Q&A : People-First Leaders in the Frontline

Building High Trust Culture the ONe PCF Response

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Despite the immense challenges in 2020, Great Place To Work® have worked with leaders from homegrown organizations in Singapore. They are the brave people-first leaders who acted boldly in response to the COVID-19 crisis to create a great workplace for all.

We were joined by a distinguished panel of thought-leaders from the front-line, Mr. Paul Chong, CEO of Certis, Mr Victory Bay, CEO of PAP Community Foundation (PCF) and Dr. Eugene Soh, CEO of Tan Tock Seng Hospital.

In this panel discussion moderated by Michael Bush, CEO of Great Place To Work®, this was one of the questions that was asked:

What are some of the things that stood out for you and your leadership team, or the things that you have learned and relearned, and what behaviors became the most important during this time of uncertainty?

Starting with Certis CEO, Mr. Paul Chong who, with a 16,000 strong front-line officers scattered all over Singapore, believes this to be the most important thing that got them through the crisis.

Mr. Paul Chong: I would say, communication. There are lots of news out there some to be believed, some not to be believed. During times like that, I think that continuous engagement with our staff and transparent communication, listening to them as well, and helping them to cope with any stress they may feel I think was a very big part of how we got the whole team through this.

“I think that continuous engagement with our staff and transparent communication, listening to them as well, and helping them to cope with any stress they may feel I think was a very big part of how we got the whole team through this.”

The banker turned CEO of PAP Community Foundation (PCF), Mr. Victor Bay, used a remarkable illustration describing their ONE PCF Culture.

Mr.Victor Bay: During “peace time” we take a lot of effort in aligning our colleagues heart and mind. Like I say, it’s like a bank account you got to have enough credit so that when crisis hits you in an extraordinary, not routine situation, there’s sufficient credit for us to draw down. We do a lot of communication, as what Paul said, a lot of team bonding to build heart and mind, we did a lot of explanation on to why we embark on certain initiative. The whole idea is to get the entire organization coming together as one, to roll in the same direction, the same mindset, so that when the situation requires, like this year, sure there will be always disagreement, a little bit of different points of view, but you know when you build the bond, over time, we agree to disagree and people will be able to put aside their individual views for the benefit of the team. So its absolutely vital that we build the trust, build the respect, build the sincerity of our intention so that it will take us a long way when there is a need to draw down those things, in a crisis event, which we do not know when is the next one again, so we must always be prepared.

“The whole idea is to get the entire organization coming together as one, to roll in the same direction, the same mindset, so that when the situation requires, like this year, sure there will be always disagreement, a little bit of different points of view, but you know when you build the bond, over time, we agree to disagree and people will be able to put aside their individual views for the benefit of the team.”

As an outbreak veteran, now on his 3rd, Dr. Soh describes the importance of relationship and trust in a team who can respond effectively to a crisis situation

Dr. Soh: I totally agree with Victor and Paul. I never thought I would see my 3rd outbreak, but I am seeing my 3rd outbreak. I have come to this notion that healthcare is always in between outbreaks, and we are going to do lots in between the outbreak to make sure we are ready for the next, but you know one of the things that I have learned is that no plan is ever followed to a T and that planning is more important than having a plan and the idea here is how we built relationships across our entire organization so that we can get the trust, and we can get the consensus and the understanding across the organization such that when we have to morph and remorph teams and we put them into different combinations it will come together very nicely because there is that collective leadership we that have built in the organization and I think that’s what differentiates our organization that we can respond to a crisis versus that is reacting to a crisis.

“…no plan is ever followed to a T and that planning is more important than having a plan and the idea here is how we built relationships across our entire organization so that we can get the trust, and we can get the consensus and the understanding across the organization such that when we have to morph and remorph teams and we put them into different combinations it will come together very nicely”

These are inspiring answers from the people-first leaders stirring the organizations working in Singapore’s front-lines.

For more on this discussion, watch the full panel interview hosted by our very own Managing Director, Evelyn Kwek, and moderated by our Global CEO straight from Oakland California, Michael Bush, this panel discussion brought to you by Cadence Design System, is truly one of value.

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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.

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