Regional Focus: Frontline Leaders at the Forefront

DAPHNE LEE

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Daphne Lee

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Frontline leaders are identified as a group of employees that play a critical role at the workplace. Their work involves managing teams of employees, translating the organization’s strategy to rank and file and motivating employees to ensure that it gets implemented. Great Place to Work® recognizes the important role frontline leaders play and companies that develop their frontline leaders also grow a high-trust workplace culture overall. In this article, our Certified™ companies across the ASEAN and ANZ regions share how they enable their frontline leaders and the positive impact they create for the company.

Ms Kornkanok Thaweetnakorn, a Trainer Specialist at foodpanda Thailand shared that a frontline manager’s role is important in any organization. They undertake to communicate the purpose and a clear background of every task and project to the team that they manage. How has foodpanda enabled its frontline leaders to do so? Each of them undergoes training sessions to learn how to facilitate and structure weekly team meetings with employees to convey the agenda and the strategy. The company believes that employees experience an increased level of trust when they understand how their role aligns with organizational values and how they can contribute to the organization’s vision. This view is also echoed by Ms Karen Hutcheson, foodpanda’s Director of People, “Trust is absolutely an integral component in building a great workplace culture. When employees are trusted, they work with more passion, are more motivated and engaged resulting in job satisfaction, and retention. A high-trust culture also fosters creativity, autonomy and motivation.”

foodpanda Thailand’s Managing Director, Ms Siripa Jungsawat shared 3 tips on how frontline leaders can help to build a great team culture in the organization.

  1. Learn to adapt with changes and be flexible with the team. As every employee is different, we must know how to motivate each person from each business unit.
  2. Support employees with the right skills and knowledge and help unlock their potential.
  3. Groom the leaders to know how to develop, analyse and solve the problems.

Autonomy is a big part of the workplace culture at ELCA Vietnam and one in which frontline managers are given to manage their teams. The IT solutions company aims to give its leaders total autonomy and they are also supported by the company when they require any help or in mentoring others. “For every leader that we grow, there is a team of young professionals learning how to be the leaders of the next generation through the flow-on effect. We learn by example and lead by example. That’s why we make it work,” said Ms Nguyen Thi Hoai Linh, Head of HR, ELCA Vietnam.

It is this autonomy that Ms Pham Thi My Hanh, QA Engineer at ELCA experienced as an employee, that has made life easier for her to juggle as a mother. She values the flexibility in her job, and the support and clear communication from her managers. “I am able to start and finish when I want, and I am even allowed to work from home one day per week. My manager is so positive about this and works with me to make sure we deliver our tasks, but still allows me to be the best mum I can be.” In turn, she has also learnt to listen to her other colleagues as her leaders have led by example, and the final outcome is a happier disposition among employees at work and in their personal lives.

ELCA believes that every person in the team plays a valuable role in the organization and is vital to the company’s success. “We hold every employee in the highest regard. We ensure ongoing training occurs for every person so that they grow personally, professionally and technically, and we also make sure the person is more important than the project. It’s our people that make projects a success, so it is my job as a leader to ensure our people are happy at work,” says Ms Nguyen.

Project Manager Ms Mai Mai knows the importance of establishing weekly communication with her team. As a frontline leader, she conducts daily briefings and weekly work reviews as an avenue to support her team’s tasks, in addition to encouraging informal and casual interactions with them. “Listening to their stories, taking action and always keeping my word is the key for me to get trust from my team members.”

Frontline leaders always receive the support they need to carry out their work. Ms Mai Ngyuen, General Manager at Groove Technology adds that management skills training and learning activities across the company are part and parcel of the frontline manager’s training. Similarly, they also utilize the communication channels and frequent catch-ups for advice and suggestions from their management when they encounter any leadership-related issues or employee concerns and challenges. This ‘People-first’ philosophy has resulted in a safe environment for employees to share their thoughts, and taking prompt action to the issues raised has helped the company to improve and to gain trust from its people, shared Mr Matt Long, CEO of Groove Technology.

Hilti supports their frontline leaders with 4 main pillars of its people approach: taking action, a direct ownership of their career path, focusing on employee’s strengths and conducting frequent conversations with employees. The foundation of its growth and development strategy also rests on transparency and trust within the company.

