The SME Starter Guide to Progressive HR Practices​

​Singaporean businesses are catching onto the popularity of 'Progressive Human Resources (HR)', strongly advocated by our leaders, professional bodies and experts in the recent years. However, businesses still struggle to comprehend the term, seeing it no more than a buzzword. What is progressive HR and its importance to small and medium enterprises (SMEs), and how can SMEs adopt progressive HR practices to drive business growth?

The definition and importance of progressive HR

Progressive HR is the repositioning of the traditionally supportive HR function as a strategic function. In organisations which adopt progressive HR, HR is aligned with business objectives and actively engaged with other business functions.

With progressive HR, businesses are empowered with a future-ready workforce with the following characteristics:

  • Employees equipped with skill sets and knowledge ahead of competition,
  • Employees turned company brand advocates,
  • Employees are coached on their career paths and stay long-term with the company,
  • Employees are more meaningfully invested in work to create more value and accelerate performance.

Furthermore, progressive HR helps SMEs to build employer branding, which gives SMEs a competitive edge in their gory battles with bigger organisations to recruit new talent.

However, adopting progressive HR takes time, investment of resources, and expert advice, which SMEs lack of. What can SMEs do to kick off their transition to progressive HR?


Step 1: seek help from U SME​

Set up in 2014, U SME is a NTUC initiative which engages and supports SMEs in transforming their businesses to achieve productivity and growth. To date, U SME​ has connected with 12,005 SMEs to promote adoption of progressive HR practices.

Step 2: tap on U SME​'s extensive range services and resources

U SME​ offers advisory services​​ to help SMEs adopt progressive HR practices. Some programmes include P-Max, a place-and-train programme to help SMEs build progressive HR practices for newly-hired PMEs, and U SME Human Resources Series of workshops to update SME HR practitioners on the latest employment regulations.

Step 3: sign up your employees for U SME Corporate Membership​ 

The U SME Corporate Membership Scheme enables SMEs to offer competitive staff welfare benefits on par with bigger organisations. Under the Scheme, SME employees can enjoy the following perks:

  • Group insurance coverage of up to $40,000
  • Retail discounts and promotions at over 1,000 participating merchant outlets
  • Funding assistance from NTUC Union Training Assistance Programme for educational courses and training programmes
  • Personal development and recreational opportunities


Looking to transition into a progressive HR? Contact U SME for a non-obligatory consultation today.