Five ways to support your employees in 2024
With employee retention a huge priority for businesses this year, a strong support package has never been more important. But what does this mean in practice?
Today’s workforce expects to be taken care of — financially, physically and mentally. At a time of rising costs, this needs to be even higher up on the agenda.
From speaking to HR professionals, we reckon a lot of businesses will be looking to shore up their support package this year.
Here are five things that should be at the heart of it.
The pay packet: how much and how often?
We’ll start with an obvious one. One of the best ways to support financial wellbeing is by paying your people fairly. It’s important to keep up to date with both the average salary ranges for different positions, and the impact inflation is having on your employees..
Now, a lot of businesses are stretched themselves, so salary increases won’t always be possible. If that’s the case, you could help people by changing how often they get paid. One option may be an Earned Wage Access scheme.
This is where, rather than getting paid once a month, employees can withdraw their wages throughout the month — provided they’ve worked the time or hours to earn it. So, for example, if an employee's already worked 10 days in the month, they could withdraw that proportion of their wages.
We held a webinar on economic support recently and were joined by Cloudpay, who are one of the leading providers of Earned Wage Access schemes. Feel free to check it out here!
This is another creative way to help people with rising costs. In fact, when we asked employees what financial support they wanted from their employer outside of a salary increase, discount schemes were the second most popular option (just behind personalised rewards and benefits).
These help people save money all year round — on their day-to-day spending, for larger, one-off purchases, and at expensive times of the year.
As a leading provider of these discounts, we’re always hearing from customers whose employees use our platform even more at specific times of years. Just to give you one example — people spent more than double on our Coles supermarket discount in December 2023 vs December 2022, as they looked for more help with their festive spending this time round.
Having this is a useful safety net that people know they can rely on to stretch their salaries. Ultimately, the cost of living crisis requires employers to help their people in multiple ways, as we show here.
Physical and mental wellbeing benefits
Everybody has their own individual wellbeing challenges. For example, some people might want to lose weight, while others may want to build up their strength or flexibility. Some may want help with anxiety or depression, while for others it could be sleep.
Give people the tools to help with these, as and when they need. From a physical perspective, look at things like free or discounted access to gyms and yoga sessions. When it comes to mental health, counselling sessions or Employee Assistance Programmes will help.
You should also offer digital options as much as possible. A few years ago, simply offering a gym membership and a Cycle to Work scheme was enough. But with hybrid and remote working becoming more common, you need to think differently. Stuff like online workout sessions, mindfulness apps and talking therapies — there are plenty of options out there.
Line manager training
Line managers are a major part of your support system. Ensure they’re well trained in the art of 1-2-1 meetings from a wellbeing perspective. This is especially important for those that have a lot of remote employees.
Regular check-ins should be part and parcel of their working week, but equally important is knowing what to ask. It's more than just discussing projects and objectives. Below are examples of questions that are good to ask:
- How do you feel your work/life balance is right now?
- Are there any challenges you’re facing at the moment?
- Last time we spoke you said X was a challenge — how is that going?
- What's one thing we could change about work for you that would help?
- Is there anything really motivating you at the moment?
- Is there anything demotivating you at the moment?
- Is there anything more I can do to support you?
The ability to work from home, vary hours and have a better work-life balance ticks all the boxes. It helps physical, mental and financial wellbeing.
It gives employees time back during the day to exercise, meditate, or make a healthy meal rather than grab a desk lunch. It lets them simply take a breather. It reduces the risk of burnout. It also puts money back in their pocket by reducing their commuting and/or childcare costs.
Obviously it needs to work for your business, and in some industries this might not be possible. But the more flexible you can be, the better it is for people’s wellbeing — and the more chance you have of retaining them.