How the World’s Best Employers Did MORE for their Employees in 2021

Claire Hastwell

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A funny thing happened to the World’s Best Workplaces this year. Amid months of lockdown isolation and health scares and return-to-office uncertainty, companies named to the Fortune World’s Best Workplaces™ 2021 list actually saw an increase in employee satisfaction.

The average employee experience went up for every Trust Index™ survey statement year-on-year.

In other words, the World’s Best Workplaces leaned in more. They showed more kindness, added more benefits, did more for social justice, and communicated more often and more honestly. Leaders let themselves be more vulnerable in front of their employees.

This year’s 25 winners – representing the voices of 19.8 million employees across 10,000 companies and 106 countries – have reset the bar for what it means to be a World’s Best Workplace.

With the world in such turmoil, how did these workplaces manage to create an environment where employees could thrive?

Leading with purpose

Despite the high-pressure stakes of the pandemic, many pharma, biotech and health care companies made this year’s list — all because of purpose.

For those industries, the pandemic represented what their employees had specifically been called to do: help others. But even for companies not working directly in those industries, the pandemic brought about other ways to step up.

At DHL Express (#1 on the list), employees were proud to deliver the vaccine to the far corners of the globe. Hilton (#3) rolled out its 1 Million Rooms initiative, providing frontline medical professionals with free accommodations so they wouldn’t have to expose their families to the virus.

Software engineers at Australian-based Atlassian (#23) partnered with the government to create a messaging app designed to increase awareness of COVID-19 in Australia, answer citizens’ questions and guide people to support resources.

Leading with kindness

As politically divisive as the pandemic has become, it has also showed us how interconnected we are. The Best Workplaces recognize this, by supporting workers and their families around the globe and proving that a little kindness goes a long way.

Manufacturer Hilti (#11) set up an internal fund to provide financial support for colleagues who had been hit particularly hard by the pandemic. Employees at corporate HQ converted 5% of their salary in exchange for additional days off, with Hilti matching the contribution.

The funds were used to support emergency health services for families, as well as team members in countries without government support programs.

Leading with racial and social justice

It’s been over a year since George Floyd’s murder in the U.S. sparked a racial reckoning near and far, but the Best Workplaces know that the conversation is still ongoing. These companies identify DEIB as a strategic priority, and ensure they are recruiting and promoting from a diverse candidate pool.

Atlassian, for example, has worked with researchers to quantify an inclusion index, helping the company to measure its own successes and failures. The index is part of its regular employee surveys, enabling managers to hear regularly and first-hand about the experiences of under-represented groups working at Atlassian.

Leading with communication

Clear and frequent communication is key among the Best Workplaces, particularly with the switch to virtual work.

When worldwide demand for 3M’s (#6) PPE exploded overnight, the company had to respond to production while simultaneously managing workers who needed to stay safe themselves. The company prioritized communication and over the next 8 months released 20 newsletters and 30 Q&A sessions that were open to all employees.

3M also released a campaign of courses and training on the virus and preventative measures, which was available for both employees and to the public.

Leading with trust

For many businesses, the switch to remote work raised concerns about productivity. At the Best Workplaces, leaders don’t micro-manage from behind a screen, but rather lean into this new normal with trust and flexibility.

Software company SAP (#9) has implemented what it calls a “Pledge to Flex” – a 100% flexible and trust-based workplace. The company provides employees with set-ups to suit every role, working style and location.

Recruitment firm Addeco’s (#19) “New World Working Guiding Principles” is a toolkit of check lists, self-assessments and other resources aimed at helping employees be their best while remote or hybrid working – while also acknowledging a need for flexibility, because one size does not fit all.

The team at manufacturer Stryker (#15) says they’re using learnings from the pandemic to make the company an even better place to work by embracing flexibility and tailored working solutions between leaders and employees.

Leading with vulnerability

With all the uncertainty of the past year and half, the best thing managers can do for their employees is to show their own vulnerability, particularly when it comes to mental health.

At IT company Cisco (#2), a focus on employee well-being meant providing days off work, emotional well-being sessions and “Ask Me Anything” sessions with medical experts, specialists and even with leadership.

When 3M Chile’s new general manager Ximena Auil started at the beginning of the pandemic, and therefore couldn’t meet the team face-to-face, she set up virtual lunches and coffees, connecting with over 250 employees and their families in their homes.

Whether revealing their own struggles or virtually inviting employees into their homes, the leaders who show their humanity make their workplace a Best Workplace.

Measure your culture against leading workplaces

Want to know how your company culture compares to the World’s Best Workplaces™? Find out how your culture stacks up with our employee survey and Great Place to Work Certification™.

Claire Hastwell

Author

Great Place To Work identifies Best Workplaces™ in Asia by surveying over 1 million employees in Asia and the Middle East about the key factors that create great workplaces for all and analyzing company workplace programs impacting over 4.7 million employees in the region.

To be considered, companies must first be identified as outstanding in their local region by appearing on one or more of our Best Workplaces lists in Greater China (including China, Hong Kong and Taiwan), India, Indonesia, Japan, Kuwait, Philippines, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Korea, Sri Lanka, UAE, Vietnam during 2021 or early 2022.

Companies rank in three size categories: Small and Medium (10-499 employees); Large (500+); and Multinational. Multinational organizations are also assessed on their efforts to create great workplaces across multiple countries in the region. They must appear on at least two national lists in Asia and the Middle East and have at least 1,000 employees worldwide with at least 40% (or 5,000) of those employees located outside the headquarters country.

