A 30-year high in inflation is driving up the price of our everyday expenses.
Food, clothing, petrol – yep, it’s all going up. And with our energy bills seemingly doubling overnight and possible tax increases on the horizon, there’s no respite expected just yet. It’s clear that the cost-of-living crisis is making life harder for a lot of people. And whilst many of us are feeling the pinch, the real impact is hitting more than just our pockets.
Money and mental health are closely connected. And we all know it, when we’ve got money on the mind, we’re stressed, we’re distracted, we’re not at our best – at work or at home. Now is the time for employers to show up for their people, supporting them through the crisis. We know it’s hard to know where to start when the big decisions lie outside of our world, as employee experience and internal comms professionals. But there are some things you can consider…
Here’s how to get started
Are we confident we are paying our people fairly? Do they have the right benefits package to go alongside it? What is it our people actually want from us? If you don’t know the answer to these questions, you need to.
Understanding how your people think and feel is the first step. This research will inform the actions you take. Helping you to create the most impact, save time and money on empty gestures and build loyalty that’ll last long into the future.
What form your research takes is completely up to you. Using a mix of surveys, focus groups and interviews creates the opportunity for a range of people to participate and share their view. If you’re pressed for time, a well-designed survey can return actionable insights quickly.
But won’t people just ask for more money?
If your people have faced years of stationary pay, that could well be expected. Maybe it’s time for a pay and benefits temperature check. Are candidates rejecting offers for a more attractive package elsewhere? Is the number one reason for leaving a better salary? This data alone could form the base of your business case.
What we already know
Money isn’t simply black and white (or red for that matter). Its impact on our emotional, mental and physical health is more complicated.
A recent survey from WEALTH at work found that 14% of UK adults say that financial worries make them feel embarrassed, rising to 23% of 18–34-year-olds. The same survey also found that nearly half of adults (47%) say that money worries affect their life.
The Money Advice Service reported that 39% of UK adults don’t feel confident managing their money.
The Institute for Fiscal Studies found that 19% of people have cut back on activities that help their mental health, like the gym.
It’s not hard to see why organisations are looking to bridge the gap and provide better support.
Turning insight into action
Now you have your data, you’re equipped to make decisions that can have a lasting impact on the wellbeing of your people. But sometimes it’s hard to know where to start. To give you some inspiration, these are the types of pillar and activity we’ve seen creating impact.
Remove the stigma
It’s time to get talking about money. No one needs to suffer in silence.
An Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) is designed to help people manage personal or work-related challenges, offering confidential support across a range of formats, at no cost to them. If you have one, signpost the resources, support and professionals available to help. If you don’t have an EAP, consider if now is the time invest in your people.
Train leaders to spot the signs and act
Educate leaders to spot the signs of poor mental health in themselves, and others. To become active listeners, practice empathy, build trust and guide their teams towards the available support.
Helping people make better financial decisions is important at a time like this. How to maximise savings, prepare for the future or manage a weekly budget are skills we don’t learn in school (thanks Pythagoras!). Letting people know where they can access free, confidential, independent money advice could help them make smarter money choices, now and in the future.
Communicate the benefits
Communicating what’s available in your existing benefits package is a simple, quick win. And ensuring that its accessible to everyone (not buried in the corner of the intranet) is another. What can often be simple perks like eye care vouchers or life insurance can help to lighten the load on, what many consider, essential spends. Signing up with a discounts provider can also offer noticeable savings on expenses like restaurants, gym access, cinemas and thousands more.
Embrace flexible working
Hybrid working, compressed hours, flexitime. There are so many ways to offer flexible working that empower people to balance work and life, increasing productivity and reducing stress. It also creates opportunities to reduce costs like travel and childcare for example.
And most importantly, please remember to check in with how you feel.
At Home, we believe in making every employee experience (EX) a great one. We also believe that a great brew goes a long way so, if you want to talk about EX or PG Tips, we’ve got you!