Top Ten Tips for... Supporting Your Employees During the Cost of Living Crisis

Top Ten Tips for... Supporting Your Employees During the Cost of Living Crisis

A recent poll conducted by the CIPD found that, for many people, financial insecurity can have a knock-on effect on workplace performance. With household bills continuing to rise and inflation the highest it has been in 40 years, it’s more important than ever for employers to consider the impact that money worries can have on their staff.

1. Listen and understand the issues

In order to begin to support your employees during this time, it’s important that you really understand the issues being faced by the different members of your team. The current cost of living crisis is affecting everyone in different ways and understanding this will allow you to implement changes that will benefit the most people. For example; some team members may be worried about saving for upcoming milestones like weddings and children, some may be struggling to buy a home and some of your employees may even be struggling to feed their families and heat their homes.

2. Implement financial wellbeing training

Within larger organisations, you may have team leaders or a HR department who would usually deal with employee worries and concerns. If this is the case for your business, then providing extra training for these members of staff will help make sure they feel comfortable discussing financial matters with the rest of the team. This may be especially helpful for a HR team as they are usually the ones discussing matters such as benefits, pensions, wellbeing and mental health.

3. Provide professional advice and resources

Many workers do not have access to affordable financial advice or don’t know where to start looking for helpful resources. One of the best ways to support financial wellbeing in your workplace would be to provide your employees with professional financial advice, either for free or at a discounted rate. Perhaps regular check-ins with a financial advisor could be included in your benefits packages? If this isn’t a feasible option for your business, did you know that you can get free, independent money and debt advice from the government’s Money and Pensions Service? 

4. Update your wellbeing policies

Now would be a great time to take stock of your business policies, such as employee wellbeing and annual leave. It goes without saying that financial worries can have a severely negative impact on our mental health, and therefore it makes perfect sense for financial wellbeing to be included in your workplace health and wellbeing policies. Furthermore, if your employees are suffering from illness and stress and need to take time off, worrying about money can exacerbate their symptoms. Providing generous sick pay and holiday pay can help ensure these members of staff can recuperate and return to work as soon as possible.

Related: Supporting Mental Health in the Workplace

5. Arrange some workplace perks

When money is tight, the small everyday joys are often the first thing that we cut out. Whether it’s that hot drink from the local coffee shop on the way to work or the tasty lunch from the cafe down the road – is there anything you can do to make sure your employees don’t have to go without these perks? Perhaps you can provide a healthy lunch for everyone in the office one day a week, or upgrade the tea and coffee selection in the office so your team can enjoy their favourite drinks there instead.

6. Look at your benefits packages

Have you taken a look at your benefits packages recently? After the Covid-19 pandemic and the current cost of living crisis, now is the perfect time to take a look at the benefits you offer and see if they are still working in the best interest of your employees. It would be ideal if your organisation’s benefits package helped your employee’s salaries go a little further every month so perhaps consider including benefits such as; mental and physical health insurance and access to discounts for everyday essentials such as transport and childcare.

7. Pay a fair wage

This one might feel like a no-brainer but one of the best ways to support your employees during the cost of living crisis is by paying a fair and decent wage. Providing a good salary will not only alleviate financial stress but is also proven to create happier, more motivated employees.

8. Prioritise flexibility

Financial security will mean different things to different people within your team, depending on their priorities, work stability and stage of life. You don’t need to create one solid financial wellbeing policy and expect it to work for everyone. By taking a more flexible approach and learning as you go, you can commit to supporting financial wellbeing in a way that works for everyone in your team and that can be adapted as the economy shifts and cost of living continues to evolve.

9. Support employee progression

By prioritising the development of your staff through regular training and up-skilling, you can help maximise their earning potential and help give them the confidence to take on higher-paying roles within your organisation. This is also a great way to help with employee retention, particularly if your business is not in a position to offer regular wage increases. When you support your employee’s development and progression, you are showing a commitment to them and one that could prevent them from looking for a higher paid position elsewhere.

Related: How to Retain Great Employees

10. Break the stigma around money conversations

There can be a lot of negativity and stigma surrounding financial worries and many people can find it embarrassing to admit that they are struggling. By showing empathy and concern to your employees and encouraging them to discuss these matters with someone they feel comfortable with, you can normalise conversations about money and help reduce the stress that comes with it. As you make the steps to support financial wellbeing, it’s important that you keep the conversation going by having regular check-ins and being open to receiving feedback.

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