Team productivity isn't just about the tools, it's about a connected philosophy.
Dave Sykes has been in the employee benefits business for 20 years. In 2021, his former company merged with Bigmore Associates and he hasn’t looked back since!
With a true passion for people, the pursuit of happiness and a life well lived, Dave knows that a well curated package of employee benefits can make the difference between a happy team, and a team always hunting for a job.
Let’s meet the team member.
How did you end up working in your respective field?
I stumbled into it a little. I left school at age 16 to follow in my older brothers’ footsteps and join the Royal Marines Band Service. At the last minute I got cold feet and backed out. Instead, I started a National Vocational Qualification (NVQ) at a Finance Bank called HSB.
From there, I worked in numerous finance and administrative roles prior to joining CB Benefits, (now Bigmore Benefits) whilst still pursuing and dreaming of becoming a musician.
My strengths always led me into leadership positions, but I was acutely aware I didn’t have any specific skills or qualifications to support some of my other strengths. When I reached my mid 20’s, I parked my musician dream and I decided to pursue a career in Financial Planning and Employee Benefits, so I took my Financial Qualifications with the Chartered Institute of Insurance.
What do you love about your job?
Employee Benefits should be a fundamental element to building a desirable company to work for. In my opinion too many companies look at Employee Benefits too linearly. A mistake we see is too much of an emphasis on products or putting Employee Benefits in place as a tick box requirement with little engagement.
Designing an effective Employee Benefits package should be a connective process. I love the process of creating and communicating a Benefits package that connects teams together and provide a range of elements that supports employees in many areas of their life.
What are the biggest misconceptions that people have about your job?
I’ll answer this by answering common misconceptions of our industry:
- That employee benefits are expensive. They don’t have to be, and companies can design a package within their budget. Intent counts for a lot with employees!
- Employees love Benefits technology. – It’s got a place for sure but most technology in the benefits space has quite low engagement. What employees really want is a personable connection.
- “Do you have Employee Benefits? ‘Yes, we have Perkbox”. A discount scheme is not an employee benefit package. They have a use but only as part of a larger picture.
What about a favourite or funny work memory?
I have a list but not all suitable for print!
I once interviewed someone, and I asked the candidate what their biggest weakness was. They said, ‘my legs.’ I didn’t quite know what to say!
What do you think is the most important part of employee wellbeing?
The most important thing for me personally is physical exercise and social connections.
Statistically, in the world’s longest study on longevity and happiness conducted by Harvard it’s the scope and quality of our social connections.
Truthfully, drilling down into one area of health and wellbeing is like asking who your most important child is. It’s not possible (for most of us).
I equate the area of wellbeing as walking a tightrope. To remain centred requires constant attention and adjustment in all areas.
What do you do to maintain your wellbeing on busy days?
I get up early and I use that time for my wellbeing. I run, I do Jiu Jitsu, I play guitar, I meditate. For me it’s about trying to maintain these healthy habits. I’m not as disciplined as I’d like to be with all these activities, but I’m pretty good at regularly jumping back on the horse.
If you could trade places with anyone for a day, who would it be?
Sam Cooke (when he was alive). To have that singing voice (just for a day) would be a blessing!