7 tips for talking to employees about the cost of living crisis
The cost of living crisis affects all aspects of everyday life. Financial stress and uncertainty can impact everything from mental health to day-to-day performance at work. By acknowledging the economic turbulence and ensuring that your teams feel supported, you can ensure job satisfaction, good employer/employee relations and high levels of talent retention.
First, it’s important to work out the right place to start.
1. Address salary increases
While a pay rises may not be possibile for every organisation, it’s inevitable that employees will query why certain means of support are being offered rather than simply raising salaries.
If your company isn’t in a position to give a workforce-wide wage increase, be honest about it. Tell your staff that the organisation has seriously considered it and while it’s not feasible at present, you will continue to look at pay rises and implement them when it becomes financially viable.
Reassure them that, in the meantime, the other means of support you are offering are aimed at helping with the rising cost of living.
2. Send out surveys to gauge areas of interest
An anonymous survey is the most powerful tool in every HR team’s arsenal. Particularly around sensitive topics like finances, people can be reluctant to offer up their views for fear of them being used in an illegitimate way, like influencing wage discussions.
Assuring your employees that their responses will be kept anonymous can go a long way in getting authentic answers and using that information to improve your offerings.
3. Set up peer-to-peer knowledge sharing
Colleague-to-colleague knowledge sharing can take a lot of the formality out of structured training. Encourage financially literate team members to step forward and impart their wisdom to those less in-the-know to absorb during an informal learning session.
Perhaps a member of the accounting team has a spreadsheet for monitoring personal monthly budgets, or someone from IT knows a great app for tracking your spending, maybe another person used to work as a mortgage advisor – use the resources that are available to you to share relevant and accessible information.
4. Allow time for personal finances
This strategy provides an opportunity for employees to carve out some designated time in their week to attend to their most pressing financial matters. Whether it’s setting up a direct debit, cancelling a subscription or shopping around for a more cost-effective internet provider, people can use the time to set work aside and focus on essential money matters.
At the end, spend five minutes discussing the progress people have made.
5. Ask employees about their benefits
To find out what your team really wants, you need to ask them. While a consensus is always good, there may be a varied list of benefits that people would like to see incorporated into the package. Consider having people-specific benefits packages as opposed to a one-size-fits-all option.
6. Circulate a monthly newsletter
As long as the content is useful and concise, you should find it gets a decent opening rate, and perhaps even some volunteers for article submissions. A monthly (or bimonthly, if you can) roundup of the latest goings-on in the world of finance will give your employees a sense of where they stand in relation to rising interest rates, energy costs and income tax changes. Pick a few topics that affect everyone and get your sharpest writers to rehash the information in an easily-digestible way – with bonus points for adding some illustrations and infographics, too.
7. Seek regular feedback
Once you’ve sent a survey and implemented a couple of new strategies, it’s not quite time to sit back. Regular feedback is crucial when it comes to addressing the cost of living crisis in a way that actually helps your team.
Your communication needs to address the main issues facing employees. If you’re missing the mark, they’ll let you know. Pay attention to common themes that come up in feedback sessions and incorporate them into your offerings. With the right amount of listening and action, you’ll soon have the appreciation of your employees and maybe even some new 5-star Glassdoor reviews.
In partnership with Claro Wellbeing
A financial wellbeing benefit to support your team where it matters most