More than half of the Malaysian workforce favour their managers

62% of workers favour their manager’s personal values over the broader values of their organisation, when choosing whether to stay or seek opportunities elsewhere.  According to PERSOLKELLY’s latest Asia Pacific (APAC), managers are powerful agents for driving strong corporate culture in Malaysia.

49% of Malaysian respondents cited that workers wanted to fit into their team culture and feel a sense of belonging with their managers. This sentiment is shared across APAC, with 50% of respondents stating it to be the main reason for trusting their manager’s values.

More interestingly, 29% of Malaysian workers want their cultural background to be valued by the person they are working for. This was 12% higher than the APAC average of 17%, which could be attributed to Malaysia’s multicultural workforce.

Brian Sim, Deputy Country Head, Malaysia, at Kelly Services says, “Malaysia is a multiracial, multireligious and multicultural country and the same can be said about almost every organisation in the country. Malaysian workers who want to fit into their team culture and feel a sense of belonging tend to look to their managers as role models. By being part of a team culture, a sense of unity can be achieved, leading to greater workplace happiness and productivity.”

The harsh reality is one in two Malaysian respondents in the study feel that companies are more likely to focus on shareholder interests rather than staff interests. Hence, their loyalty to the managers over the company. In line with this, 59% of Malaysian workers also believe organisations need to make sure managers are embedding the company values, ensuring consistency across the business.

“It has become crucial for Malaysian organisations to align and embed their own corporate values with the values of their senior leadership. This will ensure cultural consistency across the business and help build a stronger workforce, whilst reducing the risk of employees feeling disconnected or disengaged from the organisation.”

Misalignments between a manager’s values and the organisations’ values can result in issues for organisations, especially when managers decide to leave. According to the survey, just over 30% of Malaysian workers believe that organisations need to make sure that managers are engaged so they don’t leave and take their teams with them.  

At the APAC level, the report found that respondents favoured their manager’s values over their organisations’ as well, though there is a large variance in levels of agreement across the region. Over 60% of respondents from Indonesia (68%), India (64%), Singapore (61%), and Hong Kong (61%) agree that workers are likely to base their decision-making on their manager’s values, while on the other hand, less than half of respondents from Australia (49%) and New Zealand (40%) agreed on this.


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