Daniel Defoe published his Journal of the Plague Year more than 300 years ago, a novel aiming to highlight the lessons learned after last major plague to strike London until 2020.

Defoe was also the originator of the phrase later used by Roosevelt, that ‘fear of danger (and acting in response to it) is more terrifying than the danger itself’. Listen to Roosevelt’s electrifying inauguration speech in 1933 and his announcement of the ‘needed efforts to convert retreat into advance’, with his forward-looking New Deal investments to address the ‘common difficulties of existence’ of tens of millions of Americans.

We face not dissimilar challenges, as a society and as employers and HR and reward professionals today, working out just how to escape from this economic and health Armageddon. So just what have we learned over the past year and what should we be planning ahead for in the next in UK employment and reward management? What’s the right balance ahead of an understandable sigh and ‘retreat’ to the pre-pandemic situation versus an ambitious ‘advance’ to a ‘new normal’?

These are the questions posed by Dr Duncan Brown in his paper Rewards after Covid: Back to the future, examining the need for better pay and reward strategies across the economy as part of our post-COVID recovery. 

Download the full report here.