How Best Workplaces™ Respond Differently During the Pandemic: Inclusive Leadership







Last week we shared the first of five key differences between Best Workplaces and the Rest in the face of the pandemic, building a trust-based agile culture. The second key difference that emerged from our analysis is inclusive leadership.

Best Workplaces have inclusive leadership practices that create psychological safety and promote a sense of belonging to bring people through rapid changes effectively, while limiting stress.

Inclusion, Belonging and Psychological Safety

In our Great Place to Work study of Asia companies in 2019, we found that creating an inclusive work environment was critical in enabling psychological safety and belonging. To examine inclusive leadership in 2020, we looked closely at how employees rated their workplace experiences with regards to the factors of Inclusion, Belonging and Psychological Safety.

In times of uncertainty, Inclusion can be critical as management decisions in response to the crisis can impact employees differently based on demographics such as job type, income and organization level. This was true in 2020, as we read about differences in experiences for employees who had to work from home compared with those working on-site and on the frontlines. For example, employees who were working from home and were parents of school-aged children, caretakers for elderly parents, or both, may have required greater flexibility to take unscheduled breaks during standard work hours, compared to those who were not.

Leaders who created an inclusive environment, by connecting with all their people and understanding their diverse needs, were in a better position to manage the changes resulting from COVID-19, and anticipate and respond to potential disparate impacts.

With the move to work from home, Best Workplaces saw their people managers needing to quickly adapt to managing split teams and a remote workforce, while they adjusted to their own personal changes. Best Workplaces anticipated this change and were intentional in supporting their people managers to be inclusive and empathetic leaders, by providing on-line guides and training resources, and conducting virtual workshops and forums for people managers to learn, share and problem solve together.

Spotlight on Best Workplaces 


Salesforce was intentional about communicating with their people leaders to ensure they were set up to lead with trust and empathy, and enable focus and contribution. This included hosting bi-weekly ‘All Leaders Calls’, and issuing a ‘Lead the Way’ email update to help deliver relevant guidance and resources. They also held ‘Manager Circles’ – peer-led roundtable sessions where managers could learn from and support one another in finding new solutions to managerial challenges.

Cisco supported their ASEAN-region people leaders by holding an engagement session on team well-being, to discuss what exemplary leadership looks and feels like, and what resilience means in the face of great uncertainty.

Looking Ahead

As Singapore workplaces reopen and COVID-19 restrictions are relaxed, leaders will not be able to simply revert to their old ways of managing teams. The more inclusive approach of leading others in a way that celebrates diversity, fosters belonging and ensures psychological safety, will likely be expected as a new norm. Perhaps one positive outcome of the pandemic will be a stronger focus on creating a great workplace for all.


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.

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.