DNA Decoded: Progressive Employers Care for Their Employees. How Do You Put This Into Action?

Employees are more than just individuals filling job roles, but people with aspirations and diverse needs. Here are some ways to care for their well-being.

18 Apr 2022 Articles Age management Caregiving leave Performance management Work-life harmony Best practices

Holistic Care

Would you “ban” your employees from work? 

A local travel company did just that when an employee showed signs of burnout. Her manager “forced” her to take a break from work and stay offline for two weeks. “I’ve never felt so recharged,” she said in a LinkedIn post.  

This is an example of how some employers show care to employees by making changes (e.g. work arrangement) to accommodate employee’s needs, but not all organisations are prepared to do so.

While employers may need to balance the needs of the team and the business demands,  taking care of their employees is a key interest that is not any less important. 

Progressive employers are aware of this and adopt a holistic approach to employees’ well-being which is why holistic care is identified as one of the building blocks in developing the DNA of a progressive employer in a study commissioned by TAFEP.

There are several ways of showing care – from providing adaptive workplace programmes and practices, to offering different career pathways and work arrangements, to meet employees’ career and life stage needs and aspirations for professional and personal success.

How can organisations care for employees? 

Find out what employees really need  

To design programmes that drive the best outcome for both the organisation and employees, HR must first identify the needs of the workforce.

This can be done by proactively seeking feedback. For instance, pulse surveys are useful as a frequent measure of employee feedback. They can cover key areas of interest across the entire employee lifecycle, e.g. training and development to health and wellness. 

Next, look beyond traditional benefits, perks and wellness programmes. Consider various dimensions of well-being, such as mental, physical, social, emotional and vocational, to design relevant programmes to suit the diverse needs of employees.

For example, organisations can implement programmes that allow employees to take on different roles that align with their personal aspirations, or provide study leave for employees who wish to attend courses.

Shape your organisational culture 

Efforts to help employees feel valued and supported can be truly successful only with a culture of mutual respect which includes an appreciation of individual differences. 

Leaders play a crucial role in shaping such values, including working towards a fair and outcome-based organisational culture that recognises individual contributions.

To achieve this, consider:

  • What are the norms, rules and expectations around work in your organisation?
  • Are senior and middle management truly authentic in respecting and supporting employees’ career and personal goals? For instance, when an employee request cannot be granted, do they clearly and sensitively communicate the reasons, and explore suitable alternatives to better meet the needs of the organisation and employees, where possible?
  • Does your organisation have a performance management system that evaluates employees’ performance fairly?

Make big impact with small actions 

Beyond formal programmes and initiatives, leaders, managers and supervisors can continuously show that they care for and value their employees through daily interactions. 

Small and simple gestures such as reminding employees to take care of themselves and encouraging them to utilise their leave to rest and spend time with family or having informal check-ins to find out how employees are coping and how managers and supervisors can help them work better can go a long way to make them feel appreciated and cared for. 

Progressive employers show care by prioritising employee well-being along with organisational outcomes. Not only do they provide relevant programmes to achieve this, but they also evaluate the effectiveness of their strategies and continuously refine and improve their programmes to ensure continued relevance. The result is higher employee engagement and job satisfaction – leading to more productive employees as well as organisations. 

Interested to learn more about how to adopt a holistic care approach? Download TAFEP’s Beyond 20/20: DNA of Progressive Employers.


This article on holistic care is the last instalment in the five-part series on the building blocks to develop the DNA of a progressive employer. 

View part one of the series on collaborative networks for tips to build trust and encourage collaboration and teamwork within teams and across departments.
View part two of the series on employee voice for tips to create work environments with a listening culture for employees to voice their views safely.
View part three of the series on continuous evolution for tips on how how leaders can build a culture of continuous evolution for superior business outcomes and bring their people along the change journey.
View part four of the series on talent optimisation for tips on how to optimise talents to reap the benefits of a highly trained and motivated workforce.