Building a Strong Workplace Culture in 2023: 5 Priorities to Succeed Through a Recession 

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To create and maintain an environment that retains employees and attracts top talents during an economic downturn, organization leaders need to focus on these 5 aspects of workplace culture in 2023.

With the fear of a recession looming in various parts of the globe, many companies and their leaders will have to make tough and bold decisions to survive the difficult times ahead.

Your workplace culture priorities will help your company get through any imminent downturn. More importantly, it will determine whether you thrive or fall behind the rest of the pack.

In 2023, more than ever, it is important that organizations actively strive to be great places to work. Indeed, market research shows that companies that prioritize critical employee experiences during a recession not only survive but also thrive in the succeeding years with significant value growth.

Great Place To Work® Singapore provides insights into what workplace culture priorities businesses and their leaders should focus on during uncertain economic times.

No matter your business size or kind, these are the 5 aspects of work experience that you should pay attention to this year:

1. Foster a high-trust culture by supporting your people

According to the government, Singapore expects to avoid a recession amid the predictions of a massive economic slump for most developed nations in 2023. However, the country’s growth will be slower as it still depends on external conditions.

The possible slowdown puts the spotlight on how companies support their people and invest in their growth within the company. Organizations that continue to put employees’ needs and well-being at the forefront will find the most success this year.

During these turbulent economic situations is where companies can better show their care for their people. Businesses can stay ahead by ensuring that the worker experience remains their top priority. This includes investing in employees’ well-being, providing growth opportunities, and creating a diverse, equitable, and inclusive environment.

2. Invest in talent development, training, and recruitment

Despite the recent massive layoffs from various tech and manufacturing companies, Singapore continues to see a tight labor market and employee expectations in the country remain buoyant.

The annual average unemployment rate fell further and total retrenchments were lower than pre-pandemic levels in 2022, according to the Ministry of Manpower (MOM). The agency further shared that around two out of three laid-off workers were able to find jobs within six months. Additionally, most of them joined a different industry from their previous one.

This signals that employees remain a very valuable commodity. With that, companies must work to engage and develop talent to see continued success this year and in the future.

Organizations and leaders need to heavily invest in recruitment, at the same time bolster the talent development and training of their workers. Great workplaces understand that a resilient work culture relies on meaningful relationships with colleagues and leaders along with opportunities for personal growth.

3. Commit to your DEIB priorities

Layoffs, hiring freeze, and reassessment of talent management might look reasonable from a financial standpoint. However, these drastic measures greatly affect the company’s diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging (DEIB) progress.

The best workplaces don’t back away from their DEIB priorities. They are capable of meeting fiscal goals and adjusting to the current climate while prioritizing the well-being of their DEIB staff.

Additionally, the best leaders help in facilitating the conversation on these topics within the organization. In turn, employees don’t feel a disconnect between the company’s DEIB mandate and their actual experiences at work.

4. Facilitate seamless experiences between in-office and remote setups

The COVID-19 pandemic revealed that high productivity and performance of employees are not exclusive to in-person work set-up. Most people have realized that they can do the same–if not more–amount and quality of work while inside their homes or from a remote location.

As companies start requesting workers to return to the office, the conversation on hybrid setup takes the forefront.

Cisco’s Global Hybrid Work Study 2022 reports that in Singapore 78.6% of employees said that hybrid work has improved their overall well-being, including the financial and physical aspects of their lives. Additionally, they saw improvements in their quality of work, productivity, knowledge and skills, and workplace relations and attitude.

With that in mind, employers must look into the best way to implement a hybrid work setup.

It is important to create excellent experiences that address the varying and complex needs of employees. With that, the best workplaces will find a way to foster the same collaborative and innovative environment in both the virtual and physical worlds. 

5. Handle layoffs with compassion and transparency

News of job cuts and challenging economic headwinds cultivate fear among employees and might put the workplace culture at risk.

While layoffs are unavoidable, business leaders must find a way to conduct staff reductions with transparency and trust.

A great workplace finds ways to create seamless transitions not just for the employees leaving but for those who will remain in the organization. The communication and handling of the situation must be done with utmost care and empathy.

The overall approach can be separated into three phases. The first phase is before the layoff where the company must communicate clearly that it has done everything it could and the layoffs were the last resort.

During the layoff, the organization now needs to focus on helping the affected employees. Constant and personal communication is still vital as well as providing the necessary assistance to the laid-off worker, i.e. providing benefits and directing them to new opportunities.

Lastly, leaders need to engage the remaining employees after the layoffs. Checking in on how the staff feels about the recent changes and answering any questions they may still have are a good start. It is also best to have a conversation on the new expectations and changes in workload brought about by the retrenchments.

Help your company soar through the current economic climate

>Stay informed and respond to the rapidly moving needs of your employees with a high-trust workplace culture.

>Understand and close the experience gaps between employee groups with a culture management tool.

>Explore company culture advice to help you create an inclusive workplace.

Patricia Calica

Patricia is a writer with over eight years of experience in print and digital media. She strives to deliver impactful messages and engaging content through her work. Often, she’s curled up with a book, devouring stories from her latest literary finds. Once in a while, she steps out of her sanctuary to seek her next big adventure. You’ll find her then–trusty camera in hand–chasing sunsets and flirting with the waves.

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To be eligible for the World’s Best Workplaces list, a company must apply and be named to a minimum of 5 national Best Workplaces lists within our current 58 countries, have 5,000 employees or more worldwide, and at least 40% of the company’s workforce (or 5,000 employees) must be based outside of the home country. Extra points are given based on the number of countries where a company surveys employees with the Great Place to Work Trust Index©, and the percentage of a company’s workforce represented by all Great Place to Work surveys globally. Candidates for the 2017 Worlds Best Workplaces list will have appeared on national workplaces lists published in September 2016 through August 2017.