward to leveraging AI while others are hesitant about it encroaching deeper into our lives.

In his keynote, Michael C. Bush, Global CEO, Great Place To Work, spoke about shaping a future of equitable AI. In our fast-paced world today, people tend to think zero-sum game. For one person to gain, someone else must lose; for me to get a bigger slice of the pie, it means you have to get a smaller slice. This creates a scarcity mindset and limits our ability to tackle complex challenges.

Bush asked the audience to imagine planning for the next 500 years. This type of long-term perspective encourages us to think about collective well-being, fostering an environment where everyone benefits from everyone else’s success. It’s about creating a community where respect, fairness, and honesty aren’t just ideals but practical realities. He says, “When you think about 500 years, you realize that everyone does better when everyone does better. It’s as simple as that.”

In this regard, he believes that “machines equal hope… machines can optimize outcomes for all. Machines will think zero-sum thinking makes no sense, so they will not do it.” Unlike humans, machines do not have self-interest and operate without biases that can lead to short-sighted decisions. This makes them ideal helpers in striving for outcomes that benefit everyone over time, even centuries into the future.

As we integrate AI into our lives and workplaces today, it’s vital to embrace and understand this technology by encouraging one another (and the younger generation) to learn how AI can prepare us for a future where technology supports our collective success. Together, we can bake more pie.

2. Don’t quit on a bad day

Chances are you would have heard of Angela Duckworth and her bestselling book “Grit”. Speaking on Grit and what it means in building great workplaces, she emphasizes the critical role of supportive relationships and a positive workplace culture. “It’s forged through relationships,” Duckworth says. “I don’t think you can express or develop grit if you don’t have a great place to work.”

She defines Grit as a mix of passion and perseverance, and attributes it as the real driver of success. Rather than the hours spent practicing a skill, she asserts that it’s the quality of that practice that makes the difference.

And the good news is, Grit can be nurtured and developed through deliberate practice:

  • Deciding on a small sub-skill to practice
    (It’s perfectly fine to take baby steps to reach the finish line)
  • Practicing with 100% focus
    (The emails and messages can wait)
  • Getting feedback and reflecting
    (We all need feedback. Without it, human beings don’t learn)

 

The essence of Grit and advocating for unwavering determination was summed up in Duckworth’s advice that if you want to quit, do it on a good day. Rather than rage quitting (or “quiet quitting”/“rage applying” happening in recent years) she says that we shouldn’t quit on a bad day (don’t let that bad day triumph!). Instead, she cautions us to make that decision on a good day, so we’re not clouded by our emotions. In the meantime, practice Grit.

3. Don’t be afraid to stop and hit Reset

Another panel speaker that struck a chord with many of us was Arianna Huffington, CEO of Thrive Global. Set against today’s climate where businesses and individuals face macro pressures and micro stresses, she taught us the human need to Reset. Unlike mechanical operating systems where we aim to minimize downtime, for the human operating system, “downtime is a feature, not a bug” and that “health is what happens between doctors visits”.

Stress is inevitable, but cumulative stress is avoidable. While most companies have some form of employee wellness programs or employee assistance programs which are greatly beneficial, Huffington says it’s crucial to have interventions that are part of daily workflows. To illustrate how this can be done, she shared about Thrive Global’s partnership with Synchrony, a Best Workplace™ in many countries, to co-design well-being initiatives across the organization.

As part of this initiative, well-being is integrated directly into the daily lives and workflow of frontline customer service associates, who represent a majority of the company’s workforce. The process of taking back-to-back customer calls and resolving disputes can be intense. To help them break the cycle of cumulative stress between calls, Thrive Resets (a 60-second science-backed break) are pushed to associates directly in their flow of work. These comprise short mindfulness and breathing exercises to re-center themselves after a tough customer call. Impressively, almost 80% of agents at Synchrony said they would rather get a 60-second reset than have 5-minutes to themselves between calls.

As part of her sharing, Huffington shared her own 60-second Reset video comprising a compendium of her favorite moments (her hometown, pictures of her children) and inspiring quotes. As she walked off stage that morning, she left many of us feeling inspired to create our own videos to embed a 60-second Reset into our daily lives.

This blog merely touches the tip of the iceberg. By the end of the Summit, our team left feeling enriched by the insights shared and inspired by the solutions and strategies that some of the most innovative organizations are employing, to meet the changing needs of their people and business in the most challenging times. We recognized that each of us, in our respective roles and markets, could make a difference in our work to benefit our clients, our colleagues and our culture.

We were also reminded of the quote from Maya Angelou that goes “Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.”  Change did indeed happen there, for us.

 

Interested to take the first step to understand what your employees are experiencing at work today?

Click here to find out how.

 

Great Place To Work® ASEAN and ANZ Summit team

Great Place To Work® is the global authority on workplace culture. Our mission is to help every place become a great place to work for all. We give leaders and organizations the recognition and tools to create a consistently and overwhelmingly positive employee experience, fostering cultures that are proven to drive business, improve lives, and better society. Our recognition is the most coveted and respected in the world for elevating employer brands to attract the right people. Our proprietary methodology and platform enables organizations to truly capture, analyze, and understand the experience of all employees. Our groundbreaking research empowers organizations to build cultures that retain talent and unlock the potential of every employee. Our coaches, content, and community connect the boldest leaders, ideas, and innovations in employee experience. Since 1992, our Certification™, Best Workplaces™ Lists, and global benchmarks have become the industry standard, built on data from more than 100 million employees in 150 countries around the world.

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.