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LinkedIn takes a closer look at ‘New Norms’ at work

Professionals in Singapore have become more confident about speaking up and are becoming more assertive at work, according to new research by LinkedIn. LinkedIn’s New Norms @Work study shows that 58 per cent of professionals would now challenge their colleagues by voicing their opinions compared to when they first started their career. One in two professionals surveyed also disagree that they are ‘yes employees’ — someone who does as he/she is told and is not likely to question authority. Compared with their peers in Malaysia – where 64 per cent of those surveyed said they are ‘yes employees’, Singaporean professionals are more vocal but trail behind those in Indonesia (37 per cent are ‘yes employees’).

In Singapore, professionals aged 25-34 – or the millennials – appear to be the most eager to please. 55 per cent say they consider themselves as ‘yes employees’, compared to 43 per cent of professionals in the 55-65 age group, suggesting that the confidence to speak up come with more work experience.

“The diversity of opinions in any organisation, if harnessed effectively, goes a long way towards strengthening the quality of decision-making. It will also help to enhance Singapore’s attractiveness as a key regional business hub,” said Cliff Rosenberg, Managing Director, Southeast Asia, Australia and New Zealand at LinkedIn. “Employers need to create an even more conducive environment for employees to feel comfortable about speaking up. Professionals can also share their wealth of expertise on platforms like LinkedIn to benefit a broader group, and to build their professional brands at the same time.”


Other topline outlined in the study includes:
Dressing the Part @Work
While many workplaces have implemented more liberal and casual dress codes, professionals still dress to impress. First impressions do count and close to half (48 per cent) of professionals surveyed in Singapore say that they will dress up more for meetings held during the workday,

Women feel most pressured to impress in the workplace, with 37 per cent believing they get judged more for what they wear at work (global average – 25 per cent), while men believe they will appear more professional by dressing smartly (46 per cent). Men, however, tend to look for a more prescriptive approach than their female counterparts and prefer an environment that has clear norms of work attire. Overall, there is a clear idea of what constitutes appropriate work wear with 39 per cent of males and 47 per cent of females keeping separate work and home wardrobes.

The Truth @Work
LinkedIn’s study also suggests that a blemish-free professional brand is extremely important to professionals in Singapore, with some indicating they will go to great lengths to protect their reputations, even if it means being dishonest. One-third (34 per cent) of professionals in Singapore reported that if they were fired from a job, they would make it look like they left of their own accord; 24 per cent wouldn’t mention it at any cost while 1 per cent would even lie about it. Between the sexes, males (34 per cent) are more likely to be upfront and completely honest about the situation, compared to females (27 per cent).

Say Cheese @Work
Reflecting the digital savvy of professionals in the country, the online profile photo is now an opportunity to make a good first impression. This is especially so for professional networking sites; 35 per cent of those surveyed in Singapore say they think more carefully about their profile pictures on LinkedIn compared to other social networking sites. Conscious of the need to establish and protect their professional brands, 43 per cent of Singaporean professionals say it is “very important” for them to keep their professional and personal social media profiles separate.

New Norms @Work: Worldwide
A global comparison of the 19 countries that participated in the study finds that the value placed on one’s professional brand is similar from country to country with some differences across markets:
• Across markets, one quarter of all respondents agreed that women get judged more for what they wear at work.
• In India, one quarter of full-time working professionals reported wearing a suit or formal dress to work the most frequently, compared to only three percent of their counterparts in Sweden.
• Indonesia professionals are the most image-conscious, with the highest number (51 per cent) of professionals there saying they think most carefully about their professional profile picture, compared to only 4 per cent in Japan.
• Professionals are speaking up globally. When asked the one thing they would do now compared to when they started their careers, over half of professionals worldwide reported that they would challenge their boss by voicing their opinion, challenging ideas, etc.

Arnab Mitra

The author, Arnab Mitra, is an Editorial Consultant with Digital Market Asia