The Employee Wellbeing Awards 2019: three judges give their views on what makes a winning strategy


Three of the judges for REBA's 2019 Employee Wellbeing Awards explain why workplace wellbeing matters, and what they think makes a successful Awards entry.

Gareth Whalley Sandra Perlaki Richard Farrar

Why do you think these Awards are important?

Gareth Whalley (GW), director of total rewards, The Coca-Cola Company, pictured, centre: With increasing pressure on employers to demonstrate their focus on – and investment in - their employees’ well-being, I think it’s critical that organisations like REBA take the time to recognise and showcase the best of the best.

We can all learn from each other, and I’m sure many employers will be inspired to explore what might fit best for them as they see the award winners’ stories come into the spotlight.

Richard Farrar (RF), group pensions and benefits manager, Novartis, pictured right: It brings to the forefront what  other organisations are doing and I hope encourages others to follow suit where possible. 

Sandra Perlaki (SP), UK HR policy & benefits manager, Shell, pictured left: The Employee Wellbeing Awards  are  important for three reasons. Firstly, they increase the focus on employee wellbeing, which can only be a good thing for individual and business success. They also enable employers to benchmark how they compare with other leading companies.  Finally, they showcase the very best examples to inspire others.

Why do you think that employee wellbeing in increasingly seen as an important discussion to be had at Board level within employer organisations?

GW: Senior leaders simply can’t ignore the importance of developing a culture where people can focus on their personal well-being, to be their best selves and drive the organisation’s business strategy forward. A broad and holistic view of well-being, both inside and outside of work, is fundamental to understanding the drivers of employee motivation, engagement, contributions to business results and ultimately how we compete in the market.

RF: I think employee wellbeing should be seen as part of the business culture that is  so important it’s on the Board’s agenda.

SP: For an organisation to perform at its best, its employees need to perform at their best. They can only do this if their physical, mental, financial, and health needs are supported. The changing world of work and the pace of change means that at Board level more companies now see wellbeing not just as an employee benefit, but as part of a business performance strategy.

As a juror, what will you be looking for in a winning entry?

GW: An employee well-being strategy can’t be standalone. We have to connect the dots with our business strategy, talent strategy and total rewards strategy if it’s really going to resonate with employees, managers and leaders. So I’ll be looking for evidence of that kind of cohesive thinking that signals an organisation is telling a really compelling story about well-being within the context of its overall EVP and what it stands for as an employer.

RF: As well as being rewarded for the hard work and initiative, I believe winning an award demonstrates to the respective employees what a great benefit they have. I will be looking at what initiatives have been put in place, but also how well these have been received and utilised by their associates.

Have  you  won  an  award  or  been  part  of  a  team  that  won?    If  so,  what  do  you  think  were  the  factors  that  stood  out  and  helped  your  entry  to  win?

SP: We  won  the  Financial  Wellbeing  Award at  The Employee Wellbeing Awards  last  year.  I  think  what  made  the  difference  was  that  financial  wellbeing  is  part  of  our  wider  holistic  approach  to  employee  wellbeing and  not  a  one-off  initiative.   



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