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How to help employees during the ‘cost of living crisis’

Many business want to help employees during the ‘cost of living crisis’ but are worried about their own financial challenges. 

The Chancellor’s announcement of tax rises and spending cuts on top of the existing cost of living crisis may see more employees worried about their finances.

Whilst a lot of businesses would like to help their employees, in many cases they too are facing tough times so direct financial support such as pay rises or a ‘one-off cost of living bonus’ is simply a stretch too far now.

If you are in this position and want to support your staff, the good news is that with a bit of creativity there are still things you can do which don’t break the bank.

Have you thought about…

Time instead of money

Many people lead busy lives, trying to juggle competing demands and personal commitments so having a bit of extra time or flexibility is a welcome relief.

Depending on your business, you may wish to grant employees an extra day of holiday as a ‘one off’ or accommodate a few extra hours of holiday to allow for late start/early finishes.

According to Forbes, flexibility is one of the most empowering benefits for employees, so making an agreement for time will be a good morale booster. Offer a helping hand over the next few months and save your employees money on travel costs or childcare.

For those struggling, extra time off will ease the pressure by giving them more opportunity to take any necessary action, such as seeking specific financial advice on their situation.

Alternatively, if your business is considering having a workplace Christmas party but hasn’t yet committed to anything, consider giving them paid time off instead so they can choose to spend it with friends and family.

Pushing forward with employee wellbeing initiatives

Has your business put steps into place to support employees with their mental health and wellbeing in the workplace?  If you have, it’s times like these that your strategies can come into their own.

Are you concerned that some of your workforce may be feeling under strain from financial or other pressures?

Capitalise on the steps you have already taken by making sure all employees know what help and support is available to them and how to access it.

Are you just getting started and looking for some easy first steps towards supporting employee wellbeing?

Even seemingly small things can make a difference, so you might want to think about:

  • Making time to check in with those you manage, regular catch-ups give employees the opportunity to raise things that may be affecting them. It’s also a good way of building bonds with your team and allowing you to identify early if a little extra support may be needed
  • Being able to signpost employees who need it to some sources of external support, for those with financial worries this could be signposting to impartial, credible and free financial advice and assistance services

Company approach to second jobs

Some employees may be thinking about taking a second job to help alleviate the impact of the increased cost of living.

With this in mind, its important to make sure you know what the position regarding second jobs is within your business, for example some employers have a provision that employees must seek prior approval to take up another job.

Being prepared to deal with such requests can help to make sure they are addressed promptly, effectively and appropriately helping both your employees and your business.

Did you know that ‘exclusivity clauses’ are banned for zero hours employees?

From 05th December 2022, this ban will extend to ‘low paid’ employees too.

Staff surveys

These can provide some valuable insights into what your employees would find most beneficial.

Not only can they help to make sure any initiatives are hitting the mark, it gives employees the opportunity for their voices to be heard.

There is no ‘one-size fits all’ approach when it comes to supporting employees so something designed for your business and your employees’ needs is likely to be more beneficial.

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