Ian Hodson: 2022 will be the year to reset reward strategies

Covid-19 (Coronavirus) has certainly impacted the last couple of years, and for many agendas has served as an accelerator in respect of its impact on the ways we work, our wellbeing priorities and how we interact with our colleagues and balance work and home.

I believe 2022 will give reward professionals a huge opportunity to enter a period of reimagination and reform as we start to assess what the workforce now values from employers.

The first step of this will be to re-establish our communication channels, and through working groups and surveys better understand where the gaps are. I think an overriding factor in this will be the need to draw up new boundaries of seeing individuals as people rather than just employees. Home working during the pandemic has really helped with this; we have seen pets, families and homes, and I think offering social benefits such as clubs, activities, challenges and discounted days out will form talking points and be valued.

We will also need to reprioritise our benefits. Commuting and travel benefits may be slightly less valued, however we have a great opportunity to support the ethical stance by looking at e-bikes, e-cars and setting up recycling initiatives.

Financial wellbeing has been another extremity with some facing challenges and others able to cut costs and save more. Diversifying financial vehicles and support to acknowledge this situation will be important and now may be the time to introduce opportunities to save through the payroll, workplace individual savings accounts(Isa) and debt consolidation and short-term loans. Financial education programmes to allow colleagues to make informed decisions will be more important than ever.

In 2022 we will need to keep colleagues connected and make sure that we have toolkits for managers to support this. Recognition cards; ensuring that on-campus activities and events have a virtual equivalent; and newsletters keep everyone updated.

So next year really is the year of reset and a chance for us to get things back to normal, noting that it may be a new normal that first needs to be defined.

Ian Hodson is head of reward at the University of Lincoln