Debi O’Donovan, editor of Employee Benefits: Get ready for some fun and games this year

So 2012 is finally here. Not since the millennium has a year been so anticipated by readers of Employee Benefits. Across the nation, reward managers are limbering up for the big event later this year. The Olympics or pensions auto-enrolment? Either way, you need to be ready to cope.

To that end, we have taken an in-depth look at the large range of activities employers could implement during the four weeks of fun and sport in late July (see Olympics can kick-start new benefits). Approached proactively, the London Games are an opportunity for employers, not just a headache. As Tessa Jowell, shadow minister for the Olympics, told Employee Benefits, employers can motivate staff to do more than they would otherwise, to the benefit of the business. Myriad motivational and wellbeing ideas can be implemented effectively at little cost.

In our world of all things benefits, the big ‘opening ceremony’ for the pension reforms takes place in October with the Goliaths of the employment world – those with more than 120,000 staff – heading out of the starting blocks. Although staging dates may shift slightly for all those with fewer than 3,000 staff (we will find out any changes this month), most human resources departments are at least aware that they need to look at modelling potential costs so they can give their finance people a heads-up (see How many staff will opt out after pensions auto-enrolment?) as well as decide which approach they plan to take to the new law. Some will do the bare minimum, but most good employers will try to keep ahead of the pack by doing something a little more special (see Time to show staff the value of pensions).

As always, Employee Benefits aims to be more than just your professional magazine by providing the information you need to meet the challenges of your job. On 23 February, we will be running Employee Benefits Connect, an event with a big emphasis on facilitated networking, plus plenty of workshops and sessions on auto-enrolment. These will run alongside a wide variety of conference sessions and an exhibition.

Then, two weeks later, comes our annual Pensions & Workplace Savings Summit on 8-9 March. This higher-level event for senior reward and benefits managers in large organisations will prepare delegates for the evolving world of pensions and savings in the workplace.

I hope to see many of you at either or both of these events.

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