Trust Matters Navigating Uncertainty: The Power of Leadership

VALENTINA LWIN-BAILEY

Author

Valentina Lwin Bailey

Author

CATEGORIES

Categories

In a time when fruit bowls and yoga classes have become synonymous with workplace wellness, it’s clear that the demands on leaders have evolved far beyond the ordinary. Amidst evolving challenges prompted by economic conditions, post-pandemic catch up, supply chain disruptions, the advent of AI, digitalisation efforts, the urgency for change and speed becomes imperative. Employees look to their leaders for direction and stability, intensifying the pressure on leaders to successfully navigate both operational demands and people responsibilities.  

The observations from Australian Great Place To Work Certified® organisations reveal that the essential qualities for effectively navigating these challenges and simultaneously cultivating flourishing workplaces are rooted in the behaviors of the leaders.  

The 2023 Australia’s Best Workplaces, unveiled on the 17th of August in Sydney, paints a vivid portrait of leaders who rise to this challenge, transcending ordinary gestures to forge a legacy of integrity, engagement, empathy, and camaraderie. What sets these 90 Best Workplaces (AU Best1) apart from the rest is their leaders’ strong integrity and unwavering commitment to deliver on promises, engaging meaningfully with employees, cultivating an atmosphere of mutual respect and building a true sense of camaraderie. This insight is based on the Great Place To Work® Trust Index™ Survey responses representing almost over 110,000 employee voices across different industries in Australia.    

1. Walking the talk: Integrity in Practice

Leaders at AU Best uphold their commitments by translating words into actions. They recognise integrity is the key currency, and deliver on promises, adhere to company values, and demonstrate ethical behaviour. The survey findings reveal that AU Best Trust Index©2 soars when leaders show honesty, and when their conducts match what they say. A leader’s integrity is the cornerstone of a trustworthy workplace. 

An example of this is at Prospa, a leading fintech servicing Australian small businesses, dedicated to fostering a fair and inclusive compensation and benefits structure, they conduct annual salary benchmarking with a specialized remuneration consultant, which includes reviewing any gender-pay disparities. This has allowed their leaders to be fully informed about any inequalities and be transparent in rectifying any systemic biases. Embodying their core value of “One Team” to value and support diversity in their team, Prospa leadership recently endorsed an upgraded leave policy that better supports return-to-work parents and those on gender transition journey. 

Management's actions match its words.

No Data Found

Management delivers on its promises.

No Data Found

Management is honest and ethical in its business practices.

No Data Found

Our executives fully embody the best characteristics of our company.

No Data Found

Trust Index

No Data Found

2. Engaging Employees: Purposeful Connection

Gone are the days of top-down decision-making. Employees today want a seat at the decision-making table. They seek collaboration with management to actively shape the organisation’s path. This isn’t just about having a voice; it’s about being heard and driving meaningful change. Inclusion isn’t a mere buzzword; it’s the essence of a progressive workplace. Challenging as it may initially appear, AU Best have indisputably demonstrated it is possible to achieve, with substantially higher scores compared to AU Rest. 

Jaybro Group exemplifies this purposeful connection when its Executives engaged employees to enhance community partnerships. Through an inclusive internal survey, all employees are encouraged to propose corporate partners aligned with the company’s values, fostering enduring and mutually beneficial collaborations that extends beyond financial contributions. This initiative empowered employees to contribute to a greater vision of the company, enabling them to be actively involved by volunteering and support in communities that resonate deeply with their interests and values.

Management genuinely seeks and responds to suggestions and ideas.

No Data Found

Management involves people in decisions that affect their jobs or work environment.

No Data Found

Management is approachable, easy to talk with.

No Data Found

3. Nurturing Well-Being: Not Just An Employee

The era of pandemic-related support is behind us, but the need for care and understanding remains stronger than ever. With employees juggling work and personal responsibilities while grappling with the challenges of rising living costs, they’re seeking leaders to show genuine empathy and care for their individual circumstances, and extend a hand of support. The leaders who display sincere interest in their team members, recognise efforts for hard work and innovation, and foster psychological and emotional safety, emerge as trustworthy leaders. 

