Debbie Lovewell: Reward professionals can make a big difference

HR and reward professionals are ideally placed to make a real difference to employees’ lives.

One of the things that stood out about many of this year’s Employee Benefits Awards winners was their proactive approach to tackling tricky or sensitive issues that often go beyond employees’ working lives. It was this that made BMW (UK) a deserving winner of this year’s Grand Prix award for its proactive approach to stress and mental health.

Similarly, at Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, our ‘Benefits team of the year’ was not afraid to address organisational challenges. In a sector that is notorious for the demands it places on staff, the law firm stood out for its focus on psychological resilience.

But these employers are still in the minority when it comes to tackling stress and mental health issues. Too often, such issues are still stigmatised.

But stress and mental health issues are not the only ones that need more employers to take action on. Several pieces of research in June showed that UK workers have effectively experienced a pay cut in real terms. Reward practitioners have tried to compensate by offering low-cost perks, but few have addressed the underlying issue and fought to change the situation.

While tackling such issues is not easy, they must not be ignored. HR and reward professionals that stand up and take action can make a significant impact, not only in their own organisation, but in the wider industry.

Follow Debbie Lovewell on Twitter: @DebbieLovewell