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Outstanding workplaces in Asia-Pacific
The 2023 HRD Asia 5-Star Employers of Choice recognises the companies that go above and beyond for their employees, specifically in the areas of:
diversity and inclusion
Describing what it means to be one of the best companies to work for in Asia, Puneet Swani, a career business leader for Asia, IMEA and the Pacific at Mercer, highlights key initiatives such as:
leveraging the lessons of the pandemic to learn to balance empathy and economics
structuring workforces to account for online sales and rapidly emerging technological advancements versus traditional face-to-face sales
empowering employees to develop comprehensive well-being
enabling greater employee collaboration to advance a collective purpose
Swani says diversity and inclusion efforts are vital as studies show companies with well-diversified workforces have been outperforming their non-diversified peers.
“If you’re already facing a lot of headwinds in financial performance, then diversity and equity might be a good tool to have,” he adds.
What sets the 5-Star Employers apart?
Allen Lee, head of people at award winner Aspire, is proud of the fintech firm’s culture.
“We’re not perfect, but the fact that we’re a five-year-old company and in this stage of growth we are at right now is great,” he says. “The founder and co-founding team have a real big influence in shaping the culture.”
The firm is actively hiring with over 80 open roles, and also has a cultural manifesto of the values they seek to live and breathe.
“We practice work from anywhere and also have unlimited leave, and our employee engagement is quite high,” he says.
In 2022, Aspire managed an employee net promoter (eNPS) score of 56 along with winning Asia fintech and LinkedIn top startup awards.
“One of the things our employees love is flexibility. We practice ‘work from anywhere.’ Even our leave policy – we manage it very flexibly”
Allen Lee Aspire
At fellow winner PANDR Outsourcing, founder and CEO Anthony Gunter highlights how his firm offers staff real responsibility to determine internal operating structures. This is achieved by initiatives, including:
allowing employees to vote on cultural decisions
continually measuring culture based on employee satisfaction surveys, eNPS and other means
staying ahead of the curve on employee engagement and technology investments
“We have always adopted an attitude to stay hungry regarding continual improvements to our working environment,” he adds. “But to summarize, we need to become even better at listening to what our employees really want.”
Gunter says PANDR not only scored a 72 in eNPS for the first quarter of 2023 but also won a series of awards for being a great place to work.
Also an award winner is agriculture R&D company, Corteva Agriscience. APAC HR director Theresa Effeney highlights the fundamental building blocks that the company’s success as an employer is based upon:
“We need to become even better at listening to what our employees really want”
How the 5-Star Employers navigate the Asian
The pandemic has led to greater working location flexibility, and research by the International Data Corporation found that 56% of workers across the region want flexible working. LinkedIn also notes “strong growth in remote job applications across key markets, such as China, India, New Zealand, Australia, and Singapore.”
Gunter says, “We’re seeing some employees wanting to continue with work from home (WFH) or flexible roles, having experienced it complimenting their lifestyle. Others discovered they were better suited to an office environment and found WFH wasn’t their thing.”
Aspire enables its employees to choose the workplace setup they are most comfortable with.
“One of the things our employees love is flexibility,” Lee says. “We practice ‘work from anywhere.’ Even our leave policy – we manage it very flexibly. There is no mandate that you need to come in on certain days or a certain number of days. Our employees really love that part.”
Effeney comments on how the HR landscape in Asia continues to evolve and things are “buoyant” with plenty of young and diverse talent available for recruiting. “Candidates are seeking companies that have strong purpose and values.”
5-Star Employers reflect on key criteria
As part of the 2023 5-Star Employer of Choice awards, HRD Asia queried employees of nominated companies to gauge their views.
Reacting to this, PANDR Outsourcing highlights its focus on keeping tabs to outperform its competitors.
“We monitor industry trends closely to ensure we are providing very competitive benefits for our staff. Additionally, we also have developed a number of unique benefits for PANDR employers that help us stand out in the crowd,” says Gunter.
PANDR is also breaking with the norm in representation with women making up 70% of employees and the management group also predominately female-led.
“PANDR is pro-diversity and welcomes staff from any background to join our company,” says Gunter. “We provide a range of standardized and tailored training for staff in different fields and departments.”
There is a similar strong commitment to these ideals at Corteva Agriscience.
“They’re really grounded in living safely, being upstanding and standing tall. So really, doing what’s right, that’s a really strong value that we have in the organisation and then we build on that,” says Effeney,
Corteva Agriscience offers a variable bonus and describes the payout over the past two years as “exceptional”.
“Compared to market and competition, we’re definitely proud of the contribution that the organisation has made and the way that’s translated to the incentives that we’ve been able to pay our employees.”
Another key plank of their success as an employer is fostering an environment where coaching and mentoring are prevalent.
“Usually, the best development comes from giving people the best opportunities to deal with our biggest problems and really focusing on that developmental growth and then bolstering that with some learning is what we do,” explains Effeney. “We’ve got really good tools for employees. We really want employees to embrace the learning. Things like LinkedIn Learning, we’ve got memberships with the growth faculty. So, we really are diverse even in thinking about how [to] bolster the opportunities and access for people to learn.”
At Aspire, Lee says employees appreciate work flexibility. “There is no mandate that you need to come in a certain number of days,” he says. “So, I think that’s what really kind of allows our employees to be more flexible, and our employees really love that part.”
“Candidates are seeking companies that have strong purpose and values”
Theresa EffeneyCorteva Agriscience
- ASMPT Singapore
- Erajaya Swasembada
- Hayleys Advantis
- Marina Bay Sands
- MGM China
- Singapore Pools
- Sitel India
- Aspire FT
- Cartus Corporation
- Home Loan Experts
- Watson-Marlow Fluid Technology Solutions
- Cornerstone OnDemand
- Heng An Standard Life (Asia)
To be considered, each organisation had to reach a minimum number of employee responses based on overall size. Organisations that achieved a 75% or greater average satisfaction rating from employees were named 5-Star Employers of Choice for 2023.