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02 Sep 2022
by Robert Hicks

How to retain and attract talent during the cost of living crisis

Improve employees’ wellbeing by making more of existing benefits and giving them the tools to improve their resilience

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As people around the world still feel the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic and inflation rates have reached 40-year highs, the cost of living has increased rapidly and financial security has become a top concern for employees.

New research from Reward Gateway reveals that 72% of global HR managers feel that cost of living increases are affecting employees’ work performance and 80% of global employees want more financial wellbeing resources and tools from their employers.

While pay rises and bonuses struggle to keep up with inflation, there are still many ways to provide employees with practical, financial support – and hope – in a challenging time.

A great starting point is to ask employees what they need. Below are some ways companies have responded to employee feedback and are making employees’ lives a little easier through the cost of living crisis.

1. Maximise existing benefits to support financial wellbeing

With budgets tight, now is the time to focus on promoting the benefits you already have in place to extend employees’ disposable income and save money. Asked how they want to be supported with the cost of living increases, 47% of UK employees said employers should ensure they were aware of the benefits available to them.

This might include an employee assistance programme (EAP), a discounts scheme, a salary advance or loan or a technology salary sacrifice benefit to support white goods purchases.

Plus, with access to a total reward statement, employees will have a better understanding of the benefits available and how they support their day-to-day lives.

2. Ease the burden of commuting with Cycle to Work

With tube and bus fares projected to rise even more, the cost of the average commute is undoubtedly putting a financial strain on commuters. Help your employees save money by introducing a Cycle to Work scheme that will allow them to buy cycling equipment through salary sacrifice.

Cycle to Work is beneficial to both employees and employers – people can pay for a new bike pre-tax, straight from their pay, and employers save NI contributions.

3. Offer resources to support employees’ financial mental and physical wellbeing

As employees face many daily stressors, employers can help them prioritise their wellbeing through easy access to healthy recipes, mindfulness strategies and physical fitness tips and videos, as well as financial wellbeing tools and advice.

In our recent survey, 82% of UK employees said it’s important their employer offers financial wellbeing resources and tools and 40% said they would actually leave a job that didn’t offer financial, physical and mental wellbeing support.

4. Boost motivation with a mini-bonus

While pay rises and big bonuses probably aren’t feasible, some organisations are using what they have to celebrate the efforts their people have made in recent months.

Symbio, a communications software and services provider, rewarded its 406 employees with a £50 mini-bonus during the pandemic to recognise employees for how well they've adapted to remote working arrangements.

Many organisations are adding these mini-bonuses to provide additional support for everyday purchases, and to show employees appreciation for their work.

5. Harness the power of reward and recognition

If a mini-bonus isn’t possible for your company, don’t forget your existing employee reward and recognition programme can also provide employees financial stimulus. If your programme allows, employees who receive recognition or awards that have a monetary value attached to them can redeem these to reduce or cover the cost of an essential or wish-list item.

Recognition will also support the culture and community that people are missing, and bring people together during challenging times that take a toll on both mental and financial wellbeing.

Small wins drive motivation, and reminding managers to recognise their teams not only improves morale, it might also be an opportunity to financially reward them. Not only will it lessen their stress and anxiety, but it will also help build employees’ trust in you – an investment that will strengthen your company.

Supporting employees through this challenging time doesn’t have to come at a great cost and there are many ways businesses can support employees that are more effective than a company-wide pay rise.

At a time when many are looking for relief, finding creative and low-cost solutions to provide employees financial support through cost of living increases can be the perfect boost they’re looking for.

In partnership with Reward Gateway

We help the world's leading companies with an employee engagement platform.

Contact us today