ASEAN Employees: What Drives Trust in Your Country’s Workplaces?

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How was your November?

For me, events were back-to-back — from the Singapore Best Workplaces™ to a fun-filled team building and more. Also included in the hustle and bustle of activities was the inaugural ASEAN Learning Summit.

There, I was elated to meet and bond with familiar faces such as my Great Place To Work® Philippines team and our wider ASEAN ANZ colleagues.

Celebratory group photo with the Great Place to Work ASEAN ANZ Team for a successful event

On this occasion, I was also given an opportunity to step on stage and share with our ASEAN Greater community, which is composed of business leaders in the region, some fresh insights on ASEAN workplace culture.

With economic disruptions now a norm rather than an exception, how is the ASEAN region performing? Is it afloat but quiescent? Is it thriving or merely surviving?

Sharing the 2022 Insights Report in the ASEAN Learning Summit: The Future of Work is For All™

Starting Point to For All™

The good news is this: despite the constant state of change and uncertainty that plagues us all, ASEAN continues to be a community of opportunities for all.

And this excites us at Great Place To Work because this fact further illuminates the path that’s necessary to live out our mission: to make every workplace a great place to work For All™.

“For All” means that every employee, regardless of their demographic profile, consistently has a positive experience at work. “For All” allows not just us at Great Place To Work to leverage the opportunities brought by ASEAN, but each individual that makes up this promising region.

A community of opportunities for all. An ambitious desire for great workplaces that espouse For All cultures. Now what? We bring to life our mission by starting with trust.

It begins and continues with trust — the foundation and anchor that makes and sustains a great place to work for all.

4 Key Drivers of Trust in ASEAN Workplaces

If trust is what makes a great workplace, what then drives trust in ASEAN workplaces? What does a high-trust workplace culture look like in ASEAN?

We answer just that in the ASEAN Insights Report 2022. The study is derived from a survey composed of 146,000 individuals representing 260,000 employees in six ASEAN countries — Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam, Singapore, Thailand, and our beloved Pilipinas (Philippines).

1. Management Support and Care

In a type of work environment where Management Support and Care are present, leaders show genuine support and care in the psychological, emotional, and physical aspects.

Here, workplace safety goes beyond having a physically harm-free environment. The employees’ mental and emotional health are also taken care of.

This happens when leaders express a sincere interest in their employees. This means that workers are not treated as mere numbers, money-making machines, or simply laborers. Instead, team members are viewed as people who lead actual lives outside of work.

Lastly, in these workplaces, employees also feel supported because they are well-provided with the right tools they need to be productive.

2. Employee Engagement and Communication

Communication is key.

Have you ever encountered this saying? Where Employee Engagement and Communication thrive, management openly communicates and collaborates with employees. Here, suggestions and ideas are actively sought after and team members are involved in decision-making. Inclusivity abounds. When employees are given a platform to express their thoughts, see their propositions add value to the business, and are proactively listened to, they naturally feel valued.
3. Fair and Impartial Treatment

“Fair” and “impartial” are usually never without “consistency.” For this reason, high-trust workplaces that practice fair and impartial treatment have employment practices and policies that are clearly communicated and consistently implemented.

When it comes to promotions and recognitions, each employee is granted equal opportunity to receive such.

Trust-building for leaders can easily be connoted as investing more in actively listening and supporting our people. However, it is also about tough love. When politicking and backstabbing are palpable, unprejudiced leaders are bold and quick to nip such detrimental practices in the bud.

When management embodies fairness and impartiality, it protects employee morale and the integrity of relationships within the team.

4. Sense of Camaraderie

The pandemic broadened our definition of the workplace to one that is no longer bound by office walls. Wherever this workplace may be, physical or virtual, employees must have a space that is relaxing and inviting — one where they feel right at home regardless of which team they are placed in.

It is important to note that that sense of being welcomed should commence at the very beginning of an employee’s journey in the organization and not only when solid relationships are built or when it’s deemed as deserved. People experiencing otherwise translates to a lack of camaraderie and most likely the presence of cliques in the workplace.

When it comes to trust, it takes two to tango. This means that leaders are not the only ones who must open up. Everyone should be accountable for bringing their whole selves to work — even more so when the environment is welcoming and supportive. When this happens, trust inevitably abounds and deepens.

While there are common drivers across ASEAN, there are also those that are unique per country. And with varied cultures and dynamics, it comes as no surprise that differences between each nation are at play.

Find what the top drivers of trust are for the six ASEAN countries included in our study below:

What Drives Trust in Philippine Organizations

Big smiles by our attendees from [24] Philippines during the ASEAN Learning Summit: The Future of Work is For All™ (From left to right: Loren Avellana, Ronald Ferrer, Karlene Manongsong, Aldrich Beltran)

1. Integrity

It is interesting to know that for our fellow Filipinos, integrity reigns as the most important factor that builds and propagates trust in the workplace.

It is vital for Filipino workers that leaders play an active role in upholding the truth by consistently walking the talk. Filipino workers want to see their leaders as credible and honest — ones that do the right thing regardless of the consequences.

Integrity is also displayed when the behavior of management is consistent with company values and guidelines. That’s why for Philippines’ Best Workplaces™ (large category), our research shows that 9 in every 10 employees say that “Our executives fully embody the best characteristics of the company.”

2. Hospitality

On the second tier, Hospitality takes the spot. This is expected as Filipinos are well-known globally for their world-class hospitality.

In Great Place To Work’s research, hospitality measures the extent to which employees feel the work environment is friendly, welcoming, and a place they can have fun and enjoy each other’s company.

Beyond the friendliness and warmth, trust also deepens when people feel that their leaders and colleagues have a genuine concern for their well-being, and more importantly, display urgency in acting on their shared concerns.

3. Support

Last on the list is Support. A part of this driver looks at the provision of training opportunities, resources, and equipment.

While the aforementioned are certainly helpful, they cannot beat the intangible kind of support that the human touch brings. Some ways that leaders can practice this is through personal and timely recognition, an attitude of grace when genuine mistakes are committed, and sincere apologies despite superiority.

Now, What Else?

Can’t get enough of Trust? All that I’ve shared here and more are lifted from the ASEAN Insights Report 2022: The Future of Work is For All.

Here’s a caveat though — Trust is only the first step in building a For All culture.

There are also the elements of Values, Leadership Effectiveness, Maximizing Human Potential, and Innovation By All™ to embody. Fortunately, these are all tackled in the same report as well.

Download it today for free and without hassle via this link.

Antoniette Mendoza-Talosig

Antoniette Talosig is the Managing Partner of Great Place to Work® Philippines and the Lead Consultant for Singapore. Driven by her passion to help people be the best that they can be, Toni started Great Place to Work® in the Philippines with a vision to create a high-trust workplace experience for every Filipino. She has close to two decades of partnership with some government agencies, SMEs, MNCs and some Fortune 100 companies across industries and geographies. Toni believes being a mother is the greatest adventure of her life and she enjoys seeing the world with her family. 

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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.