What Working with Great Place to Work-Certified™ Companies Taught Me as an HR Professional

DENISE BAJE

Author

Years ago, I started working as a preschool teacher for a progressive school in San Juan. Its connection to my HR career may not be immediately apparent but bear with me. It actually has a lot to do with my journey to where I am today.

Learning the Fundamentals in Preschool

Back when I was a teacher, I would start my day at 5 a.m., commute for at least an hour, and sometimes spend a good portion of it standing in crowded buses. At 7:45 a.m., I would be at school greeting my students, 3–4-year-olds with insane amounts of energy. I had to sneak a sip of coffee after each activity just to keep up with them. Saying that I was always stressed and tired would be an understatement.

My job required creativity, grit, patience, people skills, and of course, compassion. But taking care of young children also gave me a sense of purpose. The drive to create valuable experiences for students kept me going despite the long days and sleepless nights.

Teachers work hard to create magic in the classroom so kids can learn and enjoy at the same time. We also cultivate meaningful experiences that will elevate their self-development. Things clicked for me when I realized this. As adults, we spend most of our time at work, continuously learning and working hard to improve ourselves. Why, then, can’t we have that same passion and drive for creating meaningful workplace experiences? Soon after this, I decided to pursue a career in Human Resources.

Defining My Personal Mission as an HR Professional

When I transitioned into my first Administration/HR role, I thought that I will not be able to apply my experience as a preschool teacher. Surprisingly, I found that they share the same principles that helped me in my new role. For example, I needed to be creative when organizing events and programs to keep the people I worked with engaged. Grit was also required to keep up with the day-to-day tasks of keeping operations afloat, even though this meant endless paperwork, spreadsheets, and emails. When resolving conflicts and easing tension between my co-workers, a level head and patience were my best friends. The communication and people skills I harnessed over the years came in handy when negotiating breaks and deadlines not only with kids but adults as well. Compassion was the filter that I had to apply in all situations – from an employee’s well-being to decisions and discussions around important changes in the organization. These eventually led me to focus on organizational development. I made it my mission to create a great workplace for my co-workers and an organization where they can maximize their potential.

Organizational development, at its core, is really about people development. And as research shows, people perform better and are happier when they feel that their environment fosters that growth. A big part of HR’s role in this mission is to create that kind of culture. But what makes a workplace great?

I found the answer at an HR event where I encountered Great Place to Work® (GPTW) for the first time. Their mission and vision immediately captured my attention:

“To build a better world by helping organizations become great places to work for all.”

There, I listened to GPTW Philippines Managing Partner Antoniette “Toni” Talosig speak eloquently about what makes a workplace stand out. Essentially, it is where you trust the people you work for, have pride in what you do, and enjoy the people you work with. She added that this is what they hope to create and experience whenever they work with organizations. That stuck with me and guided me throughout the rest of my HR journey, a journey that led me to work alongside Toni and the rest of the Great Place to Work® team a year later.

Helping Organizations Become Great Workplaces

Currently, I have the privilege of working with many people towards the goal of improving workplace experiences all over the country. These are not just leaders from HR, but from different departments, countries, and even those at the executive level.

The Great Place to Work® process is valuable to companies looking at assessing and evaluating their culture and elevating their employer brand. During the onboarding sessions, we discuss their culture strategy goals and see how we can support them in achieving those with the help of the Trust Index® survey and the For All™ model.

We don’t only focus on Great Place to Work Certification™, but we also look at the company’s data and share with them insights and best practices from the Best Workplaces™ in the Philippines and the rest of the world. Overall, the program aims to celebrate these amazing organizations and encourage others to follow suit.

The Need for Trust and Compassion During a Pandemic

In 2020, we experienced the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and its effect on how we work. Since then, there has been a greater focus on employees’ well-being and how employers take care of them, not just as an employee, but as individuals, regardless of their role in the company. The organizations I’ve worked with truly put their people first and showed bold acts of leadership despite the challenges. They tapped into their mindset of compassion and creating environments of trust to make employees feel safe, not just physically but psychologically as well.

Having a broader view of these different HR practices and workplace cultures across locations and industries only grew my love for what we do and our collective purpose in uplifting the workplace experience in the Philippines.

If you value Credibility, Respect, and Fairness in your leaders, Camaraderie with your colleagues, and Pride in the work that you do, then you’re one step closer to that goal. Ultimately, what I learned from working with these Great Place to Work-Certified™ companies is that everyone wants meaningful experiences at work, and everyone can contribute to making their organization a great place to work.

Insights on Philippine’s Best Workplaces and other people-first stories as we honor the heroism of Filipino workers and employers. Download your copy today.

DENISE BAJE

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