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Supporting employees through the cost of living crisis

December 12, 2022

Everyone is feeling the pinch and for many it is a lot more than a pinch.  The interest rate surge, cost of living crisis and the Autumn Statement with its spread of tax rises will impact on every household and employer. So we have looked around to see what employers are doing for their staff with recession not looking like a short sharp one and increasing pressure on retention and recruitment of the best talent.

Research by the Building Societies Association reveals a significant gap with 62% of employees thinking that their employer should care about their wellbeing but only 24% think they actually do.  Scarily over 60% of employees are worried about meeting their bill and credit commitments.  

There are established and clear links between money and mental health, we encourage all employers and employees to take a look at the helpful advice available from the fantastic mental health charity Mind to help those around you and yourselves in these times of additional stress.

It was good to read in a recent PWC survey of large businesses that more than eight in ten are taking action to help staff in the face of the cost of living crisis. Key ways big business is intervening to help with today’s high inflation rates are through financial support, including focussed pay increases for essential workers (53%), additional pay reviews (51%) and one off bonuses (40%).

Additionally some organisations, around 15%, are implementing other non-monetary interventions such as increased staff shopping discounts, support with home insulation, financial wellbeing programmes and employee hardship funds. 

The economic backdrop combined with a skills shortage makes for difficult times for business with over 90% expressing concern with current attrition rates and nearly one in five workers saying they are looking to change role in the next year.

The CIPD have produced some useful tips for employers to help their staff and not all relate to salary increases and financial support though many do.  A focus on good communications and making sure managers understand what they can offer and critically listening to the needs of their staff is also key, there is often a gap between what benefits and support is available and how well this is understood, appreciated and critically accessed by staff.  

Business in the Community are also offering advice to employers, drawing attention to the inequity of impact on women and ethnic minority groups and emphasising in these difficult times the importance of thinking about equity and capturing data to really understand the make up of your workforce and the talent you are attracting during recruitment.

There is no magic money tree and no quick fix to the current economic woes.  However it is clear that as well as rewarding financially the staff you value, businesses can help themselves and their staff by listening to the needs of staff, being as flexible as possible, reviewing current benefits and ensuring that they are really understood and used can help.  We hope this can help make a difference as we all tighten our belts.

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