The cost of living support employees want
There are some phrases which become so popular that they start to really get on your nerves.
‘Blue sky thinking’.
‘Low hanging fruit’.
Anything you hear on Love Island every summer.
The phrase ‘cost of living crisis’ is one that’s still annoyingly common. But there’s a very good reason it keeps popping up. Over the last year, inflation has remained stubbornly high and the impact it’s having is very real.
During this time, we’ve conducted multiple surveys of employees across the country, and it’s clear that things are still as tough as ever. At last count, 57% of UK workers said they’ve had money troubles over the last 12 months — and crucially, 73% say they want more help from their employer.
Now, this help needs to be as practical as possible. For example, food prices have gone up by over 10% since October 2022, and our study showed that more than a third (38%) of employees are spending over a quarter of their monthly income on food. With that in mind, businesses need to look at solutions which can ease the strain on people’s wallets.
As part of our recent report, we asked employees across the country what their employers were currently doing to support them — and what they really wanted. Read on to find out more!
The lay of the land
We mentioned the stat about 73% of employees wanting their employer to help them with the cost of living. In our most recent survey, over a third of people (34%) said they felt resentful that their employer has not done more to support them — and a similar number (29%) said they were looking to move to a company that would provide more financial support.
So what support can businesses provide? Pay is obviously the most important thing here, but salary increases might not be feasible for every employer right now. We thought it was worth asking what people wanted from their employer outside of this.
- 35% wanted personalised rewards and benefits
- 34% wanted discount schemes
- 32% wanted flexible rewards
- 26% wanted subsided travel costs
- 21% wanted pension planning services
Using benefits to ease the strain
From the responses above, it’s clear that benefits and rewards have a big part to play in lightening the load on people’s wallets. This is especially important at expensive times of the year, such as the festive period.
Worryingly, our survey showed that only 14% of employees think their company has the tools in place to help them enjoy Christmas — and almost half of the UK workforce (47%) will be using debt to fund their Christmas. With this in mind, it’s worth doing a deep dive of your benefits package and making sure it meets the needs of your employees.
One of the most popular options was an employee discount scheme. These help people save money on a wide range of things, from the weekly supermarket shop, to large and occasional purchases like holidays. Over the course of a year, this can put thousands back into their pocket.
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!
Another example on the list above is subsidising their travel costs to the workplace. With many companies operating a hybrid model and only needing employees in for a couple of days a week, this won’t necessarily set you back a huge amount — but could make all the difference for your staff.
The most popular response in our survey referred to personalisation. It’s important to remember the power of choice when putting together your support package. A one-size-fits-all approach won’t work — everyone has their own wants, needs and lifestyles. Throw in the fact that workforces are becoming more diverse and globalised, and your offering needs to be as broad as possible — empowering your employees.
By giving them maximum choice and the ability to pick what’s meaningful to them, you’ll make them feel valued as individuals, rather than just another number.
Not only does this relieve financial pressure on employees, but you’re showing you care about them outside of working hours. This then helps with retention — 31% of our respondents said they felt more loyal to their employer as they’ve made efforts to soften the impact of rising costs.
The key takeaway
A recent study by Censuswide which showed that a third of the UK workforce — equating to over 8 million people — said financial worries have negatively affected their productivity..
Clearly, supporting your staff with diverse and practical benefits isn’t just the right thing to do. It also makes good business sense.