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Is there a ‘Best Workplace Culture’?

An elderly man was spotted by a kind lady living in very squalid conditions in his rental flat. He was covered with bugs. She not only helped the man clean up, but with the help of others, cleaned up his home. My heart goes to this wonderful group of people who extend themselves to the larger community.

- “Man who didn’t bathe for over 10 years gets help” 1 Jul 2015, My Paper

In our recently released 2015 National Values Assessment (NVA), the key theme for the results on the national workplace culture was this:

“Singapore employed residents desire a workplace that focuses on building healthy and sustainable relationships as a foundation to achieve organisation outcomes.”

The survey also showed up other interesting insights into the Singapore employed resident. I’ve listed below just a few of these observations.

 Singapore employed residents:

  • are motivated if they are able to live out individual traits such as responsibility, balance (home/ work), positive attitude, honesty and adaptability in their workplace. Family, friendship and care are also important to them.

  • recognise that there are focused efforts put in the workplace today in building brand image, and also developing a workforce that personifies professionalism, achievement and result orientation.

  • view long hours and cost reduction as possible causes of work stress and may inhibit the achievement of organisation results.

  • desire a workplace environment characterised by greater emphasis on relational values such as employee recognition, teamwork, caring, coaching/mentoring, cooperation, fairness and respect.

  • feel that compared to 2012, there is a focus on balance (work/home) and this could be a result of greater awareness and also the implementation of work-life friendly practices in the workplace. Long hours, however, remain a challenge in most organisations.

2015 aAdvantage NVA Infographic.JPEG


As business leaders, what are some of the questions we should be exploring from the results of the 2015 National Values Assessment? Perhaps we could start by thinking about the following:

  1. In focusing on building high performance systems and processes, is there a strong business case to engage employees to help them find meaning in their work, show care and provide coaching & mentoring?

  2. Is there a ‘best workplace culture’? How do leaders respond to the differences:

    • in life-stage of the organisation (start-up, stable growth, aggressive growth

    • within a multi-generation workforce (Gen-X, Gen Y and baby-boomers)

    • across public, private and not-for-profit organisations, and

    • between large and small establishments?

  3. How have we progressed in terms of creating a conducive and motivating workplace environment for our employees? What is positive and what remains challenging?

These are by no means the only questions to be explored. The study gives us the opportunity to examine and probe deeper into many other areas as well.

Getting to the Heart of the Matter

Coming back to the story of the elderly man and the kind ‘samaritan’. One piece of information that did not appear in the My Paper article but was recorded in an article in The Straits Times on 8 July 2015 revealed that the same man has been under the public assistance scheme and survives on the S$450 each month. Without jumping to any conclusion, I have the following questions:

  1. In effecting the public assistance scheme, does the officer-in-charge (or team) who monitors and reviews this gentleman’s case look upon his role as administering the checks and handing out the grant, or does he see his role as that of ensuring the well-being of the grant recipient?

  2. What does the officer’s supervisor do to ensure that his staff is focused on fulfilling the organisation’s purpose rather than just performing a task?

  3. What kind of work environment will enable, motivate and sustain employees across the organisation to do the right thing and not only to ‘do things right’?

So what’s next?

Download our infographics to get a conversation going within your own company or organisation (public, private or not-for-profit). Do you think these observations are relevant and true for you? What are your thoughts?

Drop me a message on Linkedin or make your comments on our Facebook page. Alternatively, drop me an email at or call me at 6853 2658 and I’ll be happy to start a conversation with you.

For a more detailed presentation of the results, download our slides. through the link provided below. You are free to share these slides with people in your organisation. Please attribute the study to aAdvantage Consulting.

Author: Vincent Ho, Director, aAdvantage Consulting

Vincent has led business transformations, customer experience and corporate structuring projects across diverse industries such as government services, telecommunications and media, healthcare, education, hospitality, manufacturing services, financial services, property development and consultancy, security services, distribution and retail.

He is also an experienced business facilitator and has facilitated many senior and staff workshops in areas of Vision, Mission and Values, Strategic Planning, Customer Experience, Work-planning and High Performance Team Development.

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