A Conversation with Micron Technology on their Journey to Becoming a Best Workplace™

DAPHNE LEE

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Daphne Lee

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Micron Technology is committed to pursue and build a great workplace for their people. Since it started this journey with Great Place to Work in 2019, it has been recognized as a Singapore Best Workplace through a continuous review and improvement of company practices that contribute to its positive workplace culture. Last year, it ranked sixth in the Great Place To Work Singapore’s Best Workplaces™ List where 88% of its employees say it is a great place to work.

How does a company balance its commitment to building a great workplace as it continues to be a leader in innovative memory and storage solutions with Singapore as its largest manufacturing footprint? A recent on-site visit to Micron Singapore and panel discussion on May 24 shed light on this. The panel discussion saw two of its leaders, Senior Director Ms Lim Lee Yong, and Mr Gianpaolo Mettifogo, Vice-president of Assembly and Test, who shared their views with Senior Consultant Raymond Teo from Great Place to Work ASEAN and ANZ.

What is Micron Technology’s journey to becoming a great workplace?

Lee Yong shared that a key element for an organization and for any successful organization depends on its people, their dedication and the performance of the workforce. What does it mean to have a great place to work?
“It means you have the environment, the atmosphere and a culture where everyone likes to come to work. At Micron, we know that people who work in a positive environment will be more engaged and are also committed to produce the best results consistently, which is very important for the company. We do foster an environment where we cultivate a diverse workforce, where everyone can feel valued and respected, and we empower our people to perform to their fullest potential.”

According to Gianpaolo, Micron has 9000 employees here in Singapore and it is a deliberate decision of Micron to embrace diversity and build inclusiveness.

“We believe that diversity is key for creativity and innovation which translates to a productive and positive discussion among people from different [groups]. Our environment is extremely competitive, every six months to a year, we’d have to come up with new products and that requires a lot of energy. Diversity is the key but to foster an environment where diversity becomes a value is very complicated.”

In doing so, you need to have an environment where everybody is genuinely respected, where all the leaders have time and patience to focus on listening to every employee in the company from each level of the organization.

How does Micron Technology create a consistent and positive workplace experience?

On breaking the unconscious bias in the company, Gianpolo shared that it is a journey and one that takes time to implement. This process is bolstered by continuous communication and discussion and alignment of targets by the leadership.

“One of the challenges we face in workplaces is unconscious bias. For example, this bias can be when we hire new employees, perhaps we may tend to hire somebody that we feel close to, maybe in gender or ethnicity or when it comes to a promotion cycle, even when we base it on the performance, there is always a certain amount of subjectivity that can create the perception of bias. One of the things that Micron did was to establish and put metrics on some of the areas where we know that there is bias. For example, when it comes to hiring, we have metrics and KPIs that say we should hire a certain percentage of employees of a certain gender or we should hire a certain percentage of employees that come from certain ethnic groups, because they are minority. Metrics are important because it allows us to address any unconscious bias on areas that we can improve.”

How does Micron Technology motivate and develop employees who work in a manufacturing environment and the corporate office?

Lee Yong shared that in her 20-year journey of working with Micron, she has picked up not just the technical skills but intangible skills such as critical thinking, attention to details, and responses to critical situations that can be present in a manufacturing environment.
“Most importantly, it is the interpersonal skills, for example, how we can collaborate with others to achieve our goals. We must find the right people and place them at the right place and the right work so that it can ignite their passion. I believe everyone has got passion. But sometimes when you look at some employees, they don’t show passion at work, and maybe we have placed them at the wrong place.” To this, Lee Yong expressed that communicating to employees the purpose and meaning behind the nature of their work is important.”

 

In addition, a leader’s responsibility is to inspire the culture of trust and to lead in employee well-being.

Gianpaolo stressed the importance of having an engaged and motivated workforce, especially in manufacturing due to the complexity of the products, the quality requirement that is placed on manufacturing the products, the speed of the market and the speed of changes within manufacturing. Employee well-being is the top priority in the organization. He described in relation to this that “people can make any impossible thing possible or they can make any possible thing impossible”. Motivating the employees is key. Providing the right environment such as a comfortable working environment, the right tools to work and having the right employee programs is crucial.

