Investing in worker welfare pays off in the long run

I applaud Manpower Minister Lim Swee Say for speaking up for worker welfare ("Surbana chided for publicly labelling laid-off workers as poor performers"; Feb 8).

Losing one's job is bad enough. It is worse during an economic slowdown, particularly for an older worker, whose age may be a disadvantage when seeking a new job.

Mr Lim was right when he said that workers may perform poorly in one organisation, but may do better in another company.

He also correctly pointed out that an employee's performance is the joint responsibility of both the employee and his employer.

Employees want to do well at work and to give their best to their employers.

Employers need to bring out the best in their employees by giving them the necessary guidance and tools to do their job, being clear about their expectations, and communicating how these are to be measured.

Enlightened employers embrace corporate social responsibility as a business sustainability priority.

But just as charity begins at home, corporate social responsibility should start with worker welfare in the company.

It means treating workers with compassion, empathy and respect during and after employment.

It is about how profit is made while helping others, including employees.

Redeploying an employee or providing outplacement service for him is an act of responsible human resource management. Kindness begets goodwill and engenders a positive reputation for the organisation.

Caring for worker welfare helps to raise employees' productivity, boost their motivation and promote loyalty to the employer.

It is good for a company's business in the long run.

Joachim Sim

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 20, 2017, with the headline 'Investing in worker welfare pays off in the long run'. Print Edition | Subscribe