People everywhere are facing real financial challenges. The cost of renting has soared over the last year. Food and grocery prices have increased by 9% over the last year, with the cost of fruits and vegetables soaring by 16.2%. Plus, there is an upward climb in energy and transportation costs. On top of this, nearly 57% of Australians reported that the rising cost of living is negatively impacting their lives. So, it is understandable that many Australians are worried about the rise in the cost of living and how far their paycheque will stretch.
What this means to employers is that their staff is stressed and turning to them for ways to make life a little easier in these tough times.
But when employers are faced with equal challenges of increased staff and hiring costs, there’s no easy answer to help employees when the budget doesn’t allow for it. Yet, even small, inexpensive gestures can make a big difference for employees.
Try these low-cost ways to help support your employees during cost of living increases:
|1. Mental wellbeing support|
|2. Ensure employees are aware of current benefits|
|3. Give access to financial advice|
|4. Implement an employee benefits program|
|5. Survey employees to find out what support they need|
1. Mental wellbeing support
How employees feel when they are at work has a large impact on their performance and attendance. Even when times are hard, when your workforce knows they have your support and appreciation, they are more engaged. This can be provided by several means.
Employee recognition - a little thank you goes a long way in nurturing employees' wellbeing. Establishing an employee-led recognition culture will help your team feel more connected, like they belong, and happier as a result.
Wellness content - where there is informative information provided to help with common issues such as physical wellness, health and nutrition advice, or mental wellbeing for times of high stress.
Leadership transparency - open and honest communication is essential to establishing trust and helping employees feel safe and secure. Support your Leadership Team to implement regular rhythms for communication to keep your team informed and on the right path.
Giving programs - where companies support worthy causes in their community and around the world.
2. Ensure employees are aware of current benefits
Most conversations I have start with, 'Well, we don't have any benefits.' And they often end with, 'WOW, actually, we do a LOT for our people!.' If there is a low uptake of benefits at your organisation, that can be a sure sign that employees are unaware of the programs you have initiated.
Look into how well employee benefits are communicated to your staff and put your marketing hat on! Are there regular company meetings where benefits are discussed? Are there emails sent out periodically to remind employees? Is benefit awareness a part of their daily life? Curating and promoting your employee benefits in one spot so your team can 'shop' from the smorgasbord on offer is a great way to drive awareness and engagement.
Think of your employees as customers and what methods it would take for them to learn about what you have to offer.
Promote benefits whenever possible. Create benefit guides. Explain why and how the benefits can help them. When employees know what they have access to, the chances of them taking up the benefits and finding relief for some of their challenges can make a huge difference in their performance and engagement.
3. Give access to financial advice
When employees are worried about how they are going to pay their bills, their productivity can suffer. They are more likely to make mistakes due to distractions. Or they may make unfavourable decisions about families, physical health, and career choices based on the financial stress they are under. But offering programs or services that helps ease their worry can alleviate the negative impact on their performance and help prevent them from seeking work elsewhere.
You can do this for employees by:
- Curating content that offers financial support and advice from reputable sources
- Inviting in financial wellness providers to run lunch and learns for the team
- Encouraging employees to share their favourite sharing stories – remember, we're all in this together!
- Finding new ways to help employees save
4. Implement an employee benefits program
Our SmartSpending employee benefits program is used by over 90% of our clients globally for one very simple reason. It's a low-cost, high-impact way to make an impact on all employees' disposable income instantly.
Since 74% of employees would use any financial rewards received from their workplace for essentials rather than luxuries, an employee benefits program can be adapted with the same mindset.
The key is offering a wide range of discounts. Not all employees are the same and have different needs and wants. While a discounts card to a popular food chain may be beneficial to some employees, it may not entice others who are more focussed on everyday savings for their family or their pets.
The right discounts program can offer a huge variety of savings, such as:
- Savings on family fuel and vehicle maintenance costs
- Online retail discounts (the average Australian spends more than $200 per week online!)
- Savings on utilities such as gas, electricity and phone plans
- Inexpensive pet health insurance
5. Survey employees to find out what support they need
Always remember to find new ways to listen to your employees. Continue to reach out and ask what your employees need and want through pulse surveys, manager one-on-ones, or group meetings. Consider having a platform that communicates the benefits, shares employee experiences, and makes access to employee benefits easy.
When you provide employees with what they really want, they’ll inevitably appreciate the benefits more. It encourages the feeling that you as an employer care about their wellbeing and want to help as best you can.
How to make the most of benefits outside of a pay rise
Though employees may have a long wish list, we know that not every item is within the business budget, but there are opportunities to get creative with your benefits to really make an impact on your employees every day. It shows that you genuinely care even when you are feeling the cost of living increases too.
If you're interested in learning more ways to help your employees through cost of living increases, get in touch with us, and a member of our team will walk you through how our solutions can support your employees. We can get you up and running in as little as 48 hours!