“We have to listen to our employees either through surveys that we do periodically every six months or every year. This is done through one-on-one sessions and conduct skip-levels to listen to people who don’t report directly to you. Because people that have a different experience in the organization may come up with ideas that we may not think of.” The company also sets up Employee Resource Groups to cater to the many employee categories in the company that range from new graduates, young professionals or those who have worked for a longer period.

Gianpaolo added that the company has an internal posting system that is transparent where employees can apply for an open position in the organization. “This system is very helpful to keep people motivated because at Micron, we have so many different sections and so many different types of jobs that if the employee enjoys working at Micron, they don’t have to go out to find a different job, they can develop in several areas inside Micron and grow in their career.”

What can a leader do to create a high-trust workplace culture?

Lee Yong shared her approach of LOA. It is to Listen with your ears, Observe with your eyes and Act with your heart.

“I’ve been using this approach with my team and encouraged them to do so for their team as well. As a leader we really need to lead by example, we must be open and transparent in order to build trust with our team. I think building a trusting team is very powerful. Imagine if you can build a community that is trusting of each other, you can see how powerful it is because everyone is not afraid of trying new things. In fact, they are also willing to explore a new dimension because they are not afraid of mistakes. This is really a path to innovation and building the innovation within the team. We need to explore new things before we can say that we are an innovative company.”

Gianpaolo emphasized that a leader must walk the talk, that it is alright to make mistakes so long as a leader takes responsibility for it and to apologize sincerely when mistakes are made so as to build trust in the team.
“In general, I see leadership skills as a sum of two different components. One is the intellectual skill which is our technical abilities. Normally, most of us come from technical backgrounds if we studied physics, chemistry, communication, electronics etc. The other component is the emotional scale. The emotional scale is our ability to bring the people together, to create a creative environment to build trust and to motivate people. The emotional skills also depend on your social standing, your character, it is something that you don’t learn at school and you have to learn on your journey of leadership.”

To be a very effective leader, to create a very effective organization, you need to be good in intellectual skills and emotional skills.

You can access the full panel discussion: Micron Technology’s Journey to Becoming a Best Workplace, here.

Find out why leaders take the first step to survey and understand their workplace culture and to build a high-trust workplace model For ALL™.

 

DAPHNE LEE

Daphne believes in building community-relatable content, telling stories through narratives that add value in today’s workplace and in culture-building. Her idea of a great workplace is one that thrives on openness, support and inclusivity while building trust and working towards a common business growth and purpose. A journalist, she spent 15 years writing for trade publications, lifestyle magazines and broadsheet supplements.

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.

Great Place To Work identifies Best Workplaces in Asia™ by surveying over 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 over 4.7 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 Greater China (including China, Hong Kong and Taiwan), India, Indonesia, Japan, Kuwait, Philippines, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Korea, Sri Lanka, UAE, Vietnam during 2021 or early 2022.

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.

Great Place To Work® Best Workplaces™ in Singapore 2023 Evaluation Methodology

This year, Great Place To Work® Singapore is proud to launch our inaugural Singapore Best Workplaces™ in Healthcare & Biopharma List. This list recognizes exemplary companies in the healthcare & biopharma industry.

Recognized as a global hub for medical technology and research, Singapore has attracted top healthcare and biopharma talents and companies from around the world. It has become the center for essential healthcare services and innovations with its world-class research institutes, academic medical centers, and industry clusters.

In turn, the healthcare and biopharma sectors play a critical role in the country’s economic competitiveness, sustainability, and innovation. These industries have significantly helped in the overall improvement of public health and well-being of the people of Singapore and its neighboring countries.

The inaugural Singapore Best Workplaces in Healthcare and Biopharma List puts the spotlight on the organizations that are dedicated to providing employee satisfaction and engagement, and their commitment to excellence in the industry.

