The Big Question: What are your new year’s benefits resolutions for 2012?

Richard Higginson, head of reward at Towry:

After a year of work centred on remuneration and wellbeing, in 2012 I want to focus on promoting learning and
development within our total reward proposition. It is not in my immediate sphere of influence, so it tends to get neglected as a total reward element, but our ambition is to become the leading wealth adviser in the UK, and learning and development plays a key part in this.

The retail distribution review (RDR) is almost upon us now; this was launched by the Financial Services Authority (FSA) to address the many persistent problems it had observed in the retail investment market, problems not helped, perhaps, by the fact that the qualification for giving financial advice up to now has been the equivalent of a GCSE.

We need to finish off the lengthy preparation work we have been doing for RDR in terms of professional qualifications for wealth advice teams, bringing many of our people up to chartered status.

We also have a new internal programme for developing employees for wealth adviser roles, and a relaunch of our successful return-to-work programme in which we retrain professional people who have taken a career break and want a change of direction.

From a more personal point of view, I would love to reduce the volume of email †receive, both at work and to my home accounts. Everyone seems to have an iPhone or a BlackBerry, but no one seems to know how to use the telephone function. I am not even sure what the ring-tone on my phone sounds like any more.

Jane Vivier, reward and recognition manager at Cancer Research UK:

This year has been a challenging one for everyone in reward. New and changing legislation has kept us on our toes and the continuing economic woes have meant that we have all had to communicate difficult messages while working hard to ensure we deliver the very best for our employees.

My personal reward highlight of the year has to be winning an Employee Benefits Award. I am incredibly proud to work for an organisation that does such amazing work and feel it is only right that we do the very best we can for our employees.

If I had a reward resolution or “hope” for 2012, it would be that organisations large and small embrace the non-financial side of the reward package and make some positive changes to their culture.

Even before I came to work for a charity, I valued being able to volunteer, even if only for one day a year to do something with my team and help others. The quality of conversation when building a mud hut with colleagues or creating shop displays (yes, I did come over all Mary Portas) is richer than anything you will find at a meeting and the satisfaction of knowing you have helped others is immeasurable.

I would also like to see people making more small donations to charity, either through payroll giving at work or schemes such as ‘give change, make change’ when you do your shopping. We can all make a difference with just a few pounds.

The new year looks to be another busy one. I cannot wait for it to start.

Ian Hodson, reward and benefits manager at the University of Lincoln:

The year 2011 has been a great one for the university. We were fortunate enough to be acknowledged at the Employee Benefits Awards, we set up a number of new initiatives, including salary sacrifice schemes,
health schemes and some really engaging wellbeing initiatives, and all against a backdrop of success for the university in what has been a challenging year in education.

Communicating with employees has been a huge priority throughout 2011, whether in respect of forthcoming legislation changes to pension schemes or ensuring that the workforce remains motivated by raising awareness of benefits events, or guiding them to support available from our employee assistance programme or wellbeing portal.

Looking forward to 2012, I am sure that universities will continue to make front-page news through the introduction of the new student fees regime or the pensions reforms.

These are two huge challenges for us, but wonderful opportunities to define our principles as an organisation and make sure we ensure our employees continue to enjoy being valued as part of the university.

One 2012 priority will be to ensure that we continue to communicate our total reward package through these changing times and look for specific areas of support, such as financial awareness where we feel it could assist our colleagues.

Based on the above, my resolution for 2012 is to see every challenge as an opportunity. I am sure, if nothing else, this will help me get through some of my workload.

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