Ms Mye-lene Teo, Head of HR at Hilti Malaysia shared that the leadership sets the tone for the company culture. “We demonstrate the values that we want to see in staff members.” Indeed, as Mr Lee Wai-Meng, Managing Director of Hilti Malaysia shared: “Our frontline leaders often go above and beyond their job to ensure the well-being, development and growth as well as continuous engagement of the people under our care. Especially during the pandemic periods where employees are forced to work remotely or from home, taking care of their well-being by staying in close contact with their people is the utmost priority of our frontline leaders, to instil hope in them and ensure that they are still able to collaborate and work effectively outside the office.”

Frontline leaders conduct frequent conversations with their people on their individual development needs to ensure that gaps are identified and closed with proper development plans and employees’ strengths are maximized in their jobs. Lastly, the frontline leaders go the extra mile to celebrate team success and build closer bonding with their people by organizing various engagement activities at work.

At Adobe, a high-trust workplace culture is valued within the organization and the way to building it is when leaders lead with authentic empathy in the workplace. Mr Simon Tate, President, Adobe Asia Pacific says: “Ensuring that our teams across ANZ and APAC are built on a high-trust basis first and foremost fosters great ideas, personal development, and successful careers at Adobe.” As a frontline leader, they are tasked with learning the dynamics and biases of hybrid work and are encouraged to initiate a two-way dialogue with staff to see what works and what needs innovating.

The concept of a respectful and authentic leader builds a strong team culture and Adobe believes that every single team member deserves to have a leader that understands how they work best, give them the coaching and feedback to develop further, and puts each team member’s success before their own personal gain. “Leadership is never about the leader; it is always about the team you have the honour of leading. Understanding that will go a long way to building a strong culture of high performing rock-stars,” says Ms Claire Williams, Director, ANZ Operations.

Relationship, Character and Purpose are the 3 essential values that HKS, an interdisciplinary global design company, prides itself on but above all, it is their people that forms the most important asset. For the organization, its frontline leaders embrace a collaborative culture with a focus on trust and empathy that allows other employees to excel and contribute to the best of their abilities. The company believes that these values along with a diversified and an inclusive structure, helps in developing the capability of its frontline leaders, making them more effective as people leaders.

Mr Gordon Gn, HKS Singapore’s Office Director and Vice-President added that its frontline leaders operate based on humility and to “leave no person behind”. He explained that this staff motto drives employees to achieve new heights as innovation happens when there is a diversity of perspectives, cultures and backgrounds.

Senior Medical Planner Mr David Huang shared that the company continues to be a Great Place to Work due to four key factors – trust, talent, relationship, and care. “HKS treats employees as professionals. I am given the right tools, the work environment and the time to produce my best work, as well as due recognition for excellent work, opportunities to grow in my career and fair compensation.” He shares that this empowers and motivates him and his colleagues to go above and beyond what is expected. According to him, HKS’s organizational structure cultivates strong relationships as “core team members stay together for significant amounts of time so we can grow together, rely on one another, and develop friendships beyond work”. David feels that the company is a Great Place to Work as demonstrated by the high staff retention rate, the positive energy in the office, and the joy he feels in coming to work each day.

As an integrated communications agency, PRecious has dedicated time and effort to thinking through initiatives to support its frontline managers. One of it is to be transparent with frontline leaders such as sharing information on company direction, revenue and other aspects related to the company. The culture of encouraging its frontline leaders to have a voice to speak up and share their thoughts, and by treating them with respect and listening to their needs and the teams’ needs, are corporate practices within the company. “I am committed towards building transparency and openness across the company as these are key ingredients for building trust,” says Mr Lars Voedisch, Managing Director at PRecious.

Keen to learn how your frontline managers are experiencing your workplace?

Click here to find out more.

 

This article is the final in our series spotlighting the workplace experience of frontline managers. Read the blogs from this series:

  1. Frontline Managers: Equipping and enabling them – Practices from Great Place to Work-Certified™ companies – Great Place To Work Singapore (greatplacetoworkasia.com)
  2. Frontline Managers: Are they in your blind spot? – Great Place To Work Singapore (greatplacetoworkasia.com)

 

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