Displaying empathy for the financial challenges experienced by its employees, Marriott International accelerated the required 4.6% wage increase plan for 2,500 staff members, a full three months ahead of the industry-scheduled timeline. This thoughtful action not only boosted employee morale and eased financial strains, but also communicated a strong sense of appreciation from the company towards its workforce for their dedication during recent difficult periods for the industry. 

We celebrate people who try new and better ways of doing things at work.

No Data Found

Management shows a sincere interest in me as a person, not just an employee.

No Data Found

Management shows appreciation for good work and extra effort.

No Data Found

This is a psychologically and emotionally healthy place to work.

No Data Found

4. Fostering Camaraderie: Strong Workplace Relationships

Leaders at AU Best understand the importance of a healthy camaraderie in the workplace. They actively foster an environment where individuals relish collaborating, ensuring a sense of family-like closeness while enabling effective cooperation to achieve workplace excellence. Leaders make sure employees are warmly welcomed at initial joining, are smoothly transitioned when making internal moves and feel a sense of belonging at different stages of their journey with the company. 

At Carlisle Homes fostering strong workplace relationships start from the top. Notwithstanding the value of various communication and collaboration mechanisms, the priority for the leaders is to get involve by actively walking the floors and jumping in a car to spend time in all locations to stay close to the heartbeat of the business. This innate approach of the leaders has the not only strengthened the company’s identity and culture but also united the team, proving essential during challenging periods.

The data shows that such leadership behaviours enable a work environment where employees look forward to coming to work and have fun doing so. 

When people change work units, they are made to feel right at home.

No Data Found

You can count on people to cooperate.

No Data Found

People look forward to coming to work here.

No Data Found

This is a fun place to work.

No Data Found

The Path Forward: Leadership in Action

As we navigate through the ever-evolving landscape of leadershipthe traits of integrity, collaboration, empathy, and genuine interest in employees have emerged as the cornerstones of trust. These attributes are not just admirable qualities of contemporary leaderthey’re the key to fostering a high-trust culture where employees not only thrive but ignite company performance across all areas. In times of rapid change, it’s the leaders who translate words into actions, who actively engage and empower their teams, who extend a hand of understanding and care, and who cultivate an environment of camaraderie and strong bonds, that orchestrate workplaces where trust flourishes. By embracing these foundational principles, we navigate uncertainty not as a challenge but as an opportunity to create workplaces that transcend the ordinary, inspiring greatness and redefining success on a truly transformative scale.

Want to see how your employees are experiencing your workplace culture and how your company compares with the Best Workplaces in Australia for 2023Contact us for a demo on our proprietary Emprising™ survey platform to find out.    

1. AU Best refers to companies on the 2023 Australia’s Best Workplaces list. AU Rest refers to other companies, including Great Place To Work Certified™ companies, that participated in this year’s survey. Not all Certified companies appear on the 2023 Best Workplaces list.

2.Trust Index© – measure of level of trust employees experience at work across the five areas of Great Place To Work Trust Model: Credibility, Respect, Fairness, Pride and Camaraderie. 

Demographics

VALENTINA LWIN-BAILEY

Valentina brings 25 years of experience in organisational development, people and culture, and teaching and training experience from across higher education, government and private sectors in Australia and Myanmar (Burma). In the past 15+ years, she has been focused on employee engagement, workplace culture, leadership development and strategic planning. Her recent HR leadership roles included heading up functional HR teams in large and complex organisations, including crisis management during the pandemic and political unrest. She exercises her passion for people development by teaching, mentoring and coaching young HR professionals in the areas of HR, management and career planning. Valentina is a strong advocate for full-person wellness, and achieves balance through yoga, outdoor activities, cooking and enjoys spending time with family and friends.

Sign up for our Newsletter
& Never miss a new Blog!

AU Newsletter

CTA GOES HERE

Great Place To Work® Best Workplaces™ in Australia 2024 Evaluation Methodology

The data science behind this list from Great Place To Work®

Great Place To Work® has been surveying employees around the world about their workplace experiences for 30 years. We have developed a set of themes and metrics that not only predict whether employees feel their workplace is great, but predict retention, agility, and overall business success.  

Using our proprietary Trust Index™ survey, we measure the core of what we know creates great workplaces — key behaviors that drive trust in management, connection with colleagues, and loyalty to the company.  

