13 firms honoured as great workplaces
Firm with individual training budgets, hotel that does away with MCs among those winning award
Individual budgets for training, doing away with medical certificates and days off for voluntary work. Companies that introduced these for their employees were recognised at the Singapore Best Workplaces Awards Ceremony yesterday.
Financial software firm Intuit Singapore was yesterday named best workplace locally in the "small organisations" category. It gives each of its 40 employees $8,000 yearly for training and development in a related field.
Mr John Pathrose, 34, a senior marketing manager with Intuit, graduated with a master's in business administration from SP Jain Singapore last year.
His programme cost more than $30,000, and if he stays with the firm, he can continue to claim the yearly $8,000 until his studies are fully reimbursed.
"Without the company's support, I might not have taken up that programme," he said.
He added that such schemes are a win-win for both employees and employers as the education helped in his work.
A total of 13 firms were awarded yesterday: 10 in the "medium and large organisations" categories and three in the "small organisations" category.
Cloud computing firm Salesforce won the top prize for the third consecutive year in the former category. It allows employees up to eight days of leave to encourage their involvement in voluntary work.
It recently made the news for spending US$3 million (S$4.08 million) across its company to close the gender pay gap.
A recent study by ValuePenguin found that Singapore's gender pay gap has not improved since 2006 - men here still earn almost 20 per cent more than women, with the number going up to 40 per cent for some industries.
The Great Place to Work Institute managing director Evelyn Kwek said equality, trust and respect for individuals make for good workplace culture.
"The best workplaces do not leave culture up to chance," she said. "They think about the culture they want and how to get there."
Echoing this view is Royal Plaza on Scotts. Plagued with low morale following the global recession in 2008, the hotel actively reshaped its culture to enhance employee engagement.
Its ranking has jumped in the three-year history of the awards, from a special mention in 2015 to its current third-place ranking.
The hotel's general manager Patrick Fiat said: "How can we say that we trust our employees when we make them clock in and out every day and make them show us their medical certificates when they are sick? So we did away with all that."
The hotel's monthly employee turnover rate last year was three times lower than the industry average.
Minister in the Prime Minister's Office Josephine Teo stressed the importance of workplace culture in her opening speech for the awards, lamenting it as "undervalued".
"Part of the problem is that chief executive officers are more likely to be rewarded for meeting revenue or profit targets than something as intangible as workplace culture," she said.
"But to achieve optimal performance over the longer term, workplace culture matters. Great places to work are more likely to retain talents and to have engaged employees who help the organisation to keep advancing."