How Best Workplaces™ Respond Differently During the Pandemic: A Trust-based Agile Culture

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How COVID-19 Impacted the Country

By any account, 2020 was an extremely difficult year.

Globally, many lives were lost, travel ground to a halt, social contact was limited, business activity was slowed, and economic growth was curtailed. On an individual and family level, many people faced challenges to their job security, financial stability, and physical and mental health.

Our initial assumption was that we would see a decline in how employees rated their workplace experiences. But after analyzing more than 24,000 survey responses and additional company data, it became clear that the results were different than expected.

We saw an overall improvement in employee workplace experiences across all measured factors when compared with 2019 survey results. This was likely related to a management focus on employee health and safety across organizations as well as an increased frequency and alignment of communications. Further, when we compare our 2020 Best Workplaces to the Rest, we see that employees have an even more positive experience.

There are five key differences between Best Workplaces and the Rest in the face of the pandemic. Today’s blog post will cover the first of the 5 – A Trust-based Agile Culture.

Trust-Based Agile Culture in the Face of Pandemic Response Download Insights
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Building a Trust-based Culture Takes Time and Dedication

Building a trust-based culture takes time and dedication. Best Workplaces™ have made concerted efforts to do so, while leveraging trust as a key part of their people-first management orientation. Even though individuals may experience trusting relationships in any organizations, Best Workplaces work to create trust relationships for all. They were thus able to take actions in a way that both fostered and leveraged trust, allowing them to respond more nimbly, and to more effectively manage the changes and the challenges presented.

Innovation, Integrity and Fairness

While all Singapore companies had to adapt during the pandemic, the Best Workplaces™ were better able to leverage innovation practices related to flexibility, agility and employee trust by tapping into the relationships, values and trust that were core elements of their pre-COVID workplace cultures.

Further as companies adapted their work environments, created new practices, and adjusted processes in response to COVID-19, Best Workplaces were also able to make rapid changes in a way that was perceived as fair for all.

Demonstrating integrity in a time of crisis become especially important as leaders had to take quick decisive actions that could impact employees’ jobs and health. Employees at our Best Workplaces had a more positive experience when it came to them observing their leaders embodying the best characteristics of their company, matching actions with their words, and delivering on promises made. These traits were especially critical given the uncertainty of COVID-19.

Looking Ahead

As we look towards the future of work in the post-pandemic world, organizations will need to continue to innovate on how work gets done. To enable hybrid work arrangement and to ensure workplace safety, it will be even more critical to develop an agile, trust-based culture that facilitates the needed changes.

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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.