It’s a Matter of Trust: Navigating Uncertainty Through the Power of Leadership

EVELYN KWEK, PAMELA SNG, & RAYMOND TEO

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It has not been an easy couple of years.

As Singapore progresses in its recovery from the pandemic and companies normalize work practices in the new workplace, new and increasing challenges have risen – geopolitical tensions, raw material shortages, supply chain disruptions, inflationary pressures, the list goes on. With greater market volatility and uncertainty, many businesses have had to cut back on operating costs, pivot, restructure and, in some cases, lay off staff.

Business leaders are being asked to do more than ever before. Amidst the wave of change, employees increasingly look to their leaders for information, direction, guidance and stability. We conducted an analysis of employee survey data comparing the same set companies that participated in both the 2022 and 2023 survey cycles, to understand key areas that contributed to changes in their respective Trust Index© (TI) score.1 In instances where the company’s TI score decreased, a decline in employees’ experience primarily in the areas of Collaboration and Communication contributed to the decline. The reverse was true too. Where the company’s overall TI score improved, it was primarily due to an increase in these two focus areas.

In fact, the data showed that the 45 companies placed on the Best Workplaces™ in Singapore 2023 List (“SG Best”) excelled in the areas of Collaboration and Communication, compared with other companies, including Great Place To Work®-Certified™ companies that participated in this year’s survey (“SG Rest”).

Collaboration refers to management’s willingness to engage employees in collective efforts. This includes seeking and responding to feedback and suggestions, and involving employees in decisions that impact them.

Communication measures the extent to which communication between management and employees is effective in inviting two-way dialogue. This includes being approachable, being clear about their expectations, keeping employees informed about important issues and changes, and giving straight answers to questions asked.

How does Collaboration and Communication look like in our Best Workplaces in Singapore? Read on for great people practices that you can adapt back in your own organization.

Logicalis Singapore Pte Ltd has implemented a continuous listening platform – Logicalis Pulse – which allows the company to gather anonymous feedback and capture the real-time “voice” of its employees. This enables leaders to gain a deeper understanding of employees’ concerns and address issues promptly, to foster a positive work environment and drive continuous improvement. Its monthly Leaders Session sees managers coming together to collaborate, share updates on on-going issues within their departments and valuable feedback from staff. It allows managers to identify areas that require immediate attention and formulate response plans to address them promptly. This platform plays a crucial role in promoting effective communication and collaboration at the managerial level, where they can work together to enhance staff engagement and foster a positive workplace experience for all employees.

Stryker believes that its internal experts are more powerful collectively than individually. It has created councils to serve as a forum for collaboration outside of traditional reporting relationships, by bringing people together across the company and geographies to work together. Each council has an executive sponsor, whose role is to ensure that activities are aligned with the overall company strategy while providing direction and feedback. Members and managers identify employees throughout the organization to serve as subject matter experts on priority workstreams. Stryker’s councils determine priorities based on business and talent development needs that support its company strategy. And where recommendations require senior leadership approval, it is not uncommon to hear senior leadership ask “Has the Council weighed in on this?”

At Boston Scientific, leaders make a conscious effort to communicate and connect with their employees. Through mediums such as email communications, townhalls and quarterly business updates, the leadership team provides regular updates at global, regional and country levels. These enable employees to be made aware of key business developments and issues, and allows them to share their feedback. To ensure that all employees are able to understand and fully participate in these sessions, interpreters providing live translations for different languages including Japanese, Mandarin and Korean are present, including the live Q&A segment, where the interpreter will provide translation on the spot. Boston Scientific also conducts Leadership Coffee Chats with all members of the organization, where the leadership team can get to know more about their employees on both a professional and personal level, and allows candid exchanges of information and ideas in a casual and relaxed setting.

HP’s Open-Door Policy is a hallmark of its culture, the HP Way. It is committed to creating a work environment where every individual’s voice is heard, issues are promptly raised and resolved, and communication flows across all levels of the company. The essence of HP’s Open-Door Policy is open communication in an environment of trust and mutual respect that creates a solid foundation for collaboration, growth, high performance, and success across the company. Employees are encouraged to seek counsel, provide or solicit feedback, or raise good faith concerns within the company. In turn, managers hold the responsibility for creating a work environment where employee input is welcome, advice is freely given, and issues are raised early and candidly without fear of retaliation when shared in good faith. As a testament to its effectiveness, scores from HP’s internal employee engagement survey found that 88% of employees said they were comfortable expressing their opinions, even though they might contradict the views of their immediate manager or others.

Beyond having the right programs and platforms to facilitate Collaboration and Communication among SG Best, many of these companies also put in place intentional efforts to equip and support line leaders and people managers in these areas. This is especially critical, as this group of people play a critical role at the workplace and often fall into the blind spot in many organizations2.

AbbVie Singapore (AbbVie) believes that it is the organization’s duty to set its managers up for greater leadership effectiveness, by providing the right attention and support mechanisms. While all employees are assessed on the same set of behavioral attributes based on AbbVie’s Ways We Work, managers carry greater responsibilities and are therefore measured by an additional category of attributes. These are centered around building diverse, high-performing teams, such as how they raise the bar, coach employees and reward performance in line with the Ways We Work. One example of a support mechanism is its New Leaders Assimilation (NLA) program, which supports employees and stakeholders working with the new leader, helps resolve interpersonal or work-style challenges affecting performance, and fosters a strong, trust-based culture by providing teams with a safe, facilitated environment for constructive dialogue.

World Wide Technology (WWT) has an aspirational goal of having “No Bad Managers” within the organization. It believes that solid management and leadership attributes are critical to maintaining its great culture, especially as it continues to create a culture of inclusion throughout the company. To achieve this goal, it conducts an annual leadership survey for all employees regarding their immediate manager. This survey provides candid and confidential feedback on specific areas of improvement for each manager. All feedback is reviewed by the manager’s leadership team, including the Executive Team, who is held responsible for low-scoring managers within their teams. Managers who receive low and/or concerning feedback receive a developmental plan to address the concerns.

In celebration of great leaders among the SG Best this year, Great Place To Work is proud to confer a special Leadership in Action Award on 10 companies for their leadership excellence – as validated by their people*. This award recognizes the leadership in these winning companies, whose actions and behaviors resonate with their companies’ strategies and values, and provide employees at all levels with a consistently positive experience.

(*Selection was based on employee responses to survey statements around Leadership Behavior, which is one of the focus areas in our Trust Index employee survey. It comprises employee experiences around leadership’s competence and integrity, approachability, authentic care for them as people and not just as employees, as well as whether they embody company values.)

Congratulations to the 45 companies who made it to the 2023 Singapore Best Workplaces List, and a special shoutout to the leadership teams in the 10 companies receiving the Leadership in Action Award this year! In a world where distrust is high and the world is polarized, you have made a difference to your people, your business, and the world.

 

Want to find out how your employees are experiencing your workplace culture and the effectiveness of your leadership?

Connect with us to learn how: https://greatplacetowork.com.sg/certification/

1.  The Trust Index© survey measures employees’ workplace experiences across the five dimensions of the Great Place To Work® Model: Credibility, Respect, Fairness, Pride and Camaraderie. High scores across these dimensions indicate a more positive workplace experience and a high-trust culture

2. Frontline Managers: Equipping and enabling them – Practices from Great Place to Work-Certified™ companies, 2022, 23 June. Great Place To Work® Singapore.

EVELYN KWEK, PAMELA SNG, & RAYMOND TEO

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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