The Bold Acts of Leadership that Separated the Best from the Rest

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While we have seen an impressive narrowing of the gap between Philippines Best vs Philippines Rest in 2021, it is undeniable that there exist certain experiences that are distinct only to the employees working in the very Best Workplaces™.

These disparities can be gleaned from the statements in our Trust Index© survey that show the biggest gap between responses received from the Best Workplaces™ compared to the Rest. What becomes clear when we analyze the dimensions from which these statements arise is that the actions of leaders play a significant role in creating the most fulfilling workplace experiences.

These bold acts of leadership span across three major themes and showcase the caring, trustworthy, and honest natures of those that spearhead the most contented workforces.

There’s an old adage that says employees do not leave companies; they leave managers. Having a leader that understands and actively demonstrates genuine care towards employees’ well-being can make a significant difference in the overall workplace experience. Leaders of Philippines Best Workplaces™ respect not only the contributions of their employees, but also display a humane compassion for their needs as people. This is made evident through the provision of a safe and healthy working environment that holistically supports the employees’ physical, mental, social, and emotional well-being. 

This was especially important during 2020 as employees had to adjust to a complete transformation of their working processes. Studies conducted on workers in the Asia Pacific have shown that working from home can increase the lack of separation between career and personal life and lead to increased burnout amongst employees1. The World Health Organization has similarly warned that constant exposure to the sustained and unresolved adversity brought about by Covid-19 may result in a ‘pandemic fatigue’2

It was thus crucial that the ten Philippines Best Workplaces™ 2021 went out of their way to offer special and unique benefits that greatly assisted their employees during the uncertain times that they faced during the year. This included the provision of work-from-home equipment, financial assistance, special bonuses, food stipends, medical packs, additional medical and annual leave days, delivery of birthday and Christmas gifts and so much more. What was incredible is that many of these benefits, such as medical coverage, were even extended to family and household members. 

Given the emotional strain that the pandemic, social distancing, and loss of freedoms were having on people in general, mental health was given special and comprehensive attention by all of our Best Workplaces™. Most companies set up websites and hotlines where employees could access information and resources, while subscriptions to mental health apps such as Calm and Headspace were also thoughtfully proffered. 

In recognizing the potential impacts of a lack of separation between work and personal life, Atlassian placed emphasis on encouraging their employees to take time away from office responsibilities. Not only were employees given an additional 15 days of leave, the company also incorporated a special monthly floating day off, whereby Atlassians could work with their managers or team leaders to pick a day during each month to completely disconnect from emails and working applications. Their workforce responded positively to these thoughtful measures, with 94% acknowledging that “This is a psychologically and emotionally healthy place to work” and 96% expressing gratitude for the special and unique benefits they were provided. 

In looking ahead, it is clear that workplaces need to recognize the growing importance of cultivating psychological safety within the workplace. A recent McKinsey research has uncovered, one of the key drivers towards achieving such an environment is through the development of a positive team climate—in which team members value one another’s contributions, care about one another’s wellbeing, and have input into how the team carries out its work3. In doing so, organizations are more likely to innovate quickly, adapt positively to change and further harness the benefits of diversity.

The leaders of S&P understand that we are only human hence

the additional leave benefits and alot of consideration especially during this pandemic speaks highly how they value every employee. The “Doug days” as they call it are additional days off added this year by our CEO for us to recharge, among all other great things and perks added.

-Employee of S&P Global

During uncertain times, it is natural for employees to turn to their leaders for guidance. This could not have been more important than it was in 2020, when the rise of a pandemic on a scale never before seen threatened the security and livelihoods of billions of people. 

What the leaders of Philippines Best Workplaces™ did that set them apart and above from the Rest was simple – they acted with integrity and humanity. 

Most, if not all, of our Best Workplaces™ committed towards keeping the jobs of their people safe and kept their obligations towards new hires, paying them even if their start dates were delayed. At the same time, they relaxed performance reviews and targets to give staff time to adapt to the new normal. 

The most impactful gestures, however, were those that came from the heart. Many leaders pitched in to help the team in any way they could, with a few managers even helping to deliver work equipment to employee homes. Some made sure to call each and every employee who was infected by Covid-19 or had a family member infected. 

They talked the talk by opening the lines of communication, listening to their employees and sharing their human side with them. Then they walked the walk by striving to deliver on each and every one of their promises.

In living up to their ‘people first’ philosophy, S&P Global delivered a number of benefits that provided their employees with flexibility, showcased empathy towards their situation and built credibility for their leadership. Along with permitting customized working arrangements, offering more days off and a plethora of other adjustments, S&P further cemented their thoughtful approach by providing 100% of everyone’s performance bonuses for the first half of the year and then completely revamped their evaluation and appraisal processes to a more continuous and dialogue driven approach that better appreciated the circumstances of the new normal. 

Their approach is cohesive with a shifting trend in leadership. Bestselling leadership author Brene Brown promotes a need for organizations to stop seeing accomplishments and achievements as completely different performance indicators from empathy, care and connection – “smart and kind are not mutually exclusive.” Having kind leaders that can promote thoughtful initiatives and empathize with employee situations are indeed becoming increasingly important in this new normal.

The Philippines Best Workplaces™ provided various forms of generous and unexpected financial support to their people during 2020. These initiatives include early bonus pay-outs, one-off pandemic subsidies and generous allowances to cover internet, electricity and other incidental bills and costs for employees who work-from-home. Some workplaces that had to continue running their physical premises took extremely good care of staff members who volunteered to work at the office. They were often provided rooms at nearby four- or five-star hotels with substantial daily stipends to cover food, transport, and other necessities. 

Medical benefits were also beefed up across the board, with financial support being provided for Covid-19 tests and hospitalization, extended insurance coverage and even monetary payouts for those who suffered deaths in the family during the year. Amongst the most notable fiscal initiatives was PayPal’s Wellness Grant, which included a generous commitment to enhance the financial health of all its people, regardless of designation. The company pledged to make every PayPal employee an owner of the company by granting an equity award of PayPal stock to employees who have not yet been granted equity. This thoughtful move empowered PayPal’s mission to unite each member of its global team to collectively work towards the company’s long term growth and success. 

PayPal Great Place to Work Certified

I would definitely recommend the company as a great place to work.

When it comes to wage and benefits, no other companies offer the same or at least half of what PayPal offers, after all we work for money and benefits for our families. This is a generous company. All the things we need were provided by the company, not just the things we need at work, but also what we need for our wellness. Most specially when pandemic happened, we get all the support from our company. While other employees from different companies were ranting about their companies, here in PayPal, everyone is thanking that we are employed by the best company ever. Because of PayPal, it seems that we were not hit by the pandemic.

-Employee of PayPal

The improvement in scores amongst these historically universal dissatisfiers suggests that employees’ perception of equitable pay is associated with more than just their basic salaries and bonuses. It reflects the totality of the compensation and holistic generous and caring support that they received over and above their basic packages. With the business and economic uncertainties brought by the pandemic, these are beyond doubt bold acts of leadership that clearly demonstrate how Best Workplaces™ have put their people first.

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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.