4 Habits of Leaders that Inspire Adaptability Among Their People

Collage of photos of Great Place To Work® Philippines’ 2023 Best Workplaces™ in IT-BPM list- makers

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We made history once again! Last July 10, the country’s very first industry list, Great Place To Work® Philippines’ Industry Best Workplaces™ list in IT-BPM (Information Technology and Business Process Management), was officially launched.

This inaugural list is special to me for two reasons.

When Great Place To Work Philippines kicked off 4 years ago, it was a pleasant surprise to find that there were existing businesses who shared our vision of elevating employee experience in the country by creating high-trust workplace cultures. It is a delight that those very same companies who pioneered this short yet purposeful journey are still with us today.

They are the likes of Teleperformance who was the first Filipino Great Place To Work-Certified™ organization in 2018 and is 5th in this year’s Best Workplaces™ – Large category; 3M Global Service Center who was merely inspired by their counterpart in Costa Rica in 2019 but now sits at the 6th spot of our Best Workplaces™ – Medium category; Synchrony Global Services who was #1 in our very first inaugural Philippines Best Workplaces™ list then and remains to be at the top in today’s Best Workplaces™ – Large Category.

What makes these partnerships even more meaningful? They are not only our pioneers, but also members of the industry we’re highlighting, IT-BPM.

This list is also especially commemorative as this is the first time we are partnering with an industry association to publish — from which bloomed a wonderful partnership with Jack Madrid, President and CEO of IBPAP, and IBPAP itself (The Information Technology and Business Process Association of the Philippines).

A Purposeful Partnership

This collaboration between IBPAP and Great Place To Work is not only fitting due to the many Certified™ trailblazers that come from the industry. Most importantly, it is because we pursue the same nation-building mission.

Our organizations carry a mindset that is deeply rooted in giving back to the Philippines — that by elevating local workplaces, hence Filipinos, the country is also established at a higher global standard with a more stable and resilient economic bedrock that is beneficial for all.

However, this mission is no easy feat especially when the challenges of the past years are taken into account. The IT-BPM industry was no stranger to the rapid and unprecedented changes that took place during and after the pandemic.

For example, their workplace design followed suit to the new normal. Research from Everest Group states that over half of today’s enterprises expect more than 40% of their employees to continue a WFH (work-from-home) set-up. In an effort to decongest a whopping 70-75% of the industry residing in Metro Manila, firms are also preferring to set up multiple small sized offices in provincial locations instead of single large facilities in the city. (The Philippine IT-BPM Industry Roadmap, 2023)

The industry’s work types and workforces also experienced major shifts. The presence of continuous digital transformation initiatives ensued a higher calling for better branding and positioning of what Filipino IT-BPM players can do.

This means going beyond the warm and diligent customer service that Filipinos have long been proud of and known for. Now, more focus is on overturning transactional and inefficient processes and fulfilling multi-functional and high-value-adding technical skill sets that cater to the current global digital demands such as analytics.

For these reasons, this inaugural study or list is more important than ever before. As we heed this “higher calling” and march onward For All™1 for the Philippines, it is helpful guidance to evaluate how the cream of the crop, our Best Workplaces™ in IT-BPM, first does it.

1  For All™ means that every employee gets an equal opportunity to achieve their highest potential regardless of their demographic profile.

What Separates the IT-BPM Best Workplaces™ From the Rest

Great Place To Work’s Trust Index™ Survey that was conducted from January 2022 to May 2023 represents over 500,000 IT-BPM employees. Here we found that 94% of the workforce in the industry’s Best Workplaces™ experience a high-trust workplace culture — a stark contrast to the 84% of employees in typical organizations.

A crucial ingredient in trust-building is values. These are not just mere slogans neatly hung on the wall or showcased in your company’s career page. They are core principles that guide leaders’ behaviors and daily decisions. Values are best exemplified during critical moments, where one’s choices are a reflection of their integrity.

For leaders of IT-BPM Best Workplaces™, they practice integrity by walking the talk. While merely 79% of employees in typical organizations say that management delivers on their promises, for Best Workplaces™, it is 90%.

