Supporting Employees During the Cost-of-living CrisisHelp to increase the financial and mental wellbeing of your employees

The latest figure for CPI (Consumer Price Inflation) was 10.4% in February, up from 10.1% in January 2023.

As a result, as inflation continues to soar in the UK, many employers are facing significant challenges when it comes to supporting their employees through such hard times.

In the current economic climate, many companies are also struggling to keep up with the steep rising of costs. However, there are numerous ways to help your employees improve their financial and mental wellbeing—many of which won’t cost you a penny!

Here’s how you can support your employees through the cost-of-living crisis.

Offer a fair salary

As 47% of UK workers live ‘payslip to payslip’, the rapid rise in inflation has resulted in many employees wanting and needing higher salaries. However, with many employers also feeling the pinch, dishing out pay rises is not always an option.

If you can’t offer your employees a pay rise, you can still ensure that the salaries you do offer are fair and equal. You also have the option to pay the living wage as opposed to the minimum wage. This will boost your employee retention and improve your business’s reputation.

Additionally, you can provide your employees with opportunities for progression and reward them with a promotion or a mini bonus where possible. By tracking your labour costs in real time, you can keep an eye on your business expenses and easily note what you can and can’t afford.

Allow flexible working

Allowing flexible working patterns can help to significantly reduce your employees’ expenses. By allowing your staff to work from home or choose their own working hours, you can ease the burden of expenses such as travel, food, and childcare.

For roles that don’t allow for working from home, you can allow your employees to swap or manage their own shifts. Enabling such flexible working will empower your employees and significantly reduce the stress of balancing work with home life and the expenses that accompany it.

Review employee benefits

By regularly reviewing the benefits you offer to employees, you can adapt to changing needs. Many benefits can assist employees struggling with the effects of the cost-of-living crisis. These can include:

  • Free meals, snacks, or drinks.
  • Access to discounts on retail, leisure, and entertainment.
  • Life insurance and medical cover.
  • Opportunity to buy or sell holiday days.
  • Cycle-to-work scheme.
  • Opportunity to purchase discounted company shares.

You can also offer an Employee Assistance Programme (EAP). With an EAP you can offer your employees a range of support, such as financial advice, legal advice, counselling, and many other online resources.

By offering your employees a range of benefits, you can help to ease the stress associated with the cost-of-living and increase their financial and mental wellbeing.

Implement a financial wellbeing policy and provide education

Demonstrate your commitment to supporting your employees with a financial wellbeing policy. Within the policy you should point employees in the direction of independent money and debt guidance, provide access to low-interest loans, and list potential workshops.

It’s also prudent to provide as much financial education as you can. Take a morning out with your team for a talk, a PowerPoint presentation, or workshop around the importance of responsibly managing money.

In normalising conversations about financial wellbeing and providing your employees with easy to find resources, you will be providing a secure base for support.

Increase mental health support

A massive 61% of employees agree that stress resulting from the cost-of-living crisis has negatively impacted their work. To help ease some of the financial pressure upon your employees, you can increase the mental health support on offer.

By introducing mental health first aiders, providing access to counselling, and mental health days, you can provide your staff with a safe space to turn to in times of need. Additionally, you can also organise social work events and ensure that remote employees stay connected through means such as online notice boards.

In doing so, you will help to boost the positivity of your work force whilst also allowing them ways to alleviate stress and plan for a better future.

Support your employees where needed

Ultimately, it is important to remember that the cost-of-living crisis affects everyone. If your business is feeling the pinch, chances are, your employees will be too. By incorporating these strategies into your business, you can demonstrate empathy for your employees and support them where needed.

As a result, you and your employees will come out the other side with an increase in financial and mental wellbeing, a better work relationship, and an improved work-life balance.

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