In our final installment of this mini-series, we share what Best Workplaces™ across ASEAN do to build a For All™ culture, and what we found to be special and unique about organizations’ practices and programs in each of the respective countries.
A Great Place To Work For All
In his book “A Great Place to Work For All”, Michael C. Bush, Great Place To Work® Global CEO, spoke about the new frontier in business where developing every ounce of human potential is crucial.1 “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. While trust fuels business performance at great workplaces, For All accelerates it.
The Way Forward
Based on 30 years’ of data from more than 100 million employees in 150 countries around the world, we know when companies build a high trust culture, and become great for all their people – no matter who they are, what they do, or where they work – they are building a more resilient, successful and sustainable business.
In our earlier blogs in this series, we laid out the five elements in building a For All culture that leads to financial growth, analyzed data from our Trust Index™ Employee Survey and shared stories from Best Workplaces across ASEAN that have demonstrated a For All culture. So, what is it that these For All Best Workplaces do?
1. Build a high-trust culture
- Recognize the strategic priority of workplace culture
- Prioritize open communication
- Build psychologically and emotionally healthy work environments
- Foster camaraderie in the workplace
2. Demonstrate leadership effectiveness
- Develop leaders to be credible – they communicate, they are competent and they have integrity
- Equip leaders to show respect – they provide support and care and encourage collaboration
- Enable leaders to demonstrate fairness – they are inclusive, promote equity and are impartial
3. Live out core values
- Clearly articulate the organization’s values or guiding principles
- Live out core values in the day-to-day
- Let values guide decision-making
4. Maximize human potential – be For All
- Embrace diversity and ensure equity
- Build belonging
- Understand and leverage the uniqueness of the wide range of talents
- Develop leaders throughout the organization to be FOR ALL
We were interested to find out what was special and unique about organizations’ practices and programs across the 2022 Best Workplaces in ASEAN, and how these positively impacted the lives of their employees.
- Demonstrate Semangat – a strong spirit of energy, enthusiasm, and determination to overcome challenges brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic. Leaders, managers and employees in these companies show personal and collective resilience by staying connected, supporting one another, and working together as a team.
- Build employee capability through structured and comprehensive talent development strategies and programs in an inclusive manner to ensure equal opportunities for diverse groups of employees at all levels of their career.
- Live up to their core values and genuinely care for their employees and the communities in which they operate. These companies go the extra mile to provide job security and support their employees’ financial wellness in a variety of ways, and in turn, enable their employees to support their communities through volunteer programs and collaborative initiatives.
- Cultivate a friendly and welcoming environment. With the broadening of the “workplace” beyond office walls, these companies create a space that is relaxing and inviting, in which people can enjoy each other’s company. Beyond friendliness and warmth, these companies also deepen employees’ trust when they experience genuine concern for their well-being, and observe that their companies act on this concern.
- Create a culture where managers at all levels actively communicate and collaborate with their employees. In these companies, managers are available and interested in engaging in conversations with their teams. Employees feel that their leaders are approachable, so they feel comfortable sharing ideas and information with them which leads to productivity and innovation.
- Ensure that management practices and company policies are fair and inclusive. Among the companies in the Small category, nine in every 10 employees say that their “managers avoid playing favorites”, while among those in the Large category, nine out of every 10 employees say that they have consistently observed their leaders to fully embody the best characteristics of the company.
Adopt a forward-looking approach toward designing their workplaces as they transition into a post-pandemic norm. They ask themselves, “What does the future of work look like?” Specifically, these companies wholeheartedly embrace flexibility by providing autonomy in work arrangements, co-create rules of engagement with employees to ensure the hybrid way of work supports and enables them to do their best work; and they focus on creating a positive and consistent employee experience for their people wherever they are based.
Leverage technology and innovative approaches to employee learning. They champion micro-learning and learning on-the-job, and provide opportunities for career development regardless of where they work. These companies also implement structured programs to build internal capability, create a succession pipeline and maximize employees’ full potential.
Strengthen their culture of diversity, equity and inclusion efforts. Among many of these companies, there were intentional efforts to partner with national agencies such as SG Enable to create greater awareness and build a diverse workplace. These companies also promote shared prosperity by giving back to the community, supporting advocacies with a social impact (e.g. climate change, access to education) and encouraging employee involvement in a variety of efforts and initiatives.
Adopt a progressive approach and are intentional about cultivating high-trust cultures built on a people-first mindset. They have clearly defined values or a company philosophy that guides their decisions, actions and internal activities, and strive to create a culture based on diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging.
Design a comprehensive and structured approach to learning and development. These companies are intentional about uplifting their workforce; they invest heavily in learning and development to enable career growth. They offer different modalities of learning – from traditional in-person workshops to online learning and conferences. Many also used business closures during the lockdown to develop their internal talent pool.
Demonstrate a strong sense of purpose, which generates excitement, creates unity of focus to grow the business, its people and make a positive impact on their community. They find ways to recognize employee efforts and contributions in alignment with their purpose.
To read about the five elements of a For All culture, and find out how Best Workplaces in ASEAN have built high-trust workplace cultures for all their people, download the full ASEAN Insights Report here.
1 A Great Place to Work For All, by Michael C. Bush. Great Place to Work®. https://www.greatplacetowork.com/book