Hybrid Workplaces are Here to Stay – Are You Ready?

Evelyn Kwek

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PAMELA SNG

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EVELYN KWEK & PAMELA SNG

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When the Covid pandemic started and employees transited to work-from-home arrangements en masse, workplaces rushed to transform their SOPs and daily operations to ensure that businesses could continue to run smoothly with a mostly remote workforce. Employees’ daily work routines were disrupted, and many individuals had to wear multiple hats tending to the needs of their household and family members, while juggling work requirements.

Two years later, four out of five organizations plan to prioritize making flexible work arrangements permanent1, and many have upgraded digital infrastructure and implemented supporting policies on workplace practices and employee well-being to enable and sustain hybrid work. A study found that 78% of employees in Singapore were leaning towards a hybrid schedule, with only 12% preferring to work from the office all the time and 10% wanting to work remotely full-time2.

However, amidst concerns over the Great Resignation which has impacted workplaces globally, does the norm of hybrid work weaken employee loyalty3? What can organizations in Singapore learn from the 2021 Singapore Best Workplaces™ (“SG Best”)?

1. Reinforce a culture of trust

SG Best companies drew on their existing organization culture by leveraging the trust that they had built with their employees over time. This trust also allowed them the agility to quickly adjust to the new work arrangements. Leaders at SG Best companies put their people first and trusted them to do what was best, wherever they were working. They trusted that they would do what was best for their situation, and provided the autonomy and flexibility to take care of their personal and family needs.
At SG Best companies, 12% more employees were encouraged to balance their work and personal lives and 8% more felt that management trusted them to do a good job, as compared with those at other companies (including Great Place to Work-Certified™ companies) who had participated in this year’s survey (“SG Rest”).

  • Cisco’s ‘Conscious Culture’ is a pact with its workforce that states how its goals to win in business and bring about a better world are aligned. It makes every individual accountable, empowered and expected to act in creating a positive and fulfilling workplace where every employee feels safe and can thrive. Its ‘People Deal’ is a relationship of give and take—employees expect the resources and support they need to succeed; and so equipped, Cisco expects them to take bold risks, innovate and collaborate, always with each other and its customers in mind.
  • Through the Covid-19 pandemic, employees at World Wide Technology were encouraged to put their families first. To alleviate stress, employees could block time out during the day to focus on children and not worry about work. Altering shifts also enabled parents to better manage their time as they juggled homeschooling or childcare with work.

2. Demonstrate authentic care for employees

While a confluence of different factors can impact an employee’s decision to stay or leave their company, their sense of well-being at work, including the presence of meaningful connections, is an important factor that can influence this decision. And this is even more critical in a remote/hybrid workplace where a sense of isolation and lack of interaction can negatively impact employee morale and trigger or reinforce the idea of leaving in search of greener pastures.

Among SG Best companies, 10% more employees felt that people cared about each other, as compared with those at SG Rest.

  • Signify cares for its employees by consciously creating a supportive work environment. For example, it implemented policies to free up time for staff who might otherwise attend unnecessary meetings, discourages meetings during lunchtime to enable staff to spend time with family and have a good midday break, and allows protected time on Friday afternoons to finish individual tasks before the weekend.
  • Openspace Ventures believes that individuals are all people first, employees second. It recognizes that we do not always know what individuals are dealing with personally at any one moment—and especially with remote working and dispersed teams. It creates open forums and cultivates a close-knit, supportive atmosphere to encourage employees to be open with their needs and challenges, with the understanding that it will give them the support, time or flexibility they need, whenever they ask for it.

3. Develop Capability of People Leaders

The role of people leaders has become more critical in a hybrid workplace—they interact with their teams daily, and their actions and behaviors can make the difference between team members having a good or bad day at work. SG Best companies recognize the important role that they play, and 10% more employees at SG Best companies feel that management shows a sincere interest in them as a person. These companies are intentional in supporting their people leaders by providing online guides and training resources, as well as conducting virtual workshops and forums for them to learn, share and problem-solve together.

  • Salesforce encourages its people leaders to lead with trust and empathy. Monthly ‘All Leaders Calls’ are held to provide them with information and resources to support their teams, and Slack channels help them build a sense of community, and give them a way to ask questions and connect with peers. Regular ‘Lead the Way’ email updates help deliver relevant guidance and resources, and, peer-led roundtable sessions enable them to learn from and support one another in coming up with new solutions to managerial challenges.
  • At Ingram Micro, line leaders undergo training and are provided with resources such as ‘Connect through Conversations’, to guide them in conducting quality, engaging and thoughtful 1:1s with every associate. It views these frequent connections as critical to driving a sense of purpose and ensure the well-being of every associate.

 

Now, as more companies establish hybrid work as a permanent arrangement, these three key factors underpin a successful transition—the ability to reinforce a culture of trust and allow employees flexibility to manage their work-life needs, demonstrating authentic care, and equipping people leaders with the knowledge and skills to manage and support their teams.

Here are some things to consider when preparing for a hybrid workplace:

 

To learn more about the 2021 Singapore Best Workplaces™, click here.

1. S’pore firms confident despite Omicron wave, plan to make hybrid work permanent, The Straits Times, updated 4 Feb 2022.

2. Hello to Hybrid – The modern Singapore workforce, Singapore Business Review, Charlton Media Group, assessed on 9 Feb 2022.

3. Commentary: Bosses beware – hybrid work weakens employee loyalty, CNA, updated 8 Feb 2022.

 

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.

PAMELA SNG

Pamela is our Senior Consultant and Research Lead for Great Place to Work® ASEAN and ANZ. She has over two decades of consulting and policy experience helping organizations in their journey to become fair and progressive employers. She believes that every organization has the potential to be a great workplace, and works with data to distil insights and develop resources to help them. When she’s not burrowing down the rabbit hole of numbers and words, she’s probably immersed in a new K-drama or catching up with friends over a virtual drinks session.

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