I have spent this week at the Employee Benefits Summit in Spain, networking with leading reward and benefits managers as well as learning from leading experts and suppliers across a variety of reward disciplines.
This annual event allows many of us – employers, sponsors and the Employee Benefits team – to delve into the important new currents influencing our industry.
This year, more than any other, I can see the rise of important themes that are likely to play out for years to come; themes that will impact both compensation and benefits.
Topping the list is pay – both high pay and low pay. To date, we in HR have allowed too many other people to drive the pay agenda – politicians, the European Union and the media, to name but a few.
It is time for HR, especially reward managers, to step up and take responsibility for pay. After all, this falls into our remit. Our Summit found that the calls on HR to take this on are becoming louder.
Wellbeing strategies are also moving rapidly into the business strategy camp. They appear to be dusting off their nice, comfy, it-is-just-occupational-health mantle and stepping up to become a board issue, not least because in a service- and knowledge-based economy your people are an asset and you want your asset to be fine and well.
We are also seeing a shift in how flexible working is being discussed. It is not just for mothers anymore – it is a core wellbeing policy, as a stress beater and as a way to attract and retain staff. There are also strong studies out there linking improved productivity to a shift in attitude to flexible working policies.
Underlying many of these shifts is the impact that Generation Y is having on the workplace. Employers can no longer simply roll out ideas that were popular five, 10, 20 or even 30 years ago and expect their new talent pools to get excited. We are now moving into a new world order.
I find these underlying currents of change exciting and challenging – and a key reason why I find reward such a fun area in which to work.