· News

Stephen Bevan, employee wellbeing trailblazer, has passed away

Bevan's colleague described his his ability to connect with policymakers, academics and employers alike as "truly special”

Stephen Bevan, a frontrunner in HR research and a leading voice on workplace wellbeing, died on 19 June 2024. We report this news with great sadness, and publish this report in tribute to Bevan and the working lives that his research has improved.

Bevan’s 40-year career was spent making applied research into HR management, behavioural science and organisational psychology as accessible and practical as possible.

During his 25 years as associate director of the Institute for Employment Studies (IES) and 15 years as director of research and managing director of The Work Foundation, Bevan led a wide variety of projects on employment policy and workplace practice.

He was a much-sought-after speaker, provided advice to domestic and foreign governments, and co-authored books on the future of work and the links between workforce health and productivity. He wrote about subjects ranging from mental health (for which he received international recognition) and sickness absence to productivity and leadership.

In 2023, Bevan took medical retirement to receive palliative care for cancer, but he remained a principal associate at the IES, actively blogging on key HR topics and advising on a small selection of research projects. He also became an ambassador for the Working With Cancer social enterprise, which campaigns for improved support at work for cancer survivors.

Last year, Bevan was inducted into the HR Most Influential the Hall of Fame, in recognition of his outstanding contribution to the people profession and the world of work.

Bevan’s colleague, IES senior research fellow Zofia Bajorek, accepted the accolade on his behalf, while he was undergoing palliative care for cancer. Bajorek’s speech addressed Bevan’s deep impact on the HR landscape.

Bajorek said: “As someone who has been managed by, worked with and mentored by Steve for 10 years, I know that it is his ability to connect with policymakers, academics and employers alike, and to explain complex issues in such an easy but eloquent way, that makes Steve truly special.”

The IES has published an archive of Stephen Bevan’s writing, here.