Humans of Great Workplaces: Insights on Employee Well-being From Leaders and Employees

Evelyn Kwek

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DAPHNE LEE

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DAPHNE LEE AND EVELYN KWEK

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To close up our series on employee well-being, Great Place to Work® turned the spotlight from analyzing survey data on employee well-being to speaking with employees from Great Place to Work-Certified™ companies on their well-being experience in their respective workplaces. This series of conversations, titled #HumansofGreatWorkplaces demonstrates that beyond accolades and awards, when companies build high-trust and embrace a FOR ALL culture, it makes a real impact on employees’ lives.

The interviews clearly showed how employee well-being for a leader meant using the head and the heart to truly understand the situation at-hand and to have empathy. Similarly, a person who is at the receiving end shared how it enabled them to flourish and thrive as an individual in their workplace, thus building up their sense of belonging and purpose at work.

Each leader and employee shared how employee well-being can affect and influence their work environment and their workplace culture and how it shapes the way they relate to their jobs and their colleagues. In our report on Employee Well-being in the New Workplace, employee well-being is regarded as a business imperative.

Here are 4 takeaways from interviews conducted with Micron Technology, MedtronicThoughtworks and CrowdStrike in Singapore.

1. Be intentional in taking steps to care for employees’ well-being

 

All the leaders featured in the HOGW series stressed the importance of this. Mr Gianpaolo Mettifogo, Micron Technology Singapore’s vice president of Assembly and Test shared that a hands-on leadership approach from leaders who walk the ground helps in the understanding of what is needed and in some unprecedented cases, to even go beyond company policies. “When it comes to people, it is not just about guidelines. Every single case is different, and we need to have empathy and understand what is needed.”

In large organizations, leaders are guided by structures and guidelines, but they can be empowered to make decisions for the good of employees that may at times transcend company policies but are still within parameters.

Micron’s employee Ms Rona, a senior engineer, was supported throughout her two pregnancies. The company and her work colleagues stepped up to help her when she needed more flexible workhours to visit the gynae in hospital for additional monitoring due to complications and to reallocate work arrangements during the pregnancy stages. It was also the emotional support and encouragement from her supervisor that allowed her to continue working confidently in her role, while trying to set up a family.

Thoughtworks’ Head of People for Southeast Asia, Ms Bridget Shao suggested that leaders should engage one-on-one actively and when a feedback culture is created in the company, the data should be “analyzed rigorously and acted upon”. The bottom-line, she stressed is that leaders have the task of learning to listen to their employees. “Help them to open up, as Asians, we are not the best with [sharing about our issues], we can help by creating a safe environment for our people to open up,” she said. A multi-pronged approach in creating an environment that supports employees’ well-being can be taken.

 

2. Employee well-being is crucial and a top management priority

The top question that Mr Sherif El-Nabawi, vice-president, Sales Engineering (Asia Pacific and Japan region) at CrowdStrike faces these days while interviewing job candidates is: “What is your workplace culture like?” The talent market post-pandemic has changed and the best talent that companies hope to hire are aware that if their well-being is not taken care of, they will look elsewhere for a job. This sentiment clearly indicates that if leaders do not start focusing on employee well-being and to cultivate a positive workplace culture, they will face issues in attracting and keeping good talent.

During the Covid pandemic, many companies moved to a virtual working environment. This created a sense of detachment from the office and less physical interaction and presence with colleagues and the team. The need to improve and connect employees during the pandemic and to look into their mental and emotional well-being came under the spotlight. Ms Shao shared that given the amount of time employees spend at work and on work, and the hyper-connectivity of today’s environment, employee mental and emotional health needs a deliberate focus.

This was clearly the case for both Sherrie Tan, regional sales manager, CrowdStrike and Anamika Pillay, Demand Planning Manager (Southeast Asia, Frontier Markets & Korea) at Medtronic. Both started in a new job role within their respective companies during the pandemic and Ms Pillay relocated from the Sydney office to Singapore.

Ms Tan recalls that the zoom calls with colleagues were not just purely work motivated. The connections were meaningful, people were not getting on a zoom because they had to, but they were reaching out and saying: hey you’re new, shall we just have a chat? It was this kind of meaningful connection and the fact that everyone wanted to make the workplace enjoyable, that helped Ms Tan adjust to starting work during the pandemic and when in person work resumed gradually over the last few months.

Ms Pillay shared that her mindset towards employee well-being shifted post-pandemic as she started work in a new country during the lockdown. She recalls the little gestures that Medtronic did by sending food boxes, meal vouchers and birthday surprises directly to her during the lockdown which made her feel welcome despite the lack of physical interaction. It also changed her mind that employee well-being goes beyond tangible workplace benefits such as career aspirations, promotion opportunities to include the mental and emotional health benefits as well.

 

3. Leaders need to take the lead in self-care

Self-care was a topic spoken about during the interviews and some tips offered by the leaders include daily exercise and hobbies outside of work, establishing trust in the team and learning to delegate, having good family and work relationships, and setting clear boundaries between one’s work and personal life.

 

4. What makes a great workplace

All the leaders and employees we spoke with agree that a great workplace is one that cares for its people from the start. Regardless of the situation they faced at work or beyond work, each of them were able to clearly identify the help extended and the help received. “Success comes first by taking care of your employees and your teammates,” said Mr El-Nabawi.

A great workplace is one that develops an authentic understanding of an employee’s career objectives and the personal context and meets the needs they have. “Without that, we will not have continuity in the workplace and will suffer a high attrition rate,” said Mr El-Nabawi. In a similar vein, Ms Pillay shared that she hoped more companies will look into the “softer side of well-being” such as mental and emotional health. “At the end of the day, we are humans, we come with our emotions and our own biases and it will be great if more companies can look at employee well-being holistically.”

 

 

#HumansofGreatWorkplaces are all about personal stories from our community of Great Place to Work-Certified companies. They are leaders and employees who experience employee well-being up close and personal. They know what it means to be a leader who lends a helping hand in time of need or are in the shoes of an employee who has received help and emotional support from a colleague who went beyond the workforce norms. Watch the highlights of their interviews here:

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.

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