Has it really been a week already since our very first in-person Philippines Best Workplaces™ recognition gala? It still feels pretty surreal that after 4 years of merely having virtual reveals, we did it together, finally.
What also brought our team joy was the overwhelming response we received to our invitation. The anticipation was palpable even before the event as our waitlist was filled to the brim with around 100 people in line.
Beyond the obvious excitement, I wondered what other underlying reasons there were for our jam-packed attendance. What I quickly realized is this was more than just an inaugural awarding.
At the core, we were honoring the great place to work journeys of every organization, leader, and employee present that night and the unique stories that brought them there.
Moreso, it was a celebration of continuing those journeys as we move onward for all.
The Great Place To Work® Philippines Story
Before we move forward and progress in this story, it only makes sense to look back at how far we’ve come.
Great Place To Work’s story of trust-building comes from a long history of over 30 years. Here in the Philippines, we have only just begun.
Our journey commenced four years ago with only five companies. They were our trailblazers that paved the way for creating high-trust workplace cultures in the Philippines. Eventually, they composed our first and humble inaugural list during the infamous year of 2020.
The same year, we published our maiden PH workplace culture insights report, Tiwala’t Tagumpay, with the battle cry “high-trust cultures drive business success.“
2021 was all about striving in the midst of the growing challenges of the pandemic. And so, for our Philippines Best Workplaces™ list, we honored the Top 10 companies that pressed on in building high-trust workplace cultures whilst responding to the unique challenges of COVID-19 by putting their people’s safety and well-being first.
Sticking to our theme, our second insights report placed the limelight on the heroism of Filipino workers and employers during the pandemic.
From 2019 to 2020, we began. In 2021, we strived. In 2022, we thrived.
It was a promising year as the whole world was Bound for Recovery. Our list-makers exponentially grew to 25 across now three categories — namely the small, medium, and large organization. Continuing to ring in new and extended celebrations, we also gathered our community of almost a hundred Great Place To Work-Certified™ companies for our first-ever in-person event.
We have grown from strength to strength in the span of 4 years.
How, then, shall we move Onward For All™?
We found the answers in the 2022 Great Place To Work Trust Index™ surveys represented by about half a million Filipino employees. Here are our top three key observations on what is most important when building trust in Philippine workplaces.
Creating High-Trust Workplaces For All
1. Through the years, Philippine employees are consistent with what they need from their leaders — integrity, communication, and collaboration
As times change, it seems only natural for employees’ expectations from their leaders to also evolve. However, our research over the years has shown consistent results. Filipino employees necessitate these 3 competencies from their leaders: integrity, communication, and collaboration.
The picture of a stiff, unreasonable, and withdrawn manager is sorely outdated. Nowadays, employees need their leaders to be approachable and easy to talk to.
Part of trust-building is also not beating around the bush yet still communicating effectively. That’s why employees also want to be able to ask reasonable questions and get straight answers.
In terms of collaboration, it is less about having a “team” mentality, rather it presses more on the attitude in response to seeking and receiving ideas.
Take a pause to reflect:
🟥 As a leader, do you genuinely listen to suggestions?
🟥 Are your responses constructive and encouraging and not tainted with bias from preconceived notions?
Our data also reflected the increasing importance of seeing leaders “walk the talk” by fully embodying the company’s core values whilst consistently and boldly upholding the truth.
2. There is a need for a more profound camaraderie — beyond a social workplace, employees need a psychologically and emotionally healthy place to work
Filipino camaraderie and hospitality are renowned worldwide as much as Filipinos are associated with the adjectives friendly, welcoming, and warm. This is why it comes as no surprise that the same characteristics flow down to Philippine workplaces.
However, our data has shown that Filipinos seek a deeper camaraderie. While helpful, organizations must forge workplace fellowships that go beyond just pizza parties, annual team buildings, sports festivals, and saying “We’re a family,” without building foundational relationships with their people.
Point is, the Filipino workforce desires more than just a “social” workplace. They require a psychologically and emotionally healthy place to work.
How do they pick up on this?
🟥 When colleagues know how to work together and genuinely care for each other
🟥 When the organization intentionally builds the workplace as a space where everybody can bring their whole selves
3. Employees need a caring culture where leaders model respect and fairness
Trust deepens when people feel that management consciously provides tangible and intangible support for their overall well-being. For this to happen, leaders must not treat their workforce in a shallow or transactional manner.
Managers must respect their people as human beings who lead actual lives outside of work. Why? Because employees are more than their achievements, innovations, and yes, even their mistakes.
Likewise, leaders practice impartiality when there is a conscious effort to treat everybody evenly. This means management must espouse a For All™ mindset — where all are given an equal chance to reach their maximum human potential regardless of their demographic profile, position, and/or status. Only then can we move onward for all.
Persistently Marching Forward
This is the ambitious idea that’s being envisioned and slated for a time that is more than 16 years from now. What do you think?
In the global state of permacrisis we currently live in, an extended period of instability and insecurity, many might describe this as a pipe dream. Especially since we’re still addressing COVID-19 scars, picking up some unfinished business from the pre-pandemic era, tackling the growing geopolitical issues, and navigating through the road of economic recovery.
Even more so, at an intimate level, we are also still dealing with and healing from COVID-19 scars — heightened anxiety, mental health issues, burnout, etc. Many feel exhausted, lost, and just ready to give up.
But if there’s anything I constantly witness in my endeavors as a consultant and by engaging with various business leaders who are also dealing with the same things I’ve mentioned above, it is that we are not one to just give up.
Philippines Best Workplaces do not lose heart. Filipinos, pegged as “resilient” globally, do not abandon hope.
We are committed to building a high-trust society that is better for the people, better for business, and better for the Philippines.
A heartfelt congratulations and thank you to our 35 Philippines Best Workplaces™ 2023 list-makers who are our partners in building a better world by propagating high-trust workplace cultures.
You inspire us to keep going; to keep moving onward for all.
We toast to the camaraderie that we enjoy with wonderful colleagues and friends, for all the For All™ leaders who role model credibility, respect, and fairness, for the many great workplaces that we’ve built, and for the many more to come.
We all have certainly walked many roads to arrive where we are today. With steadfast hope and glimmer in our eyes, let’s anticipate the GREAT things that are ahead.
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.