These leaders also don’t just adopt a moral code, but they also treat employees more than just mere cogs in a machine. In Best Workplaces™, 95% of employees say management is not only competent in running the business, but also makes meaningful connections with the people.

Our study also shows that companies under the Philippine IT-BPM industry, list-maker or not, do remarkably well in embracing diversity and inclusion.

The numbers impressively don’t reflect a big gap. Around 97% of employees in Best Workplaces™ report being treated fairly irrespective of age, race, gender, and sexual orientation, while 93% express similar sentiments in typical organizations.

However, maximizing human potential goes beyond achieving diversity and inclusion, and this is where the “Best” outperforms the rest. The numbers tell all.

89% of employees in Best Workplaces™ experience equity in pay and promotion versus the 79% in other organizations.

9 in every 10 employees of IT-BPM Best Workplaces™ have leaders that influence innovation.

A culture of innovation is sparked when managers intentionally involve their people in decisions that affect their work, recognize their team members’ excellence, and celebrate those who take courage to try new and better ways of doing things.
In summary, leaders of IT-BPM Best Workplaces™ constantly display values and leadership effectiveness and effectively build a culture where diversity, inclusion, and innovation are embraced. What else do they inspire? Adaptability.

The Way of the Leader: 4 Habits of IT-BPM Leaders that Inspire Adaptability

“In the next 6 years, the global IT-BPM landscape will be defined by even more uncertainty and fierce competition, an era of deep transformation that I am certain the sector will be able to take by the horns and conquer with our indelible bayanihan spirit.”

“For decades now, the sector has been an important job creator and revenue generator, as well as a source of great pride and inspiration for many of our countrymen.”

– Jack Madrid, President and CEO of IBPAP

Jack couldn’t have worded it better. For leaders and employees in the IT-BPM industry to thrive in this rapidly evolving industry landscape, the competency of adaptability is a clear must. More than this, a deeper sentiment lies. IT-BPM plays an important role in bolstering the Philippine economy — which affects not just those within the industry but every Filipino.

Here are 4 specific behaviors that encourage IT-BPM constituents to espouse adaptability and ones that all leaders, under IT-BPM or not, can espouse and learn from.

1. Leaders demonstrate people-management capabilities by hiring high-caliber talents who are culture-fit and collaborative

Employees become more resilient to change when management demonstrates people management capabilities. This quite literally and figuratively starts with hiring the right people.

Effective leaders employ those who not only possess the technical know-how to get the job done, but are also apt for the culture. This comes with intentional actions such as assigning and coordinating people well by leveraging their strengths and supporting them in their weaknesses.

2. Leaders are supportive and collaborative people who genuinely seek and respond to suggestions while offering praise when innovation is demonstrated

There is always fear in times of change. It can be overwhelmingly unfamiliar. Hence, uncomfortable. A valid human tendency such as this should be approached with an equally empathetic and human response.

Employees are encouraged to take on risks that are associated with change when they have leaders they can trust to be supportive and collaborative. This means that leaders will genuinely seek and respond to their team’s ideas and celebrate with them when they boldly (but not recklessly!) stray from the norm and try new ways of doing things.

3. Leaders show care by expressing interest in the employees’ whole self and their development outside of the workplace

Employees under the wing of caring leaders are more receptive to change. How can people trust that their leaders genuinely care for them? It is when sincere interest in them, that is beyond their performance, progress, and contributions at work, is shown.

4. Leaders are reliable and trustworthy people who walk the talk

Lastly, employees are less averse to change when they simply know that they can count on management because their actions match their words.

Reliable leaders serve as anchors for their people when the rocky waves of change come crashing.

Together, for the Future

The IT-BPM list is a testament that we are progressing in our mission of building a better Philippines by making every place a great place to work for all.

I’d like to extend my warm congratulations again to the 30 outstanding companies and their respective leaders that have clinched their well-deserved spot in the inaugural Philippines Best Workplaces™ list in IT-BPM. Your commitment to your people, industry, and our country is truly commendable and worth emulating.

Great Place To Work’s collaboration with IBPAP is proof that there truly is a movement within Philippine workplaces — where companies and leaders want to do it right by their people by creating high-trust workplace cultures.

Together, we are shaping the future of IT-BPM for all Filipinos.

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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.