How to support employees during the cost of living crisis

The cost of living crisis continues to be a hot topic in the news. Indeed, the latest inflation data shows an increase of 10.1% in the 12 months to September. Prices are rising at their fastest rate for 40 years and the biggest increases are in household staples such as bread, cheese, milk, pasta and cooking oil. But what does this actually mean to business owners and what is the potential impact on employees?

How to support employees during the cost of living crisis

Why has the cost of living crisis happened?

There are many factors which have contributed to the cost of living crisis in the UK. These include;

  • The war in Ukraine (which has pushed up the price of a range of commodities)
  • An increase of 54% in the UK household energy price cap
  • Labour shortages in many industry sectors (foreign worker exodus following Brexit)
  • Higher mortgage payments as interest rates rise
  • A weak £ (which increases the price of imported goods)
  • An increase in council tax bills

While many employers are striving to fill vacancies with attractive employment packages and keep existing staff happy with higher wages, employees are still finding their spending power seriously curtailed. Petrol and diesel prices have been falling, but the daily commute can still punch a big hole in a household budget.

How to support employees during the cost of living crisis

Let’s put aside recent government advice to simply work more hours or get a better paid job. Below are a few useful tips on how to support employees through the ongoing economic crisis.

Pay and reward

Providing the right employee benefits and ensuring that they are accessible to all staff is crucial to assisting with the rising cost of living. As an employer, if you can afford to it might be worth considering a one off payment to help employees with the rising costs.

In-work progression

The offer available to colleagues to access development, training and experience to progress and enter higher paid work in the medium to longer term can be transformational for colleagues impacted.

Financial wellbeing and education

Encouraging staff to have conversations about financial wellbeing and ensuring they are empowered to access support is vital.  Blossom HR has partnered with a financial advice company which offers free advice to employees by way of a workshop.

Flexible and agile working

Ensuring staff can take up flexible working arrangements. These could be crucial in helping to manage household costs. Read our blog on flexible working.

Mental Health & Wellbeing

It is important that staff are supported with their mental health throughout this challenging time. Ruminating over serious money worries can have a big impact on day-to-day wellbeing. Training Line Managers on Mental Health First Aid, being able to spot those early signs, offering an Employee Assistance Programme and simple solutions like offering paid time off to attend doctors appointments or therapy sessions.

Money troubles and poor mental health have a cyclical relationship. If you’re struggling financially, you’re more likely to experience a mental health problem; and if you have a mental health problem, you’re more likely to struggle financially. The financial crisis means more people are struggling in both ways. By taking the steps mentioned above, a business is offering the best possible support for employees at this extremely difficult time.

If you would like to discuss implementing any of these measures to support your employees, please contact us to arrange a free, 30 minute consultation.