How to address the cost-of-living crisis and support employees during economic instability

  • August 05, 2022

The cost-of-living crisis is affecting people across the UK. Thanks to a rise in inflation, energy costs and prices of food and other everyday goods, households in the UK are facing the biggest decline in income since the 1970s. A poll by CIPD has found that one in ten people do not earn enough to cover basic household necessities and 27% are unable to meet a £300 emergency without dipping into critical savings.

By not supporting their employees through this crisis effectively, employers and businesses risk alienating their workforces. This could result in employees who are disengaged, unproductive, critically stressed, anxious and unhappy. Financial pressure will lead many of them to seek better prospects elsewhere, and 37% of young people felt that they would be likely to change jobs due to the cost-of-living crisis.

Younger employees and those just starting their careers are also likely to be adversely impacted by the cost-of-living crisis as employers focus of hiring and retaining those with greater experience. 21% of young employees feel hopeless for the future and feel they will struggle to get into higher paying roles.

6 ways employers can offer cost-of-living support

It doesn’t have to be this way. Employers can do more to offer cost-of-living support to their employees and help them build a firm financial foundation. By working with employees, employers can develop a culture of support and assistance that will engage their team and increase their happiness and job satisfaction.

1. Pay fairly

The most effective way to support employees through a financial crisis is to ensure that you are paying them a fair, living wage. Assess your offerings against the real living wage, which is £9.90 across the UK and £11.05 in London. A living wage means your employees can meet every day needs. You can also consider salary increases in line with inflation and conducting a pay gap analysis to make sure that everyone in your organisation is being paid fairly.

2. Offer financial support or employee benefits schemes

Help with finances doesn’t just include wages. Businesses can offer several benefits and subsidies to assist their employees with everyday expenses and help take the pressure off. For example, you could offer:

• Commuting subsidies, such as train and bus fares, or cycle to work schemes

• Fuel vouchers and car share schemes

• Healthcare, dental and eyecare plans that cover employees and their dependants

• Childcare vouchers

• Increased pension contributions

• Income streaming services

Of course, we understand that businesses, particularly SMBs, are under pressure as well. Salary increases and other forms of financial support are not the only way you can help your employees. Offering budgeting classes, debt counselling and help with financial planning are all ways employers can assist employees with managing their finances.

3. Communicate clearly

If you do offer financial help and benefits make sure that you are communicating them effectively so that staff members are aware they exist and that they are entitled to them. Offering a compassionate, empathetic listening ear can help employees feel heard and help you ensure you are offering the benefits that will help them the most. Consider instating regular wellbeing checks that allow employees to express problems and concerns safely.

4. Champion ED&I

Some groups are likely to be more affected by the cost-of-living crisis than others. For example, those with caring responsibilities may face additional costs and challenges. Champion ED&I throughout your organisation and consider the difficulties facing the different groups represented. Pay gap analysis and equality impact assessments will be helpful here when looking at redundancies or restructuring.

5. Help employees fulfil their potential

Offering a clear pathway to promotion for employees at every level of your organisation will help give them clear goals and a means to fulfil their potential. Good succession planning can indicate that you are invested in employees in the long term and help you attract and retain high level talent. Offer chances for personal development, coaching and mentoring opportunities and training plans even if budgets are stretched, although there is plenty of resource available online for free. It’s always important to remember that training and development can have a high return on investment

6. Be flexible

Just as some groups may be more affected than others, it’s important to remember that not everyone is going to be affected the same way. Every individual will experience the cost-of-living crisis differently. Offering as much flexibility as you can when it comes to working hours, what benefits employees have access to and how they choose to access them will maximise the amount of support you can give your employees.

By supporting your employees through difficult times, you will increase their engagement with your business, make them more satisfied at their jobs, reduce turnover and have a happier, more productive workforce.

How can Morgan Law help you improve your recruitment processes?

At Morgan Law we take the time to develop a full understanding of your requirements, meeting with you to discuss challenges and offer advice on the availability of talent in the market and how to improve your existing practices.

Our established database of over 30,000 senior-level, highly skilled professionals with significant experience in the public and not-for-profit sectors available on a permanent and contract basis enable us to deliver the highest quality recruitment solutions.

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