How to Infuse Care Into the Employee Experience & Where to Start


The history of work has primarily been focused on a transactional model: employee completes work, the company sees results, the employee receives a paycheck. This model is a thing of the past and isn’t all that effective. With this shift for a more employee-centric workforce, also comes rising demands of innovation, adaptability, and flexibility. The traditional approach of take it or leave it no longer produces the results most organizations need. Employers have taken to surface-level tactics like rebrands, culture videos and perks, but in order to attract top talent, you need a great employee experience. And a great employee experience requires care.

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Invest in employees first
Saying you’re a great place to work will only get you so far — and employees will find out the truth within their first week. It’s time for companies to prioritize the needs of employees, showing them authentic organizational support and care. This doesn’t mean frivolous perks like Margarita Mondays or pet insurance — it’s much deeper than that. Care is the provision of what’s necessary for the health, welfare, maintenance, and protection of something. And organizational support tends to be the missing link.

What is organizational support — and why do you need it?
Organizational support can be defined as the resources and nudges an organization intentionally provides to show employees the organization cares. And it comes to life in different forms — from manager support to peer networks, to leadership support and even an office’s physical environment. They all need to reflect a cohesive message: your company cares. When organizations are supportive and care, employees are more likely to have well-being in their life, feel personally engaged in their work and able to manage stress. And this directly impacts employee experience.

We know that caring for employees is good for culture, and for business. Limeade Institute research shows that when employees feel cared for:

60% plan to stay at their company for three or more years (as opposed to only 7% of those who don’t feel cared for)
95% say they feel included in their organization (compared to 14% of those who don’t feel cared for)
91% say they’re likely to recommend their organization as a great place to work (compared to 9% of those who don’t feel cared for)

Building care into your employee experience
Caring for employees is more than showing it — it’s acting on it. To move your organization forward you first need to map out how your organization can create an employee experience that demonstrates care. Start with your leaders to make the case internally. When you connect a business problem to a care opportunity, leaders can better understand the real ways in which care affects employee experience, which results in impacting the overall business.

Once business goals are linked to care and your leadership team is on board, you’re ready to start planning. The key here is to lead with a strategic foundation. With a foundation and strategy in place, your company is more likely to see the bigger picture rather than single out smaller initiatives. Map out your path by splitting your short-term care goals and long-term care goals. Then, tie each to a business goal. (Pro tip: If it doesn’t connect to a business goal, cross it off the list.) From there, list actionable steps to reach each goal. For a simple framework, check out this helpful Building Care into Your Employee Experience worksheet.

Learn More: Maximizing the Employee Experience: A Joint Effort between HR and IT

Here are a few actionable steps to get started on building care into your employee experience and get you on the right path:

Enhance safety and security: When companies take steps to prevent harassment or enhance safety measures, employees feel cared for on a fundamental level. Organizations can guarantee fair pay for all employees, develop family-supportive work practices, establish anti-discrimination and anti-sexual harassment policies.
Instill dignity and respect: Sharing and explaining the importance of values and behavior standards, and acting on them, is essential to showing care. Create a code of conduct that clarifies expectations for how employees treat each other across the organization, train managers on how to better support employees who face interpersonal problems and work to build mutual trust and respect between the company and employees.
Build fairness and trust: Focus on improving employee relations with fair policies and procedures, internal communications and autonomy. Managers are a great place to start if your organization wants to build more trust.
Provide meaningful work: Professional development and job design are a huge part of the employee experience. Organizations can clarify role responsibilities to remove conflicts or competing tasks. Both are stressors that undermine other efforts to enhance meaningfulness and perceptions of organizational care.
Support the whole person: To improve employee well-being, you need to support the whole person: physical, emotional, financial and work. Allow employees freedom with their schedules, provide an employee assistance program or resource group, and most importantly, foster inclusion so that employees feel they can bring their full selves to work.

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