Great Place To Work identifies Best Workplaces in Asia™ by surveying 2.1 million employees in Asia and the Middle East about the key factors that create great workplaces for all and analyzing company workplace programs impacting 5.9 million employees in the region.

To be considered, companies must first be identified as outstanding in their local region by appearing on one or more of our Best Workplaces lists in Bahrain, Greater China (including China, Hong Kong and Taiwan), India, Indonesia, Japan, Kuwait, Oman, Philippines, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Korea, Sri Lanka, UAE, Vietnam during 2022 or early 2023.

Companies rank in three size categories: Small and Medium (10-499 employees); Large (500+); and Multinational. Multinational organizations are also assessed on their efforts to create great workplaces across multiple countries in the region. They must appear on at least two national lists in Asia and the Middle East and have at least 1,000 employees worldwide with at least 40% (or 5,000+) of those employees located outside the headquarters country.

For All™ Methodology

Great Place To Work, the global authority on workplace culture, determined the Philippines Best Workplaces™ 2023 List by conducting annual workforce studies through our Trust Index Survey™ and Culture Management platform Emprising®, representing the voices of over 450,000 employees across the Philippines.

Employees responded to over 60 survey questions describing the extent to which their organization creates a great place to work For All™, meaning that the company empowers all individuals to reach their full human potential. Eighty-five percent of the evaluation is based on what employees report about their experiences of trust and reaching their full human potential as part of their organization, no matter who they are or what they do. We analyze these experiences relative to each organization’s size, workforce makeup, and what’s typical in their industry and region. The remainder of the evaluation is an assessment of all employees’ daily experiences of the company’s values, people’s ability to contribute new ideas, and the effectiveness of their leaders to ensure they’re consistently experienced.

To ensure surveys truly represent all employees, we require enough people in each organization to respond that results are accurate to a 95% confidence level and 5% margin of error or better. We review any anomalies in survey responses, news, and financial performance to ensure there aren’t any extraordinary reasons to believe we couldn’t trust a company’s survey results.

For All™ Methodology

Great Place to Work, the global authority on workplace culture, determined the Philippines Best Workplaces™ 2022 List by conducting annual workforce studies through our Trust Index Survey™ and Culture Management platform Emprising®, representing the voices of over 130,000 employees across the Philippines.

Employees responded to over 60 survey questions describing the extent to which their organization creates a great place to work For All™, meaning that the company empowers all individuals to reach their full human potential. Eighty-five percent of the evaluation is based on what employees report about their experiences of trust and reaching their full human potential as part of their organization, no matter who they are or what they do. We analyze these experiences relative to each organization’s size, workforce makeup, and what’s typical in their industry and region. The remainder of the evaluation is an assessment of all employees’ daily experiences of the company’s values, people’s ability to contribute new ideas, and the effectiveness of their leaders to ensure they’re consistently experienced.

To ensure surveys truly represent all employees, we require enough people in each organization to respond that results are accurate to a 95% confidence level and 5% margin of error or better. We review any anomalies in survey responses, news, and financial performance to ensure there aren’t any extraordinary reasons to believe we couldn’t trust a company’s survey results.

Categories:
These organizations’ assessment is based 100% on employee responses to the Trust Index survey.

  • Small 10-99 Employees

For larger organizations with more than 100 employees, we also use our Culture Audit™ tool, asking organizations to share with us their practices, policies, and programs to create a great workplace For All™ and evaluate the approach they take.

  • Medium 100-999 Employees
  • Large 1000+ Employees

Why do you say in one place your national list scoring is based on 85%/15% and in another place that it is 75%/25%?

We are explaining two different things:
1.  The criteria we evaluate

  •  85% concerned with Trust and Maximizing Human Potential and
  • 15% concerned with everything else

2.  Where the data comes from

  • 100% Trust Index for organizations with less than 100 employees
  • 75% based on the Trust Index survey analytics and 25% based on responses to the Culture Audit for organizations with more than 100 employees.
For All™ Methodology

Great Place To Work, the global authority on workplace culture, determined the Philippines Best Workplaces™ 2023 List by conducting annual workforce studies through our Trust Index Survey™ and Culture Management platform Emprising®, representing the voices of over 450,000 employees across the Philippines.

Employees responded to over 60 survey questions describing the extent to which their organization creates a great place to work For All™, meaning that the company empowers all individuals to reach their full human potential. Eighty-five percent of the evaluation is based on what employees report about their experiences of trust and reaching their full human potential as part of their organization, no matter who they are or what they do. We analyze these experiences relative to each organization’s size, workforce makeup, and what’s typical in their industry and region. The remainder of the evaluation is an assessment of all employees’ daily experiences of the company’s values, people’s ability to contribute new ideas, and the effectiveness of their leaders to ensure they’re consistently experienced.

To ensure surveys truly represent all employees, we require enough people in each organization to respond that results are accurate to a 95% confidence level and 5% margin of error or better. We review any anomalies in survey responses, news, and financial performance to ensure there aren’t any extraordinary reasons to believe we couldn’t trust a company’s survey results.

Categories:
These organizations’ assessment is based 100% on employee responses to the Trust Index survey.

  • Small 10-99 Employees

For larger organizations with more than 100 employees, we also use our Culture Audit™ tool, asking organizations to share with us their practices, policies, and programs to create a great workplace For All™ and evaluate the approach they take.

  • Medium 100-999 Employees
  • Large 1000+ Employees