· Comment

People are your best asset - treat them with respect

Over the course of this year, we have witnessed the country slowly go back to normal.

Whether that’s going for a drink inside a pub with friends or heading back into the office to flex the organisation’s new hybrid work model, we’ve all adapted to another new normal.

This is in no small way thanks to the impressive roll-out of the government’s vaccine programme which can only be celebrated for its effectiveness at getting the country double-jabbed despite plenty of misinformation among the tangles of the World Wide Web.

I was unfortunately struck down by the dreaded COVID-19 during the summer and, for those fortunate to have escaped its clutches so far, it really is as bad as everyone says so. In fact, a little bit worse.

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Fortunately my immune system did what it was supposed to and rid itself of the virus, but not before it put me through my paces. As a young, healthy and (sometimes) fit person, it was a frightening experience. No doubt many of you have been in similar position.

The fever dreams, paint-by-numbers and many, many hours of Netflix have made me so very grateful for my health, and in particular, being in the extremely privileged position of not having to go to work or miss out financially for having a few days off.

Many in our country are not so fortunate. My inbox is filled with cases of low-paid jobs, zero-hours contracts, no sick pay, workers being struck off with little to no regard. This, teamed with tremendous staff shortages in other fields such as hospitality and HGV drivers, creates a somewhat disparate situation for our employment market.

We as a country – and HR as a profession – have not gone through the last 18 months for workers to be experiencing these types of inequalities.

More needs to be done to protect the financial wellbeing of our teams: a living wage, protected hours, a decent pension contribution that goes beyond the very bare minimum as some obvious starting points.

Our cover story this month looks at what employee benefits are a priority for today’s workers, and I would encourage all HR professionals to not see this as a target but as the bare minimum.

Your people are your best asset - so treat them with the respect they deserve.


Jo Gallacher is editor of HR magazine. 

The full piece of the above appears in the September/October 2021 print issue. Subscribe today to have all our latest articles delivered to your desk.