The survey enables employees to share confidential quantitative and qualitative feedback about their organization’s culture by responding to 60 statements on a five-point scale and answering two open-ended questions.

Employees tell us whether leaders are accessible, communicate honestly and clearly, and if their actions match their words. They tell us whether they feel respected as individuals, if they receive training benefits, appreciation, support for their well-being and opportunities to contribute. They tell us whether they believe their company is fair related to pay, profits, promotions, recognition, favoritism and opportunities. They tell us if they are proud of their work, their team, and their company, and if they feel they make a difference and their work is meaningful. And they tell us whether they enjoy the people they work with, feel cared for and can be themselves.  

List rankings are based on this employee feedback, which we analyze to determine the extent to which this experience is shared by the full workforce. Great Place To Work measures the differences in survey responses across demographic groups and roles within each organization to assess both the quality and consistency of the employee experience. Statements are weighted according to their relevance in describing the most important aspects of an equitable workplace. 

The best companies create great work experiences not just for management, but also for their part-time employees on the front lines, for those who’ve just joined and those who’ve spent their whole career there, for every race and ethnicity, gender, neurotype, or other demographic in the organization – we look at it all. Companies with the broadest set of employees who report positive workplace experience receive the highest rankings on lists.

In addition to analyzing employee feedback, for National List’s for companies in the Medium and Large size categories, we also consider what a company can tell us about their programs and workplace strategy. Each company also answers six essay questions that provide greater insight into how, and why the organization is great for all people. Responses are rigorously evaluated and cross-reviewed according to Great Place To Work’s research-driven criteria. From what companies share in datapoints and essays, we identify the organizations that offer the most generous, caring and innovative cultures that reflect a genuine commitment to meet the diversity of their people’s needs inside and outside the workplace as validated by what employees themselves report in survey results.
Where an industry list is being revealed (i.e. Healthcare, Technology) additional information provided from an organization in the form of a culture audit will not be considered; rather we analyze employee feedback from the Trust Index survey with the above methodology.

Because employee feedback drives these rankings, surveys must meet strict requirements for how they are distributed and the percentage of employees who respond to ensure they accurately represent honest feedback from the company’s full population. To be eligible for the list, companies must be Great Place To Work Certified™, have 10 or more employees in the country they are being Certified, and be operating in the industry relevant to a specific Industry list if applicable (i.e. Healthcare, Technology). If categories are being listed within a National list, category break downs are as follows: Companies with 10-29 people were considered for the Micro category; those with 30 to 99 people for the Small category; companies with 100 to 999 employees were considered for the Medium category; and those with 1,000 or more for the Large category. Some lists in certain countries may combine categories in which case that will be specified in the list breakdown.
While essay responses provide important context for rankings, only survey data can garner a list placement.

Great Place To Work® Best Workplaces™ in Australia 2024 Evaluation Methodology

The data science behind this list from Great Place To Work®

Great Place To Work® has been surveying employees around the world about their workplace experiences for 30 years. We have developed a set of themes and metrics that not only predict whether employees feel their workplace is great, but predict retention, agility, and overall business success.  

Using our proprietary Trust Index™ survey, we measure the core of what we know creates great workplaces — key behaviors that drive trust in management, connection with colleagues, and loyalty to the company.  

The survey enables employees to share confidential quantitative and qualitative feedback about their organization’s culture by responding to 60 statements on a five-point scale and answering two open-ended questions.

Employees tell us whether leaders are accessible, communicate honestly and clearly, and if their actions match their words. They tell us whether they feel respected as individuals, if they receive training benefits, appreciation, support for their well-being and opportunities to contribute. They tell us whether they believe their company is fair related to pay, profits, promotions, recognition, favoritism and opportunities. They tell us if they are proud of their work, their team, and their company, and if they feel they make a difference and their work is meaningful. And they tell us whether they enjoy the people they work with, feel cared for and can be themselves.  

List rankings are based on this employee feedback, which we analyze to determine the extent to which this experience is shared by the full workforce. Great Place To Work measures the differences in survey responses across demographic groups and roles within each organization to assess both the quality and consistency of the employee experience. Statements are weighted according to their relevance in describing the most important aspects of an equitable workplace. 

