The Cost of Living Crisis: Five Ways Employers Can Help Their Workforce
The cost of living crisis is a major concern for the UK workforce. As Sunak rushes to announce a package of support measures, British employers are facing increased pressure to respond “in cash”, for example by handing out inflation-busting pay rises or hardship bonuses to their labor- work. But few employers are able to devote unlimited funds to the problem. As dark clouds gather over the UK economy, the Bank of England has warned workers not to seek big pay rises if they want to see costs stabilise.
So how else can employers support their workforce during the cost of living crisis? Here are five suggestions:
1. Expand a set of flexible benefits
Employers need to listen to their workforce to ensure their benefits package meets diverse needs. A flexible benefits package is optimal because it recognizes that circumstances differ from employee to employee and can include dental care, travel loans, coupons that extend to non-luxury items, wage sacrifices for tax savings, annual health/mental care. health checks or the ability to buy/sell annual leave.
2. Better mental health support for employees
Financial security is essential to the mental health and well-being of employees. Employers should determine in all cases whether staff have a confidential channel to express their financial concerns and seek help if they are in difficulty. This can take the form of trained mental health first aiders, an employee assistance program, or scheduling regular “check-ins” with staff. Effective initiatives to identify, de-stigmatize and support employees struggling with mental health issues have never been more important.
3. Facilitate peer group support, networks and pooling of resources
Larger employers may be able to facilitate the creation of resource groups, for example to enable carpooling or the recycling of work clothes. Employers can actively encourage peer support. For example, host lunchtime walking groups or provide accommodations, technical or other support to ensure the success of resource pooling groups.
4. Greater flexibility
Requests for greater flexibility due to increasing financial pressure should be carefully considered, such as increased work from home to reduce rising gas costs, requests for overtime, or increased working hours . These requests should be treated confidentially and sensitively based on individual circumstances.
5. Help with financial training and budgeting
Employers should consider offering optional financial training and budget support to employees to help them manage their personal finances and ensure they know how to access help in times of difficulty.
Above all, employers must ensure that their employees do not feel embarrassed or stigmatized by raising financial concerns at work and are supported to keep their heads above water.