June 23, 2023

Cost of living crisis: what can you do for your employees?

The cost of living crisis has become a significant issue for many individuals and families across the world. This crisis has caused many individuals to struggle to make ends meet, leading to increased stress levels and financial hardship. How can you help your employees during this difficult time?

What can you do?

Due to the fact that the cost of living crisis is not just an economic issue but also a huge moral burden, a combination of workplace benefits can make a difference. While it should depend on the employee’s preference and individual circumstances, health and wellness as well as financial benefits prove to be the most popular when in recession:

> Healthcare. By providing healthcare benefits, HR can help employees to access the physical and psychological care they need without having to worry about the cost-based availability. While this can be particularly beneficial for employees who have chronic health conditions or who have family members who require medical care, a striking 85% of all employees think that health insurance is a must-have benefit.

> Retirement plans. Many employees are worried about their retirement savings, particularly as they struggle to make ends meet in the present. By offering additional help with retirement funds, HR can help employees to plan for their future and reduce their financial stress levels. While this can be particularly beneficial for younger employees who may not be thinking about retirement just yet, it is the older employees who are expecting it more often. Although 10% of surveyed employees said that retirement plans are the most significant factor for workplace satisfaction, a lot of employers are careful to offer this benefit due to unstable costs.

> Paid time off. Many employees are worried about taking time off work, particularly if they are struggling financially. By offering PTO, you can help employees to take the time they need to rest and recharge without worrying about lost income – this is confirmed by 61.9% of the surveyed employees with PTO who say that this contributed to their healthy work-life balance.

> Employee assistance programs (EAPs). For example, some companies may choose to pay for their employees’ utilities, childcare or offer transportation assistance to help offset the high costs of commuting. Additionally, some companies may offer employee discounts on products and services, such as groceries, to help employees save money on their essential expenses.

Why do it?

What’s best for business is what’s best for its people. Not cutting current benefits and providing additional ones during the cost of living crisis can help increase their loyalty to the company in several ways.

> Offering benefits demonstrates to employees that the company cares about their well-being beyond their work performance. When employees feel that their employer is invested in their financial and emotional well-being, they are more likely to be satisfied in their work.

> Help in the time of need can also help to increase employee retention. When employees feel valued and supported by their employer, they are more likely to stay with the company long-term. Offering benefits such as healthcare, retirement plans, and paid time off can help to create a sense of stability and security for employees, which can increase their loyalty to the company.

> Economic burden is moral burden. When employees feel that they are being fairly compensated and have access to valuable benefits, they are more likely to be motivated and engaged in their work. This can lead to increased productivity and job satisfaction, which can in turn lead to higher levels of employee loyalty.

Is now the time?

HR departments have an important role to play in supporting employees during the cost of living crisis. By offering a range of benefits, from healthcare and retirement plans to simple benefits such as flexible work schedules and EAPs, HR can help employees to manage their finances and reduce their stress levels.

Regular market research, employee “temperature checks” and a culture of active listening in the workplace will let you see the alarm bells early and implement smart and calculated solutions to keep your team strong in the difficult times.