POSTED: August 12 2022
the key to tackling the cost-of-living crisis?

Are Employee Benefits the Key to Tackling the Cost-of-living Crisis for your Employees?

Employees are looking closely at their financial situation as the rising cost of living continues to impact disposable income. In turn, a reduction in this disposable income can impact an employee’s well-being and their ability to continue with activities that are no longer financially viable. This combination can often lead to employees considering new job opportunities, in a bid to secure a higher salary and fulfil the ongoing need to support and provide for their families.

So, what can Employers do to tackle this issue without breaking the salary roll bank?

If you are in a position to conduct a salary review or to provide a cost-of-living bonus, consider doing so. Average salaries across most sectors have increased post pandemic as businesses strive to retain and attract the best talent. However, often this isn’t an option as many businesses continue to recover financially from the impact of COVID.

As such we are focussing on areas that are cost neutral or often available within an existing benefit package:

1. Communicate

Firstly, understand if your employees are feeling the squeeze and in what ways. Capturing this information anonymously via an employee survey is a great way to gain the feedback you need to understand the impact rising costs are having on your employees. Removing the stigma around financial difficulty and encouraging employees to talk is one of the first and most important hurdles to overcome. An employee who feels listened to, valued and part of a business who takes action, is far more likely to remain loyal.

2. Review and re-promote benefits

Work with an intermediary partner, such as advo, to assess and maximise your existing benefits is a great place to start. Creating a calendar of regular communications and events helps employees engage and raises awareness of the support available to them. There are a number of employee benefits that can assist employees financially:

  • Discount portals – often hidden within other products or insurances such as Medical Insurance or Cash plans. If lying dormant and un-promoted its likely your employees are not maximising the savings available to them through employer discount portals. Many providers offer discounts in excess of 10% on daily costs such as fuel, supermarkets and electrical goods, to name a few.
  • Employee Assistance Programs – A must have for any organisation covering an employer’s duty of care to employees. Often included within an existing insurance product or benefit, but a very low cost and an easy benefit to implement if not currently in place. EAP provides employees with a safe and confidential place to discuss financial concerns among a multitude of other support, including debt advice and counselling.
  • Wider benefits such as Cycle to work schemes, via salary sacrifice, are a great way to tackle the rising cost of fuel whilst promoting exercise and contributing to a reduction in carbon footprint. In fact, considering wider salary sacrifice schemes that may help reduce costs through savings made on NI, is a great place to invest time with little to no costs to the employer.

3. Financial well-being & education

According to the CIPD’s reward management survey, Apr 22.  1 in 4 employees say money concerns affect their ability to do their job. Implementing a financial well-being policy and providing employees with access to a financial education program can make a huge difference, allowing employees to learn how to manage their finances more effectively. Financial well-being and education also help promote open conversations removing the stigma associated with debt and financial concerns. We have found such programmes hugely beneficial and well received by employees.

4. Signposting

With an abundance of support available online and via other channels, consider sending regular bulletins signposting financial support services, such as the money & pensions service (MaPS) or citizens advice bureau.  Providing regular communication and access to external support and services can reach employees who may be reluctant to reach out for help.

Unsure where to start? Give us a call we are more than happy to offer you advice and guidance.