It’s no secret that this winter is going to be a tough one on both individuals and businesses alike. With all the basics increasing beyond comprehension, we’re facing a long depression, one that none of us have faced in over 3 decades.
It’s heavily reported that inflation is higher than wages, coupled with food prices, petrol prices and utility bills increasing to scary never seen before levels, there is no surprise in the fact that many are reassessing what is a necessity cost and re-prioritising their finances.
In a world where the choice between heating and eating is a stark reality for many employees, what can employers do to help ease the burden of cost of living for its employees and improve overall financial wellbeing?
We’ve seen some great examples in recent weeks with companies like John Lewis and Waitrose offering free meals for employees working during the winter months. These may not sound a lot but taking the pressure off buying what could be 5 meals a week (or more in some cases) can go a long way with employees.
It’s benefits like these that can certainly help businesses (who themselves may be feeling the pinch as they too have increasing bills) do something to help their employees. It’s unlikely many businesses can increase their wage bills right now, and so thinking outside the box for simple changes will definitely help.
Financial wellbeing and flexibility are the top two things’ employees are looking for from their employers according to the latest surveys, and with over 50% of employees currently actively looking or ready to leave their existing roles should better opportunities come along, now is the time to start reviewing incentive and benefits offered as part of your package.
The benefits you offer to employees can be a real winner in your toolkits to attracting and retaining staff during the cost-of-living crisis. As an employer, it’s so important to review what you offer regularly and engage your people, ask their opinion on what they’d like to see available, what they like about your offering, and what they don’t.
Once you’ve reviewed your packages, be sure to shout about it, I wish I had a £1 for every time I suggested a benefit to an employee to help and they had no idea it was in place, what it was, or how to engage with it (especially around things like discount sites for example). Communication will be key to making a success of your benefits packages.
Remember, not all benefits have to cost you, look to include things like discounted gym memberships, engage with local businesses to see if you can negotiate discounts for your employees, offer flexible working where applicable, look at salary sacrifice options for things like cycle to work, vouchers for food shops, clothes etc. Any savings you can make for employees will be important over the coming months.