With over 30 years’ of research, Great Place To Work® has found that companies with high-trust cultures reap the benefits of lower employee turnover, increased levels of innovation, customer satisfaction, employee engagement, and more.1
In the words of Michael C. Bush, Great Place To Work Global CEO, “We live in an economy that is about connectivity, innovation and human qualities like passion, character, and collaboration.” As economies open post-pandemic and contend with complexities in the global economy – rising costs, disrupted supply chain, geopolitical tensions – the key for organizations to succeed is to maximize human potential through leadership effectiveness, values, and trust. With these in place, innovation and financial growth will take place. And together, these comprise the characteristics of a Great Place To Work For All™, or what we call a For All culture. So, while trust fuels business performance at great workplaces, For All accelerates it.2
In 2022, we surveyed close to 146,000 individuals representing 260,000 employees in seven countries across ASEAN* through the Great Place To Work Trust Index™ Survey. Employee responses spanned a wide range of industries and company sizes, including both local enterprises and multinational companies. Their voices serve as a rich source of information as we analyze the data to identify key drivers of a positive employee experience and how it builds a high-trust workplace culture.
(*Countries included in the overall analysis comprise Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam.)
This is the first in a series of blogs showcasing how the some of the Best Workplaces across the region exemplified the five elements of the Great Place To Work For Al™ Model, to build a high-trust workplace culture for all their employees.
Every employee has three key relationships in the workplace. These are the employee’s relationship with management, their relationship with colleagues, and their relationship with their respective jobs. It is the quality of these relationships that determine whether a company is a great place to work. Trust is built—and reinforced—when employees have consistently positive experiences in these relationships. Best Workplaces consistently build a high-trust workplace culture regardless of employee size, demographics and industry.
The Great Place To Work Trust Index Survey assesses the quality of relationships across the five dimensions of a great workplace; namely Credibility, Respect, Fairness, Pride and Camaraderie.
The companies comprised those which are ranked on the Best Workplaces lists in their respective countries, Great Place To Work Certified companies as well as average companies.
Insights across ASEAN
Across different countries in ASEAN, our analysis identified four key drivers of high-trust workplaces:
1. Employee engagement and communication
Firstly, we found that companies where leaders prioritized open communication and built a collaborative relationship with employees had higher Trust Index scores. Specifically, leaders in these companies proactively sought employee suggestions and ideas through a variety of approaches and platforms, involved them in decision-making (especially around their jobs and work environment), were perceived as approachable, open to questions and willing to give straight answers.
2. Management support and care
Secondly, companies where leaders consciously built a psychologically and emotionally healthy work environment were able to cultivate higher trust than those where this was not prevalent. Specifically, these leaders showed a genuine interest in their people beyond “just an employee”, demonstrated appreciation for good work and extra effort, and celebrated those who tried new and better ways of doing things while accepting honest mistakes as part of doing business.
3. Fair and impartial treatment
Thirdly, these companies had fair employment policies and practices which were clearly communicated and consistently implemented across the organization. In particular, there were objective, merit-based criteria to ensure fair promotions and recognition opportunities, and an open and transparent culture where politics and backstabbing were nipped in the bud. Importantly, employees were given fair recourse if they appealed against unfair decisions or discriminatory behaviors.
4. Sense of camaraderie
Lastly, these workplaces tended to be characterized by a warm and friendly culture where employees experienced a sense of welcome from their first day of work, and employees felt “right at home” even when they transferred to new teams or workgroups. Cooperation was high, and employees experienced authentic relationships which enabled them to feel that they could bring their whole selves to work. Simply put, in these companies, employees enjoyed being with one another.
Through our analysis of data at a country-level, we identified the top three factors that contributed to high-trust workplace cultures. While there were some common areas, there were variances driven by each country’s socio-economic context, values, and cultural norms:
So how do Best Workplaces in ASEAN intentionally cultivate high-trust workplace cultures? We found that leaders in Best Workplaces are intentional in their efforts. They tend to have an overarching people-focused approach or philosophy which integrates these efforts and drive all their policies, programs and practices. They monitor progress by keeping an ear to the ground, and proactively tackle identified gaps.
