Kavitha’s keynote: Benefits can empower employees

This week, I think it’s time to focus on the positives and celebrate employers that have introduced benefits to empower employees and improve their overall wellbeing.

Retailer Halfords, for example, launched a platform for staff that helps with financial budgeting, savings and education. Because it is built around a flexible pay cycle, also known as earned wage access (EWA), it enables the organisation’s 10,000-plus workforce to improve their financial resilience and access wages already earned and owed throughout the month.

The business recognised that to empower employees in this way was not only beneficial to individuals, but the company too. Wendy Taylor, chief people officer at Halfords, explained that supporting staff resilience meant the organisation could operate as an essential retailer during the Covid-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic, while also ensuring it was “ready to go from strength to strength” as the UK economy reopened.

Other organisations that have actively been supporting staff were acknowledged in the Working Families twelfth annual list of the top flexible and family-friendly employers in the UK, unveiled earlier this week.

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Businesses commended for supporting employees’ work-life balance included American Express, Citigroup, Crown Prosecution Service, Grant Thornton, Independent Living Fund Scotland, Welsh Parliament, North East London NHS Foundation Trust, Pinsent Masons, Natwest Group and Yorkshire Building Society.

Finally, last but not least, the UK’s best employers will also be celebrated at this year’s Employee Benefits Awards 2021 ceremony, taking place on Friday 12 November at Old Billingsgate, London. After a rigorous judging process, I am excited to announce that our finalists have now been revealed. I would like to take this opportunity to thank our expert judges for all their help in shortlisting the entries, which was no easy task as the standard this year was incredibly high. For more information and to book your seats, click here.