The best companies create great work experiences not just for management, but also for their part-time employees on the front lines, for those who’ve just joined and those who’ve spent their whole career there, for every race and ethnicity, gender, neurotype, or other demographic in the organization – we look at it all. Companies with the broadest set of employees who report positive workplace experience receive the highest rankings on lists.

In addition to analyzing employee feedback, for National List’s for companies in the Medium and Large size categories, we also consider what a company can tell us about their programs and workplace strategy. Each company also answers six essay questions that provide greater insight into how, and why the organization is great for all people. Responses are rigorously evaluated and cross-reviewed according to Great Place To Work’s research-driven criteria. From what companies share in datapoints and essays, we identify the organizations that offer the most generous, caring and innovative cultures that reflect a genuine commitment to meet the diversity of their people’s needs inside and outside the workplace as validated by what employees themselves report in survey results.
Where an industry list is being revealed (i.e. Healthcare, Technology) additional information provided from an organization in the form of a culture audit will not be considered; rather we analyze employee feedback from the Trust Index survey with the above methodology.

Because employee feedback drives these rankings, surveys must meet strict requirements for how they are distributed and the percentage of employees who respond to ensure they accurately represent honest feedback from the company’s full population. To be eligible for the list, companies must be Great Place To Work Certified™, have 10 or more employees in the country they are being Certified, and be operating in the industry relevant to a specific Industry list if applicable (i.e. Healthcare, Technology). If categories are being listed within a National list, category break downs are as follows: Companies with 10-29 people were considered for the Micro category; those with 30 to 99 people for the Small category; companies with 100 to 999 employees were considered for the Medium category; and those with 1,000 or more for the Large category. Some lists in certain countries may combine categories in which case that will be specified in the list breakdown.
While essay responses provide important context for rankings, only survey data can garner a list placement.

Great Place To Work® Best Workplaces for Women™ List Methodology

The data science behind this list from Great Place To Work®

Great Place To Work® has been surveying employees around the world about their workplace experiences for 30 years. We have developed a set of themes and metrics that not only predict whether employees feel their workplace is great, but predict retention, agility, and overall business success.  

Using our proprietary Trust Index™ survey, we measure the core of what we know creates great workplaces — key behaviors that drive trust in management, connection with colleagues, and loyalty to the company.  

The survey enables employees to share confidential quantitative and qualitative feedback about their organization’s culture by responding to 60 statements on a five-point scale and answering two open-ended questions.

Employees tell us whether leaders are accessible, communicate honestly and clearly, and if their actions match their words. They tell us whether they feel respected as individuals, if they receive training benefits, appreciation, support for their well-being and opportunities to contribute. They tell us whether they believe their company is fair related to pay, profits, promotions, recognition, favoritism and opportunities. They tell us if they are proud of their work, their team, and their company, and if they feel they make a difference and their work is meaningful. And they tell us whether they enjoy the people they work with, feel cared for and can be themselves.  

List rankings are based on this employee feedback, which we analyze to determine the extent to which this experience is shared by the full workforce. Great Place To Work measures the differences in survey responses across demographic groups and roles within each organization to assess both the quality and consistency of the employee experience. Statements are weighted according to their relevance in describing the most important aspects of an equitable workplace. 

The best companies create great work experiences not just for management, but also for their part-time employees on the front lines, for those who’ve just joined and those who’ve spent their whole career there, for every race and ethnicity, gender, neurotype, or other demographic in the organization – we look at it all. Companies with the broadest set of employees who report positive workplace experience receive the highest rankings on lists.

In addition to analyzing employee feedback, for National List’s for companies in the Medium and Large size categories, we also consider what a company can tell us about their programs and workplace strategy. Each company also answers six essay questions that provide greater insight into how, and why the organization is great for all people. Responses are rigorously evaluated and cross-reviewed according to Great Place To Work’s research-driven criteria. From what companies share in datapoints and essays, we identify the organizations that offer the most generous, caring and innovative cultures that reflect a genuine commitment to meet the diversity of their people’s needs inside and outside the workplace as validated by what employees themselves report in survey results.
Where an industry list is being revealed (i.e. Healthcare, Technology) additional information provided from an organization in the form of a culture audit will not be considered; rather we analyze employee feedback from the Trust Index survey with the above methodology.

