Caring for employees and their careers: Who the Top Employers in Asia-Pacific are for 2023

Certified by the Top Employees Institute, these winning organisations are assessed for their people strategy practices against international standards

One of the 21 regional Top Employers for 2023 in Asia-Pacific is global logistics company DHL. PHOTO: ST FILE

A company took into account the impact of Covid-19 when it came to employees’ performances, while another has a network of experienced employee managers to address staff welfare issues.

For these and other exemplary human resources (HR) practices, the companies have earned a place in the Top Employers Institute’s list of regional Top Employers in the Asia-Pacific (Apac) for 2023.

The Top Employers Institute has certified 321 organisations in 22 countries across the APAC region for 2023. Twenty-one of them even earned the honour of being certified as regional Top Employers – this means that they are certified as Top Employers in five or more countries in the region.

These 21 companies are regional Top Employers, which means that they have been certified as Top Employers in five or more countries in Asia-Pacific. IMAGE: TOP EMPLOYERS INSTITUTE

To be certified, companies must complete a comprehensive survey that spans 350 questions about their HR practices, and achieve a score of at least 60 per cent. The survey covers a range of categories, including business and people strategy, employer branding, talent acquisition, sustainability, rewards and recognition.

The questions delve into how organisations prepare new hires for their work, their diversity and inclusion strategies, and more. In the area of professional development, for example, the questions include whether and how often the company asks employees about their career aspirations, and if managers are evaluated on how they groom their team members.

“We are the only organisation that certifies Top Employers by looking at the organisations’ HR policies and practices. It’s an objective process,” says Mr Billy Elliott, the institute’s regional director for Apac. Firms must go through the survey each year to renew their certification.

Mr Elliott notes that the global Top Employers certification provides several key advantages, including a competitive edge in talent attraction. When consultancy Improof Research surveyed more than 1,400 employees globally in 2021 to get their views on HR certifications, 74 per cent of them would look for employers with such certifications.

More specifically, 79 per cent of them agree that they would have a better opinion of a company carrying the Top Employers certification.

At Swiss Re, being part of the Top Employers community means it is on the right track to being an employer of choice. PHOTO: SWISS RE

Mr Sanjiv Agarwal, head of HR for Southeast Asia of reinsurance specialist Swiss Re attests to the certification’s value. He says: “It recognises our commitment in raising the quality of work life, enabling professional excellence through cutting-edge technology, and providing flexible workplace solutions that allow our people to perform at their best.

“Being part of the Top Employers community means we will be able to share best practices and leverage learning from a wider spectrum of experiences, to ensure that we remain an employer of choice.”

The benefits of benchmarking

Mr Elliott adds that firms reap other benefits by going through the certification process. All companies that took part in the process will get their survey results, enabling them to identify their HR strengths and weaknesses. They can benchmark against other certified Top Employers globally, regionally, in their country and sectors too. 

Multinational companies can get deeper insights into how their HR practices vary from country to country, and align to the best ones. “It’s not just about correcting the inconsistencies, but finding the hidden gems of practices that you already have within your firm,” says Ms Ammara Naeem, Top Employers Institute's head of client success.

She notes that companies can also compare their survey findings with results from employee engagement efforts to pinpoint communication gaps. She explains: “Even if you spend a lot of time and resources on certain HR programmes, your staff may not be aware of them. That’s a problem that needs to be solved.”

Certified companies get access to the Top Employers institute’s regularly updated library of best HR practices, drawn from businesses worldwide. Additionally, the institute regularly invites all Top Employers to HR seminars and workshops where they can learn from one another.

"People are the cornerstone of Keppel’s businesses. We are honoured to be re-certified as a Top Employer in recognition of how we develop and nurture our employees and strive to build an organisation that Keppelites are proud to be a part of," says Mr Yeo Meng Hin, director of Group Human Resource at Keppel Corporation. "The robust certification process enables us to build on the best and latest people practices as we continue to make Keppel a great place to work."

To keep itself abreast with HR best practices, the Keppel team can attend seminars by the Top Employers Institute to learn from other global companies. PHOTO: ST FILE

Mr Elliott says: “Our certified companies are organisations of the highest calibre, and work hard to create, implement and advance their HR strategies and practices. The Apac Top Employers this year can credibly lay claim to having achieved excellence in HR.

“Perhaps the most important statistic is that this year’s group of Top Employers in Apac are positively impacting the lives of 2,574,089 employees through their world-class HR practices.”

Agreeing with Mr Elliott, Top Employers Institute’s chief executive officer David Plink feels that the companies have proven their commitment to their staff. “The consistency in people practices across the globe characterises an exclusive group of companies that have achieved a global certification through the Top Employers Programme,” he says.

Becoming an employer of choice

Besides conducting the certification process, the Top Employers Institute also generates workplace insights from its certification programme. As of 2023, it has certified 2,053 companies in 121 countries and regions across five continents, giving it a wealth of HR-related data.

For 2023, the Top Employers Institute has certified 321 businesses in Asia-Pacific as Top Employers. IMAGE: TOP EMPLOYERS INSTITUTE

In 2023, the top five countries in Apac with the most certified firms are China, Singapore, Malaysia, India and Thailand. Meanwhile, the industries within Apac with the greatest representation in the certification programme are consumer goods and services, manufacturing, pharmaceuticals, transportation, and logistics and information technology.

Companies certified as Top Employers have thrived in the past five years, even during the Covid-19 pandemic. They have reported stable or better revenue growth, market share, profitability and customer satisfaction. They have also ensured that the development of their employees is a top business priority and invested accordingly.

Mr Plink shares: “Based on their performance, it is clear that an employee-centric strategy plays an imperative role in achieving successful business results over a sustained period, driven by a highly engaged and motivated workforce.”

As companies continue to vie for top talent, HR policies and practices will become even more important, stresses Mr Elliott. “Businesses that offer an outstanding workplace experience, empower employees and make the world of work a greater place will be the employers of choice.” 

Visit the Top Employers Institute for more information.

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