Supporting Employees with the Rising Cost of Living

Inflation has increased the cost of food to its highest price in 13 years, along with the rise in energy bills and the rocketing prices of petrol and diesel, there will be few employees that won’t be feeling the effects of the cost-of-living crisis. With salary increases and pay settlements to match inflation not an option for all businesses, employers may be wondering what they can do to support employees with the rising cost of living.

Why is offering your employees support with financial wellness important?

As costs of living rise, undoubtedly so has financial anxiety. According to the CIPD, one in four employees have said that such anxiety has impacted their ability to do their job. Financial anxiety can be damaging on the mental wellbeing of your employees and as a result, effect their work performance and engagement in their role. It is important to offer support and demonstrate commitment to help employees get through the current crisis by promoting and encouraging long term financial resilience. 

What can employers do to offer support?

  • Provide educational support to your employees. Consider advertising financial wellbeing workshops for your employees to attend so they can find out how they can make their salary stretch. They will also benefit from gaining long term and life-changing, budgeting and personal finance skills.
  • Offer more flexibility. For a lot of employees, commuting costs will account for a significant amount of their salary. Providing your employees with the option of remote or hybrid working can help them cut down on commuting costs and instead use this money to pay for energy bills or food. If remote working is not possible why not consider joining the cycle to work scheme and help your employees to cover the cost of a bike and cycling equipment to help them get to work and save money!
  • Promote employee benefits. Make a difference without increasing salaries, offer benefits to your employees instead such as free or discounted gym memberships, shopping vouchers or discount codes, childcare support or help with private healthcare.
  • Encourage lifestyle changes. Small changes to the way we live everyday can help save money. Why not offer some helpful tips to employees such as …
    • Saving energy by switching off lights and plug sockets when not in use.
    • Turning down the thermostat and wearing an extra layer instead!
    • Food shop consciously – avoid convenience foods and plan ahead.
    • Reduce unnecessary outgoings such as eating out and instead of buying out, make a coffee at home!
  • Direct your employees to professional help if they need further support. Whether free advice with Citizens Advice, or free and confidential money and debt advice from the Money and Pension Service, or even a helpline to call if they are unable to cope with the financial pressure. It is important that your employees are aware of all the services available to offer them help, a small reminder could make a big difference.

Encourage communications within your team on the topic and keep discussions open to encourage staff to talk – make tackling financial worries a priority in your workplace. It is not always obvious who might be struggling.