Among the world’s best

HIDDEN AGENDA - Mary Ann LL. Reyes - The Philippine Star

How does a company become one of the world’s best employers?

Forbes in a recent report said it partnered with market research firm Statista and surveyed more than 170,000 employees in over 50 countries who work for multinational companies and institutions. In the survey, respondents were asked whether they would recommend their company to family or friends, to rate their employer based on criteria such as work-life balance, career advancement opportunities and employee diversity, and to rate companies within their own industries and countries.

The report revealed that for the second straight year, Samsung Electronics and Microsoft ranked first and second, respectively, while Google parent Alphabet, Apple and Ferrari completed the top five.

In the article, Forbes explained that Samsung’s repeat No. 1 ranking may have something to do with its comfortable work environment which includes in-house cafeterias and gyms, a creative lab that lets employees share ideas and be part of the product development process, and training and talent exchange programs that enable employees to move between the Korean headquarters and subsidiaries.

Google allows dogs in its offices worldwide and even encourages its employees to bring their pooches. This, the report said, is just one of the many perks that Google offers to please and motivate employees and these benefits, which include mental health resources, helped Alphabet earn the No. 3 spot in the list.

Our very own San Miguel Corp. (SMC) improved its ranking from 174th last year to 43rd, a noteworthy achievement being the highest ranked Philippine company in the list. Last year, Jollibee was the highest ranked Filipino firm at 106th.

SMC president and CEO Ramon Ang said that given the right training, motivation, support, and a sense of higher purpose, the Filipino workforce is highly motivated, effective, dedicated and fulfilled in their work.

Security Bank Corp. is 54th in the Forbes list while Metrobank was 162nd. Conglomerate Ayala Corp. grabbed the 186th spot while Alliance Global Corp. was at 283rd. Landbank was 304th in the list, the LT Group, 361st and SM Investments, 420th. The list included 700 companies worldwide.

Meanwhile, in Forbes Asia’s 2023 Heroes of Philantrophy which spotlights philantrophists from the Asia Pacific region who have in the past year shown commitment and donated generously to causes close to their hearts, Ramon Ang is the only Filipino to make it to the list.

Others in the list are CK Hutchison Holdings senior advisor Li Ka-Shing of Hong Kong, Midea Group founder He Xiangjian, Australia’s Andrew and Nicola Forrest, Keyence founder Takemitsu Takizaki, Amara Corp. founder Vikrom Kromadit from Thailand, DLF chairman emeritus KP Singh of India, Bayan Resources founder Low Tuck Kwong from Indonesia, Singapore’s Kwek Leng Beng who is executive chairman of City Developments, Infosys chairman Mandan Nilekani of India, Australia’s James Packer, New Zealand’s Graeme Hart who owns the Rank Group, Indonesia’s Eddy Kusnadi Sariaatmadja who co-founded Emtek, India’s Nikhil Kamath who is co-founder of Zerodha, and Hong Kong’s Adrian Chen who is New World Development CEO.

According to Forbes, since 2020, Ang through his RSA Foundation has personally contributed over P150 million to scholarship grants and medical aid while San Miguel Foundation donated P14.8 billion to support relief measures during the pandemic while earmarking P3 billion to clean up a number of rivers in the country. SMC’s efforts in cleaning the Pasig River have removed over a million tons of waste, a significant philanthropic achievement without cost to the government and taxpayers. These initiatives showcase corporate responsibility at its finest.

TIME magazine has also recognized Filipino corporate excellence in its 2023 list of 750 best companies. The six Filipino companies in the list are Ayala Corp., SMC, Jollibee Foods Corp., PLDT, Metrobank and BDO Unibank, with the evaluation rooted in employee satisfaction, revenue growth, and sustainability. Ayala ranked 309th while SMC was 347th in the list, Jollibee 421st, PLDT 609th, Metrobank 634th and BDO Unibank, 647th. PLDT had the highest sustainability rank at 454th while Jollibee had the highest employee satisfaction rank at 57th place. Microsoft, Apple, Alphabet and Facebook parent Meta Platforms made the top four of the list.

Diversity, equity, inclusion

Speaking of the best companies, Japan Tobacco International (JTI) in the Philippines is the first company in the country to receive Ernst & Young’s (EY) Global Equality Standard (GES) certificate, achieving several of the highest assessment scores possible on equal opportunities and equal pay.

The certificate was awarded to all three JTI entities in the Philippines – its nationwide market operations with its head office in Taguig City, its global business services center also in Metro Manila, and its manufacturing facility in Malvar, Batangas.

This latest accreditation builds on JTI being awarded the number two top employer in the Philippines earlier this year by the global authority on recognizing excellence in people practices, the Top Employers Institute.

EY’s GES is one of the first worldwide diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) certifications, measuring equal opportunities and equal pay in the workplace. The GES framework is universal and increasingly being applied internationally by world leading brands, having been used in over 50 countries and across five continents to date.

JTI Philippines people and culture director Ari Wisnubroto explained that DEI is at the core of what they do at JTI, even as he added that it is crucial that their DEI policies and practices evolve and are audited on a regular basis to ensure that their programs are benchmarked and that JTI is able to meet its responsibility to serve the needs of its more than 4,500 employees across the country.

 EY’s GES report found the company to be fully compliant on equal opportunities, that its flexible working measures give employees the option to work 50 percent of their time away from the office, and that its progressive global family leave policy enables employees holding eligible positions to benefit from 20 weeks of fully paid leave when welcoming a child, regardless of their gender, sexual orientation or the way they become parents.

Also cited were JTI’s focus on career progression through mentorship programs, its recruitment from underrepresented groups and its balanced assessment and interview process, the company’s innovative DEI Bright Start program that supports individuals from socially disadvantaged communities by giving them the opportunity to attain a college degree while employed at JTI, its Drive Ahead program aimed at enrolling female employees interested in field force roles in driving schools, and a market-leading approach to its well-being initiatives, including a strong focus on mental health.

The national accreditation for JTI in the Philippines followed the company’s global certification in 2021 when JTI, a leading international tobacco and vaping company, became one of the first companies in the world to receive the GES.


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