Kavitha’s keynote: A chance for the profession to Connect

Kavitha's keynote

Earlier this week, hundreds of senior benefits and HR professionals attended the eighth Employee Benefits Connect, held at Park Plaza Westminster Bridge, London.

The event focused on helping employers prepare for the future, while the underlying theme of the day was, of course, about encouraging people to connect, whether with other delegates, speakers, exhibitors or the Employee Benefits team.

Raashi Sikka, diversity and inclusion lead at Uber, opened the conference by exploring how an organisation’s culture can help diversity and inclusion thrive in today’s workplaces. She outlined what steps the organisation had taken to address the issue internally, as well as offering advice to employers in similar situations.

Other topics high on the agenda for discussion were rethinking where benefits budgets should be invested, shaping rewards for the future of work and creating a workplace culture that fosters health and wellbeing, among many others.

Celebrity chef Michael Caines MBE closed the conference, inspiring delegates by detailing how he overcame adversity to achieve success and highlighting the key ingredients of strong leadership. The qualities he cited include honesty, leading by example, accountability, good communications, being willing to delegate and empower, and fairness.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the pond, Tennessee-based construction firm Frizzell Construction has been instructed to pay 27 employees a total of $195,193 (£147,910.42) in back pay and fringe benefits for violating wage regulations.

The ruling clearly demonstrates that the issue of how employees are classified for pay purposes is not confined to the UK, and that businesses are learning the hard way that failures to provide just rewards will not be tolerated.

Pay was also a key focus for outsourced employees working at the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, Ministry of Justice and the University of London, who undertook strike action earlier this week.

The industrial action was organised by a collaboration of trade unions, in a bid to achieve the living wage and end the practice of outsourcing. They are calling for equal terms and conditions to directly employed staff, and believe outsourcing means poorer payholiday entitlementssick pay and pension contributions than direct employment.

When it comes to looking at how staff are rewarded, Employee Benefits is looking beyond the pay packet to identify the key issues currently driving organisations’ benefits strategies, as well as those shaping future packages.

To take part in our Benefits Research 2019 and be in with a chance of winning £100 worth of retail vouchers, click here.

Kavitha Sivasubramaniam
Tweet: @kavithasiva_EB