How great workplaces build an eco-system of equity as part of their workplace culture

Evelyn Kwek

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PAMELA SNG

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VALENTINA LWIN-BAILEY

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EVELYN KWEK, PAMELA SNG AND VALENTINA LWIN-BAILEY

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Leaders at great workplaces recognize the importance of building a For All™ culture to maximize human potential, which in turn enables their businesses to remain agile and competitive amidst the fast-paced and challenging macro environment. They establish a foundation of trust based on equitable workplace practices that take into account the varied lived experiences of their employees. This includes supporting people processes, such as hiring and facilitating development, being accountable to other leaders, and standing firm on promoting inclusion, equity and leveraging the value of diversity.

So how do these workplaces cast a wide net to unleash and maximize human potential?

They are intentional in the following leadership practices and behaviors:

  • Ensuring equity
    Leaders are accountable to ensure equity in all business and people processes. People processes cover the different aspects of an employee’s experience in equitable hiring, pay, promotions, and allocation of development and coaching resources.
  • Building belonging
    This refers to intentional efforts in the company’s practices that target different people and their unique needs, while making each employee feel valued and central in the company’s culture.
  • Understanding value and use of the uniqueness
    This is when a company understands and values what makes individuals unique, finding ways to meet those unique needs and leveraging unique experiences and talents for the betterment of the business.
  • For All leader
    Great workplaces intentionally establish systems to hire, develop and hold accountable a range of great leaders, and being able to express a clear stance on what a For All leader means in their organization.

How can organizations enable gender equity in the workplace?

  • Establish recruitment practices to mitigate gender bias, and give opportunities to non-traditional sources of talent
  • Build belonging, leverage employee networks and develop resources to support women’s life/career stage needs
  • Implement flexible work arrangements and related policies and practices that support work-life needs
  • Facilitate the development and career progression of women talent
  • Train managers to be For All leaders
  • Support victims of gender-based domestic violence
  • Address the gender pay gap and work towards gender pay equity
  • Crack the gender code at an industry level

How can individuals support gender equity in the workplace?

  • Listen more than you speak: For example, in meetings, ensure that everybody has sufficient opportunities to speak, that nobody is talked over or consistently interrupted, and that credit goes to the originator of a good point.
  • Coach and mentor women: Being in a leadership position offers the incumbent a means and the power to coach and mentor others. Both men and women leaders have the chance to step up and make an impact.
  • Speak up when women are excluded or overlooked at the workplace.
  • Avoid the merit trap: Individuals can check their personal assumptions and reflect on their use of ‘merit’ to ensure that decisions being made are not influenced by their biases or based on unspoken rules governed by masculine defaults.
  • Be a Champion for Change in the broader community: Both men and women leaders can be champions of change within their networks and respective spheres of influence. They can increase opportunities for female participation in the workforce, facilitate women in leadership positions, and drive organization-wide gender strategies such as pay equity.
  • Step out of the comfort zone: Women who are keen to be part of the leadership pipeline can take the initiative by consciously stepping out of their comfort zones to proactively develop their professional expertise, build their profiles and persona as subject matter experts and create more visibility by speaking at conferences.

Enabling gender equity is not a one-off effort

Beyond IWD 2023, beyond ensuring equity for women, progressive workplaces continually work to create an ecosystem of equity: they ensure that women (and all other groups of employees) enjoy equity in representation, equity in opportunities, equity in compensation and equity in well-being.

Building a supportive culture that sustains and reinforces these efforts requires individual leaders and employees at every level within the organization to step-up and support their women colleagues, in both small and big ways, through their day-to-day actions and behaviors. Individuals can also play a part to extend their impact beyond their workplaces, by adding their voices to the wider community and advocate for both gender equity and equality at an industry and/or the national level.

Together we can work towards building great workplaces that are better for business, better for people, and better for the world. Together, we can #EmbraceEquity for IWD 2023 and beyond.

Click to read the full IWD 2023 Report on how organizations and individuals can enable and support gender equity in the workplace.

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Evelyn Kwek

Evelyn is the Managing Director for Great Place to Work®️ in ASEAN and ANZ. Heading the expansion of Great Place to Work®️ offices in ASEAN, Evelyn is convinced that just as the region is growing exponentially on the economic front, the work of building great workplaces For All™ must go in tandem with economic growth.

A proud mother of 3, Evelyn takes parenting very seriously – she is strict yet giving, result-focused yet generous. Together with husband Roland, they relish exploring new cultures and beautiful places of the world, usually on leisurely self-drive holidays, before the days of Covid.

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 numbers and words, she’s probably immersed in a new K-drama or catching up with friends over a virtual drinks session.

VALENTINA LWIN-BAILEY

Valentina brings 25 years of experience in organisational development, people and culture, and teaching and training experience from across higher education, government and private sectors in Australia and Myanmar (Burma). In the past 15+ years, she has been focused on employee engagement, workplace culture, leadership development and strategic planning. Her recent HR leadership roles included heading up functional HR teams in large and complex organisations, including crisis management during the pandemic and political unrest. She exercises her passion for people development by teaching, mentoring and coaching young HR professionals in the areas of HR, management and career planning. Valentina is a strong advocate for full-person wellness, and achieves balance through yoga, outdoor activities, cooking and enjoys spending time with family and friends.

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.