What Does It Take To Become the Best Place to Work in Singapore?

What Does It Take To Become the Best Place to Work in Singapore?

I think my company is the best place to work. And I’m not just saying that because it’s the end of the year and my year-end bonus is imminent. Assuming I get a bonus at all after what I’m about to say in this article! After all, MoneySmart didn’t find itself among the inaugural list of Singapore’s Best Companies to Work For.


Huh… everything simi sai also got list… what makes this list different?

Singapore’s Best Companies to Work For is a list of locally based firms identified based on numerous employee surveys and interviews conducted by the appropriately-named Great Place to Work Institute.

Just in case you think they sound like a fly-by-night company, they also supply Fortune magazine with an annual list of 100 Best Companies to Work For, and have published it since 1997. This is the first time they’re doing the survey in Singapore.


Okay okay… who is on the Singapore list?

Topping the list is Salesforce, which sells different kinds of customer relationship management cloud-based software. Coming in second and third place are tech firm Cisco and hotel chain InterContinental.

Most of the top 10 are tech veterans, from those with large local employee pools like Autodesk Asia to the significantly smaller NetApp. Outside of the tech industry, the list also includes Diageo, the producer of alcoholic brands like Guinness, Johnnie Walker and Baileys, and pharmaceutical manufacturer AbbVie.


So what do all these 10 companies have in common?

According to the Great Place to Work Institute, there are 5 dimensions to being a “Great Place to Work”, and these 10 companies were consistently better in all 5, compared to the rest of the companies surveyed. These 5 dimensions are: Credibility, Respect, Fairness, Pride and Camaraderie.

  1. Credibility

This takes into account the level of two-way communication between management and employees, and the competence and integrity of the management as perceived by the employees.

  1. Respect

This somewhat self-explanatory dimension looks at how much support, collaboration and care employees feel they get from their management.

  1. Fairness

Another self-explanatory attribute that looks at how management treats employees and considers the level of impartiality and justice in the workplace.

  1. Pride

This looks how much pride employees have in their personal job, in their team and in their organisation as a whole.

  1. Camaraderie

This looks carefully at the sense of community that employees find at their workplace, which includes the level of hospitality shown to one another.


Seems quite straightforward… what else did the study reveal?

The biggest factor in making Singapore companies a Great Place to Work, it would appear, is the sense of pride that employees have in their work and their company. For example, the employee’s belief that she, as an individual, can make a difference regardless of rank or position is a huge factor.

Employees who take pride in their work and their company are more willing to tell others good things about their workplace and look forward to going to work.


So what can employers learn from the results of this survey?

It’s important for management to ensure that their employees are consistently recognised for the work that they do. Employees prefer to be seen as unique individuals, not just another cog in the machine. They also need to believe that management is highly dependable, with actions matching their words. These aspects are done in a unique and creative manner, through a highly transparent and open culture.


Hmmmm…. Still seems like a biased survey, leh…

Yes, the fact that most of the companies in the list are tech companies does seem to suggest a certain bias. It may also seem like smaller companies would do better, since it’s easier for employees to feel connected to management when there’s less red-tape to work around.

After all, half of the companies, including the top company Salesforce, currently have less than 300 employees based in Singapore. However, it has to be noted that Cisco, InterContinental Hotels and SAP all manage to end up in 2nd,3rd and 5th place, respectively, with over 700 employees each.

Ultimately, it’s not clear how many companies were actually involved in the survey. The Great Place to Work Institute claims that the integrity of the list evaluation process is of utmost importance. As a result, they don’t restrict it only to companies who are their clients, nor give clients the impression that working with them will get them on the list. All organisations are eligible to apply to their list.


But is it worth applying to be on the list? My company isn’t in tech…

Remember that this is only the first year this survey is being conducted in Singapore. The prevalence of tech companies is a surprise when compared to the Fortune 100 Best Companies to Work For.

On that list, currently in the 18th year, Google is the top company, but 3 of the top 5 companies actually fall under the financial services and insurance category. Hopefully, by the time next year’s list is released, we’ll see a greater diversity of companies being showcased.


Do you agree with the survey results? What do you think makes a Great Place to Work? Share your thoughts with us.