Debi O’Donovan: Plan now for Christmas perks

You may feel September is a little early to start talking about Christmas, but please bear with us on this one because we are not banging the usual commercialised tinsel drum here.

In fact, we are donning full HR stripes in our cover story to look at how some employees can find the festive season not so festive, and how, with careful thought (and often not much cost), HR can spread a little goodwill to those in their workforces who need it most by the time December rolls around. Incentives such as parties, gifts, product discounts and extra bonuses are great to motivate people in the run-up to Christmas, but those dealing with debt, bereavement, separation, health problems and loneliness need a different sort of support.

These uses of employee benefits as a tool to cope with people management issues clearly shows why a broader range of human resource practitioners should keep a finger on the pulse of benefits. Even if benefits do not fall into their day-to-day remit, it is useful for all HR folk to be aware of what is available.

So here comes the advert: at this year’s Employee Benefits Live, we have crafted a stream of sessions aimed at HR practitioners rather than benefits specialists (who have plenty of other sessions to pick from), so the former can come and get an update on using benefits as part of their HR strategy.

I encourage readers of this magazine to invite colleagues in their HR team to come along to this special HR day on 26 September. It is free, and provides an invaluable learning opportunity from top HR and benefits experts.

To kick off the day, we have David MacLeod, co-chair of the Employment Engagement Task Force, speaking just weeks before he publishes the update of his 2009 findings that employee engagement can positively affect the performance of UK organisations. He will share the session with Louise Beardmore, head of organisational development and HR at United Utilities, who will talk about how employers can engage with staff in good and bad times.

Perhaps you can entice your HR director to come along too. On 26 September, we are also putting on HRD masterclasses for these top-level business leaders who need to work with finance directors to tackle the cost of pensions, keep control of benefits procurement and ensure that executive remuneration meets company objectives. I look forward to seeing you all there.

Debi O’Donovan, Editor
Follow on Twitter @DebiODonovan

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