The cost of living and the current economic environment is at the forefront of most people’s minds. For many thoughts are with key issues of keeping a roof over their families’ heads, putting food on the table and keeping warm. Those on the lowest incomes will be hit hardest.
Many employers are thinking about what support they can give to their employees and workers at this time.
This may come as a surprise, but not all support needs to cost money.
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Here are our top items to consider:
- Can you offer a cost-of-living-bonus? In this situation, you must assess the impact on all individuals, particularly for those receiving Tax Credits or Universal Credit, as this approach may prove consequential.
- Flexible working to support individuals who need to take on a second job, however, remember to assess the implications for the business, particularly where you have restrictive covenants in place, as you want to avoid a conflict of interest or burnout.
- Let your workforce know they can get free, confidential and independent money and debt advice from the Government. Find out more about financial wellbeing in the workplace.
- Promote all the benefits you currently offer and how to make the most of them. For example, counselling services help with stress and anxiety.
- Start to normalise conversations about money worries. Create an environment that makes individuals feel heard and understood. Train your managers to provide the right support to their teams.
- Bring in the experts and provide workshops for financial management, financial planning, budgeting etc. You would be surprised how many people lack knowledge on these issues.
- Get creative and find a way for employees to share ideas and practical advice to support each other through this difficult time.
It is worth noting that in-work poverty is real, and even before the cost-of-living crisis, it affected one in eight workers in the UK.
The problem is most prevalent in accommodation and food services, with construction, wholesale and retail, amongst others, not far behind. Other factors such as pay, hours, location and barriers to childcare and transport all play a part.
So, what can you do on a wider scale to support your workforce? Here is the outline of a three-pronged approach to address the key issues:
- Review your reward strategy. Are you paying a fair and liveable wage allowing individuals to lead a dignified life with access to opportunities and choices?
- Empower your workforce to support their own financial well-being as part of your wider well-being strategy.
- Develop a learning culture to show individuals a clear path to progression by developing skills, removing barriers and challenging perceptions.
At MAD-HR our highly skilled and experienced team is here to help you, whether it is to put in place some immediate initiatives or to create something for the future. Contact us for more information.