Last updated: 08.02.23

6 tips to help you support your employees through the cost of living crisis

As energy prices soar and the recession deepens, UK households are set to experience the largest drop in living standards since records began.

And with the news that many employers are opting to cancel or postpone their annual remuneration reviews and bonus schemes, it is no wonder that 4 in 5 employees are concerned about the ongoing increases to the cost of living.

With 57% of employees reportedly taking a productivity hit due to financial stress, many Human Resources (HR) departments are looking for new ways to support their staff through the financial crisis at a time when sales are slumping and budgets are being slashed. 

In this article, we will discuss 6 tips to help you support your employees through the cost-of-living crisis.

Provide financial education

The Money Advice Service reports that 39% of UK adults don’t feel confident managing their money, with over 11.5 million of us having less than £100 in savings. Providing access to free, confidential financial advice from an independent party could be an important step in helping employees make better long-term financial decisions. However, it is important to note that personal financial advice is a regulated activity, so should only be conducted by an accredited individual or body.

But financial education doesn’t have to start and end there. Whether an outside professional provides a general session on debt management, your finance team produces literature on effective money management techniques, or you signpost colleagues to external resources, there are many ways businesses can provide financial education to their staff.

Employee benefit and discount schemes

Not all benefits have to relate to financial compensation. By offering access to other desirable perks, you can help colleagues make financial savings, boost morale and decrease staff turnover.

Examples of employee benefits you could consider adding to your benefits package include:

  • Life insurance
  • Dental cover
  • Health screening
  • Free vaccinations
  • Employee Assistance
  • Sick pay
  • Eye care vouchers
  • Gym discounts
  • Salary sacrifice schemes
  • Retail vouchers

Offer mental health support

With many households forced to choose between heating and eating this winter, it is no surprise that 25% of workers report experiencing feelings of depression at the hands of the financial crisis.

With a further 32% unable to sleep because of financial woes, it is not surprising that the worry of rapidly increasing bills has had a detrimental impact on the mental health of many colleagues. In these cases, it has never been more important to act quickly and decisively in tackling issues concerning mental health to ensure the wellbeing and productivity of their workforce. There are several ways businesses can opt to support their employees’ mental health:

Mental health first aiders and management training

An important first step for businesses is to train managers and mental health first aiders on how to spot the signs of depression, anxiety and other mental health issues in the workplace.

Virtual College offers an extensive range of mental health courses to suit a variety of personnel and business needs. With CPD certified courses available, we can help equip your teams with the tools they need to spot signs of poor mental health and act accordingly.

For more information on how we can help improve mental health training in your business, contact a member of our team.

Employee Assistance Programmes (EAPs)

Employee Assistance Programmes (EAP) can also act as an effective mental health support measure. An EAP is a confidential service that helps employees and their families deal with issues affecting their mental health, whether they be workplace stressors, financial worries, or problems at home. The majority of EAP’s are accessed through a telephone helpline that is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Social events

In times of economic recession, social events are often the first to be cut from budgets. However, socialising with colleagues is an effective way to increase morale and reduce stress. If money is tight, consider organising a social event in your office if it is appropriate and safe to do so, giving your people a cost-effective way to mingle and de-stress outside of work hours. 

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39% of UK adults don’t feel confident managing their money, with over 11.5 million of us having less than £100 in savings
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Money Advice Service

Introduce hybrid working

Following the Coronavirus pandemic, hybrid working has become increasingly popular among employers and employees alike. Not only does this new way of working help employees achieve a better work/life balance — a major priority among workers — it can also have many financial benefits as well.

By reducing the need to commute to the office every day, many colleagues will save money on both travel and childcare costs by spending more time at home and less time in their cars or on public transport.

Train your managers

Supporting staff through the cost-of-living crisis can be challenging. In fact, 35% of UK workers report that they have not received any cost-of-living support from their employers. And with over 57% of employees losing productivity due to financial stressors, there has never been a more important time for employers to provide their managers with this vital training.

Using our ready-to-go management training courses, you can equip your managers with the tools they need to provide the right support to colleagues as they grapple with the fallout of rising inflation. For more information on how we can support you with your management training, contact a member of our team today.

Why Virtual College?

With 27 years’ experience, helping you translate your business requirements into learning is our specialism. We collaborate closely with you to:

  • Get to the heart of your culture and your people and what matters to them
  • Build impactful experiences designed around your learners
  • Evolve your training programmes for the long-term by analysing impact and considering ever-changing business and people goals

Speak to our team today to find out how we can help you support your staff through the cost-of-living crisis.