The companies in our Great Place To Work Certified™ community have the premier distinction that helps attract the best talent, build your employer brand, and secure a competitive advantage. To achieve this, they built a working environment that is purpose-driven and people-first. These companies have demonstrated that showing authentic care, prioritizing employee’s holistic well-being, and building a culture of trust go hand in hand with growth and success.

To determine the 2023 Singapore’s Best Workplaces in Healthcare and Biopharma, Great Place to Work®️ analyzed confidential survey feedback representing nearly 12,000 employees working in the tech industry in Singapore.Employees responded to over 60 survey questions describing the extent to which their organization creates a Great Place to Work For All™️. Eighty-five percent 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 relative to their peers in the industry.The remaining 15 percent 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 to 99 people were considered for the small and medium category; companies with 100 employees or more were considered for the large category.

Great Place To Work® Best Workplaces™ in Singapore 2023 Evaluation Methodology

To determine the 2023 Singapore’s Best Workplaces in Technology, Great Place To Work®️ analyzed confidential survey feedback representing nearly 12,000 employees working in the tech industry in Singapore. Employees responded to over 60 survey questions describing the extent to which their organization creates a Great Place To Work For All™️. Eighty-five percent 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 relative to their peers in the industry. The remaining 15 percent 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 to 99 people were considered for the small and medium category; companies with 100 employees or more were considered for the large category.

Methodology

This year, Great Place To Work™ Singapore is proud to launch our inaugural Singapore Best Workplaces in Technology List. This List recognizes exemplary companies in the information and communication technologies industry in four categories:

  • Micro category (10–29 employees)
  • Small (30-99 employees)
  • Medium (100-999 employees)
  • Large (> 1000 employees)

With Singapore’s ambition to be recognized as a regional technology hub, the influx of technology firms (around 80 of the world’s top 100 technology firms have a presence here) and global rankings that place us a leading technology hub outside of San Francisco, the establishment of a Singapore Best Workplaces List in Technology is indeed a timely and needed one. Technology firms in Singapore are characterized by hyper-growth and ambitious expansion plans. This means a continuous war for talent in a highly competitive and rapidly evolving industry.

To maintain our lead as a technology and innovation hub, the ability to attract, retain and sustain skilled talent is critical. We are proud that companies in our Great Place To Work®-Certified community List have built a high-trust culture, engaged employees and maximized their potential to facilitate innovation. They are purpose-driven and adopt a people-first mindset. These are companies that have shown that authentic care and employee well-being need not be compromised for ambitious growth, and that it is possible for businesses to scale up quickly and responsibly. Their culture and core values are embodied in every individual—from senior leadership to rank-and-file employees—and differentiate them from their competitors, priming them to be powerful magnets for top talent.

To determine the 2022 Singapore’s Best Workplaces in Technology, Great Place To Work®️ analyzed confidential survey feedback representing nearly 12,000 employees working in the tech industry in Singapore.Employees responded to over 60 survey questions describing the extent to which their organization creates a Great Place To Work For All™️. Eighty-five percent 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 relative to their peers in the industry.The remaining 15 percent 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 to 99 people were considered for the small and medium category; companies with 100 employees or more were considered for the large category

 

Methodology

To determine the 2022 Singapore’s Best Workplaces™️, Great Place To Work®️ analyzed confidential survey feedback representing close to 70,000 employees across different industries in Singapore. 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 10-29 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.

Great Place To Work® Best Workplaces™ in Singapore 2023 Evaluation Methodology

To determine the 2023 Singapore’s Best Workplaces in Technology, Great Place To Work®️ analyzed confidential survey feedback representing nearly 12,000 employees working in the tech industry in Singapore. Employees responded to over 60 survey questions describing the extent to which their organization creates a Great Place To Work For All™️. Eighty-five percent 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 relative to their peers in the industry. The remaining 15 percent 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 to 99 people were considered for the small and medium category; companies with 100 employees or more were considered for the large category