Janine Sparks is benefits professional of the year

Janine Sparks, senior reward manager at British Airways, was named ‘Employee benefits professional of the year’ at the Employee Benefits Awards 2013.

Sparks has more than 25 years’ experience in the reward and benefits industry, working with organisations such as Lloyds TSB Asset Finance, Morgan Grenfell and Debenhams.

She was nominated for the award by industry peers who said she was someone fellow benefits practitioners looked up to and felt they could go to for advice.

Sparks said of the award: “It’s fantastic. Any recognition is nice, but to be nominated by my peers in the industry and to actually win means a lot. I’m still on cloud nine.”

Sparks believes the key to success in the reward industry is to have a long-term strategy. “The industry puts you in a key position to help develop employee benefits and reward options that are really engaging for employees,” she said.

“It is important to have two goals in mind: to make sure the reward journey fits with the employer’s goals, and that the strategy provides a compelling reward package for employees.”

Sparks says she takes a fun approach to providing employee benefits and always tries to remain positive.

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She also believes there are many economical ways to deliver benefits. “I always try to be creative,” she said. “For example, improving communication channels or introducing voluntary benefits needn’t cost much.

“You don’t have to spend mega-bucks on bright, shiny benefits. Times are hard and there’s not a lot of money to go round, but there’s still space to be creative and do your job.”