Creative ways to help employees with the cost of living
Recently, we held a panel discussion on supporting your people during economic uncertainty. One of the biggest topics was how businesses could be creative about helping their people, considering they are under cost pressures of their own.
Mona Akiki (Chief People Officer at Perkbox) and Ryan Glancy (Senior Director at Cloudpay) both gave their take on the issue. Here are some of the key points they made — and to get deeper insight, you can check out the full recording HERE!
#1: Analyse your benefits offerings
As a leading benefits and rewards provider, you’d probably expect us to mention this. But there’s no doubt that offering certain employee benefits can have a big impact on people’s financial wellbeing — without stretching company budgets.
Take discount platforms for example. These help people save money all year round — on their day-to-day spending as well as larger, one-off purchases. Having this in place is an important safety net that people know they can always rely on to ease the strain.
Fun fact: supermarket redemptions on our platform went up by 27% from 2022 to 2023!
#2: Change how employees get paid
Pay is obviously the most important way you can help employees, but increases might not be feasible for every business right now. However, one option may be to look at solutions such as Earned Wage Access schemes. This is where, rather than getting paid once a month, employees can withdraw their wages throughout that period — 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 live in a digital society where people can access things very quickly…but in a strange way, you have to wait an entire month to get money that you’ve earned. If somebody needs to make a payment, they typically have to put it on a credit card, where there’s high APRs involved. And we don’t advocate people getting themselves into more debt or using payday loans. But this is money that people have earned and have the right to. It also has a positive impact on employee turnover — our studies have shown that it reduces turnover by 35%.”
Earned Wage Access is something that’s already pretty popular in some parts of the world, such as the US, and could become more common in the coming years. For businesses that can’t afford huge pay rises, the frequency of payments might be something creative to look at.
#3: Make rewarding relatable
This is especially important at this time of year. Traditionally, the last quarter is a time where companies like to show that extra bit of appreciation and reward their people. As Mona points out, during tough economic times, it’s good to look at what you’re doing with your existing budget and make it more valuable to your workforce.
“I think part of creativity is to find the budget you’re already spending and making sure that they’re supporting employees in a productive and efficient way. So if you have a reward and recognition programme, why take the decision out of your employees’ hands and give them a voucher they may or may not want, or a hamper they may or may not use? At Perkbox, we’re a huge believer that rewarding our employees needs to happen in a way that’s relatable to them — so we give them points that they can spend on a reward that they want.”
By giving employees choice, you can guarantee they’ll find the reward meaningful to their individual lifestyle. Plus, that feeling of empowerment is great for morale, and therefore great for employee retention.
This also leads to a wider point about the cost of living crisis. While businesses want to help their people financially, it’s also important to empower them. In other words, let them take control of their personal situation.
Check out the full panel discussion on supporting your people through economic uncertainty.