Diageo Indonesia has a purpose-driven culture where values shape both its business and people strategy and this is evident in its people programs. The company aims to champion inclusion and diversity across its business: from the way it attracts, develops, retains and recruits the very best diverse talent, to the way it sources services and progressively portrays diversity through its brands. With it comes the focus to remove barriers, while having a positive impact on its partners, suppliers and communities. Diageo’s commitment to supporting gender equality through representation, policy development and transparency has enabled it to set a goal of 50% female representation by 2030.
Last year, the company launched Menopause Guidelines to raise awareness and understanding of menopause throughout the business; this provided increased flexibility (including changing working patterns, or access to sick pay entitlements to manage symptoms where appropriate) and access to counselling or mindfulness sessions through its Employee Assistance Program. In the same year, it also launched its policy on Domestic and Family Abuse, to foster a supportive environment for any employee experiencing domestic and family abuse, so that they feel safe to seek help. The workplace can be a place of refuge for employees, and the company recognizes that the physical, psychological, and financial effects of domestic and family abuse are overwhelming for those experiencing it, as well as for their close family, friends and colleagues.
Diageo also strengthened its performance management framework from annual to quarterly goal-setting, to help the teams adapt faster to changing consumer and business needs. Leaders work closely with their teams to set focused priorities at the beginning of each quarter and meet regularly to review progress. This has enabled regular and continuous dialogue between managers and their teams, especially during the Covid-19 pandemic, resulting in greater trust and respect within the company.
Diageo’s leaders also play a critical role in inspiring and influencing employee experience, culture and performance. Its Impact People Manager Program is a leading-edge learning experience, designed to support new and existing people managers to build core people management capabilities as they support and grow performance across Diageo and to live out the company’s purpose of celebrating life, every day, everywhere!
Micron Technology’s people-centric focus drives its philosophy and programs across its workforce of more than 40,000 team members in 17 countries. The company aims to cultivate a diverse workforce where everyone is heard, valued and respected. People of Micron is an internal program launched to hear from its employees — not just from a work perspective but also on a personal level. “The more we understand each other, the better we are as people, and the better we work together,” shared Rachel Horton, Micron’s Director of Internal Communications.
Micron’s Spark platform allows team members to put forward a good idea and to provide an avenue for a diverse range of voices throughout the organization. This is coupled with its Engage! survey – an important tool in gauging team member sentiments on key considerations such as: meaningfulness in making a difference and knowing that their work is valuable; psychological safety in knowing that their colleagues and company support their ideas and their needs, and availability in having physical, emotional, and cognitive energy to invest their best selves in their work. Feedback and comments from Engage! surveys have given rise to some of Micron’s most innovative programs, including Empowered Careers, which empowers employees to own their career paths.
Despite being an advanced manufacturing facility, which usually requires people to be on-site and accessible, Micron had already introduced Flexible Work Arrangement (FWA) guidelines since 2018, to help team members balance their work and personal lives. More than half of the company’s employees in Singapore are already on some form of FWA and it expects the take-up rate to increase over the next one to two years. During the Covid pandemic, some saw family members lose jobs or fall ill. When they needed help, their Micron colleagues were there for them, as was the Team Member Assistance Fund that was created in response to these needs. Team members have multiple ways to contribute to the fund. They can donate the value of their paid time-off or Bravo points or make monetary contributions through direct deposit in instalments or as a lump sum. The Micron Foundation then matches those contributions, creating grants of up to $5,000 for team members in a time of need.
Want to find out how other Best Workplaces across the region build a high-trust workplace culture for all their employees? Read the next blog in our series on Values.
To see who made it to the 2022 Singapore Best Workplaces List, click here.
1 A Great Place to Work For All, by Michael C. Bush. Great Place to Work®. https://www.greatplacetowork.com/book