How technology can help ease the cost of living crisis
The cost of living crisis has become more problematic, with inflation hitting all-time highs in some countries. In the UK, for example, The Bank of England raised its interest rate for the eighth time since December 2021 to reach 3%, while the rate of inflation hit 11.1%. This is putting a strain on households, with people feeling one of the hardest pinches they have felt in a long time.
What role does technology play in helping to relieve the cost of living crisis?
Employees in many countries are now turning to employers and asking them what they can do to help them during the cost-of-living crisis. Technology is proving its worth to business by helping employers provide benefits that have been cherry-picked to reduce their monthly outgoings.
For example, in our recent research we found that in Japan many global employers help employees buy public transport cards at a discount and some even offer this for free. In Brazil, the focus is on offering insurances, whereas in Germany the focus is more on car benefits, Christmas bonuses and meal vouchers.
Technology is making it possible for employers to streamline their HR processes, offering employees benefits they will use, rather than a benefits offering that is wide but not necessarily fully utilised. Cloud based Software as a Service (SaaS) platforms have made it easier for employees to access their benefits and information, to the point where it is self-service and available 24 hours-a-day.
This is another aspect of technology that plays an important role – improved communication. When new benefits are being offered or existing ones have been changed, it presents an opportunity to engage with employees via notifications or emails about the changes, as opposed to waiting for paperwork to arrive in the mail. This makes the process seamless, reducing strains on reward and benefits teams and giving employees direct access to information they will find helpful.
How can employers save money by using technology?
Employers that use SaaS platforms often find that administration is reduced, leaving them time to attend to more important issues. Also, it’s always important for an employer to remove benefits that just aren’t popular or are not being used by employees. Again, technology plays a vital role here because an employer analyses data collected through the platform to determine what benefits they should keep and which they should not.
Once underused benefits have been trimmed, an employer should be able to see a difference to their budget as well as being content in seeing their employees being supported during these difficult economic times.
What should an employer be considering in terms of benefits and/or technology?
Employees in different countries will have different opinions about what benefits they need to help them. A benefits offering in one country won’t necessarily work in another.
Globally, childcare allowances (popular in Japan), retirement savings plans (popular in Mexico), and gym memberships (popular in many countries including Sweden and Germany) are a way of letting employees know that they have support alongside mandated benefits.
Some of the most common benefits in the UK are pensions and ISAs, salary sacrifice schemes (such as holiday trade-ins for money) and flexible life assurance.
Technology is helping employers communicate these benefits and making it easier for employees to access them. More importantly, it’s helping employees save money, enabling them to tackle the cost of living crisis head on.
In partnership with Benify
Benify offers the market's leading global benefits and total reward platform.