Because employee feedback drives these rankings, surveys must meet strict requirements for how they are distributed and the percentage of employees who respond to ensure they accurately represent honest feedback from the company’s full population. To be eligible for the list, companies must be Great Place To Work Certified™, have 10 or more employees in the country they are being Certified, and be operating in the industry relevant to a specific Industry list if applicable (i.e. Healthcare, Technology). If categories are being listed within a National list, category break downs are as follows: Companies with 10-29 people were considered for the Micro category; those with 30 to 99 people for the Small category; companies with 100 to 999 employees were considered for the Medium category; and those with 1,000 or more for the Large category. Some lists in certain countries may combine categories in which case that will be specified in the list breakdown.
While essay responses provide important context for rankings, only survey data can garner a list placement.

Great Place To Work® Best Workplaces™ in Australia 2024 Evaluation Methodology

The data science behind this list from Great Place To Work®

Great Place To Work® has been surveying employees around the world about their workplace experiences for 30 years. We have developed a set of themes and metrics that not only predict whether employees feel their workplace is great, but predict retention, agility, and overall business success.  

Using our proprietary Trust Index™ survey, we measure the core of what we know creates great workplaces — key behaviors that drive trust in management, connection with colleagues, and loyalty to the company.  

The survey enables employees to share confidential quantitative and qualitative feedback about their organization’s culture by responding to 60 statements on a five-point scale and answering two open-ended questions.

Employees tell us whether leaders are accessible, communicate honestly and clearly, and if their actions match their words. They tell us whether they feel respected as individuals, if they receive training benefits, appreciation, support for their well-being and opportunities to contribute. They tell us whether they believe their company is fair related to pay, profits, promotions, recognition, favoritism and opportunities. They tell us if they are proud of their work, their team, and their company, and if they feel they make a difference and their work is meaningful. And they tell us whether they enjoy the people they work with, feel cared for and can be themselves.  

List rankings are based on this employee feedback, which we analyze to determine the extent to which this experience is shared by the full workforce. Great Place To Work measures the differences in survey responses across demographic groups and roles within each organization to assess both the quality and consistency of the employee experience. Statements are weighted according to their relevance in describing the most important aspects of an equitable workplace. 

The best companies create great work experiences not just for management, but also for their part-time employees on the front lines, for those who’ve just joined and those who’ve spent their whole career there, for every race and ethnicity, gender, neurotype, or other demographic in the organization – we look at it all. Companies with the broadest set of employees who report positive workplace experience receive the highest rankings on lists.

In addition to analyzing employee feedback, for National List’s for companies in the Medium and Large size categories, we also consider what a company can tell us about their programs and workplace strategy. Each company also answers six essay questions that provide greater insight into how, and why the organization is great for all people. Responses are rigorously evaluated and cross-reviewed according to Great Place To Work’s research-driven criteria. From what companies share in datapoints and essays, we identify the organizations that offer the most generous, caring and innovative cultures that reflect a genuine commitment to meet the diversity of their people’s needs inside and outside the workplace as validated by what employees themselves report in survey results.
Where an industry list is being revealed (i.e. Healthcare, Technology) additional information provided from an organization in the form of a culture audit will not be considered; rather we analyze employee feedback from the Trust Index survey with the above methodology.

Because employee feedback drives these rankings, surveys must meet strict requirements for how they are distributed and the percentage of employees who respond to ensure they accurately represent honest feedback from the company’s full population. To be eligible for the list, companies must be Great Place To Work Certified™, have 10 or more employees in the country they are being Certified, and be operating in the industry relevant to a specific Industry list if applicable (i.e. Healthcare, Technology). If categories are being listed within a National list, category break downs are as follows: Companies with 10-29 people were considered for the Micro category; those with 30 to 99 people for the Small category; companies with 100 to 999 employees were considered for the Medium category; and those with 1,000 or more for the Large category. Some lists in certain countries may combine categories in which case that will be specified in the list breakdown.
While essay responses provide important context for rankings, only survey data can garner a list placement.