Employee benefits to help with the cost of living
There’s three certainties in life. Death. Taxes. And reading an article which mentions the rising cost of living.
There’s a reason for that though. People and businesses everywhere are looking for ways to ease the financial strain. And for HR professionals, finding ways to ease the strain on their workforce is a top priority.
There’s lots of ways to support your people through these tough times — we’ve written a whole guide on it here — and one of these is through employee benefits.
Now, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach to employee benefits. At the same time, some benefits are especially useful when your people are under pressure financially.
To find out what these are, read on!
They say health is wealth, and nowadays this is one of the first benefits employees look for. Being able to offer some type of cover is crucial. This helps them deal with the costs of treatments and check-ups, as well as including things like dental and vision coverage. Some companies also offer plans that cover family members.
This is closely linked to the above. Wellbeing and healthy lifestyle benefits have become super important and in-demand. Many employers are recognising that wellbeing challenges are personal to each employee, and the best thing they can do is offer a range of tools that they can choose as and when they need it. Think of it like a healthy version of Pick ‘n’ Mix! Examples include:
- Mental health resources
- Access to workout videos and yoga classes
- Counselling sessions
- Free or discounted gym membership
- Mindfulness apps
Everybody’s looking for ways to make their money go further, and it’s no surprise that employee discount schemes are so popular. After all, financial wellbeing and navigating the cost of living crisis is very much a global issue.
Employee discount schemes allow people to save money on everything from regular supermarket trips, to large and occasional purchases such as holidays. Generally the savings are available in a variety of ways — from vouchers, to instant e-gift cards, to online codes.
We know for a fact that this is a benefit lots of employees are after. In fact, supermarket redemptions on our platform went up by 27% from 2022 to 2023!
While people want to ease the strain in the here and now, another element of financial wellbeing is being able to put money aside for the future. If you have a global business, you’ll hear it being called different things — for example a pension, a retirement plan, a superannuation or a 401(k) plan — but the concept is generally the same.
It’s where employers and the employee put money aside each month — money which will eventually be used by the employee in retirement. In some countries, the employee’s contribution is given tax relief, which means they’re also saving a bit of extra money in the here and now.
Flexible working arrangements
We’ll be honest — we were a little bit on the fence about including this. After all, is flexible working really a benefit, or should it be part and parcel of what you offer?
In the end, we included it as a lot of companies are still taking their first steps into offering flexibility. And of course, flexibility means something different to each business.
However there’s no doubt that offering things like working from home and the ability to vary hours can have a huge impact on people’s financial wellbeing. It reduces things like commuting and/or childcare costs, which are two of the biggest hits to their wallets.
Salary sacrifice schemes
We touched on this in the ‘long-term savings’ section but it’s worth mentioning as a standalone. Many countries allow you to offer certain benefits which are paid for from the employee’s gross salary. This allows them to get something valuable while also saving on tax. Examples are bicycles (known in some countries as the Cycle2Work scheme), or low-emission cars.
Salary sacrifice means that both employer and employee can save money, while ensuring the employee gets something valuable.
The key takeaway
As an employer, your duty of care goes beyond the 9-5, and this is even more important at times like this. You won’t be able to fix everything for your people, but offering the right benefits — and combining them with a supportive culture — can make a huge difference.