By any account, the past two years were extremely difficult. These were years that changed the world forever. The Covid-19 pandemic swept across the globe, leaving an altered human landscape in its wake. We had to change how we lived. We had to transform how we worked.
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.
The high-trust culture that our great workplaces had formed over the years bore fruit as their employees reciprocated by showing resilience and agility in adapting to the new normal and going beyond the call of duty to uphold high standards of service to customers.
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.
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.