Singapore’s best places to work 2017

Trusting employees, giving back to society, and creating positive work culture - these are just a few of the things making these workplaces great.
By: | November 10, 2017

Thanks to Uber, the Weinstein Company, and the much-criticised toxicity of Silicon Valley and Hollywood, “workplace culture” has been the business buzzword (er, phrase) of the year.

But for Singapore’s best places to work in 2017 – as declared by the Great Place to Work Institute Singapore – workplace culture isn’t just something to worry about when it becomes the subject of countless think-pieces in the media. Rather, it forms a key aspect of a company’s mission and business goals.

“The best workplaces don’t leave culture up to chance,” said Evelyn Kwek, managing director of the Great Place to Work Institute Singapore.

At Intuit Singapore, which was the top winner in the Small Organisations category, building up a healthy and positive office culture is an evolving process that starts right up at recruitment.

“It’s not just about brains. We also assess for ‘awesome’, because we want people who carry our DNA, and who are aligned to our values,” said Shirin Anne Wan, Head of Customer Success, Asia Pacific, and Site Leader for Intuit Singapore.

A core value at the software company is ‘win together’ – a sentiment that starts from the top levels of the company, who are also mindful of acknowledging and incorporating the principles and societal norms of the international workforce.

“Even though they’re bosses sitting in Silicon Valley, they respect [the Asian/Singaporean culture]. Our leaders are highly humbled, and respect us… I don’t see that in a lot of organisations,” Wan added.


Improving society

Studies have shown that employees today –particularly the rising millennial generation – don’t just want to be office drones, but to be part of a wider effort to drive change and make a difference.

So it is perhaps unsurprising that ‘giving back’ was another thing this year’s Great Places to Work had in common. At Abbvie Singapore, which placed #7 in the rankings for the Medium and Large Organisations category, the newly launched Patient Club gives employees a chance to connect with the very patients they seek to help.

For Salesforce, the top winner in the Medium and Large Organisations category, the spirit of philanthropy pervades every level of business – every employee is given eight dedicated days a year to spend on volunteer work.

“We have a 1-1-1 model, [where] we give 1% of our time, 1% of money and 1% of product. We’re able to mix different departments, regardless of race, language, religion, even titles; everybody can help [to do something good],” said Jonas Lim, Director of Solution Engineering Asia at Salesforce, adding these initiatives are a natural extension of the ‘ohana’ (Hawaiian concept of extended family) philosophy that drives the company.


The trust factor

Like last year, trust remains a core underlying factor in making a workplace ‘great’. This year’s study found that 87% of employees in 2017’s best workplace trust the people they work for – compared to just 60% among employees from other workplaces.

For Royal Plaza on Scotts, which placed third in the Medium and Large Organisations category this year, such trust had to be earned by giving it – for example, by eliminating the timecard system that employees used to clock in and out of work.

“We realised trust was very important – they want to be trusted and respected. The hotel industry is very competitive, so it is very important to us to keep our people – to create the environment where our people are happy, and we become a first choice employer,” said Patrick Fiat, General Manager of Royal Manager on Scotts.


Investing in people and culture

Speaking at the event, Ms. Josephine Teo, Minister, Prime Minister’s Office, Second Minister for Manpower, and Second Minister for Home Affairs, highlighted that positive workplace cultures aren’t just important for making individual companies greater – but also for transforming Singapore’s economy and business landscape into one that is productive and innovative.

“[The] norms in every organisation must constantly evolve. The competitive landscape is dynamic. Each generation of workers has different aspirations. There are new problems to solve and new opportunities to capture. Just as business models and strategies need updating, so do the cultural norms within the organisation,” she said.


Singapore’s Best Workplaces of 2017

Medium & Large Organisations

  1. Salesforce
  2. Cisco
  3. Royal Plaza on Scotts
  4. SAP Asia
  5. Autodesk Asia
  6. DHL Express (Singapore)
  7. AbbVie
  8. NetApp Singapore
  9. Furama Hotels Singapore
  10. Tableau Asia Pacific

Small Organisations

  1. Intuit Singapore
  2. ROHEI Corporation
  3. Orbium