With the cost of living continuing to rise, what can employers do to ease the squeeze?
According to a recent survey by Aviva, 57% of employees feel they’re “just about getting by” financially at the moment. It’s a depressing statistic – and one that’s unlikely to improve anytime soon, with inflation continuing to soar. The National Insurance increase will also start hitting pay packets this month (which, as we’ve previously written, may also have an impact on the way you communicate your share plans to employees).
But let’s try and find a glimmer of hope in all this. Because there are things that employers can do to ease the squeeze being felt by employees right now. Small things that can add up to a noticeable difference at the end of the working month, year – or even lifetime.
Here are five ways you can help your employees save money right now.
1. Dig out the discounts
Employee discount schemes help you pass on substantial savings on everyday essentials – and can add up to big savings for the average family over the course of a year. With lots of providers to choose from, schemes are easy to set up and the discounts can often be tailored. In the past, you may have geared discounts towards treats and perks, but in the current climate, why not offer savings on essentials such as food and household products, or big-ticket items like car or home insurance?
2. Offer salary sacrifices
With salary sacrifice schemes, employees give up part of their salary in return for non-cash benefits. This passes on instant rewards in the form of lower tax and NICs to pay. The latter is particularly timely right now, given that NICs have just increased – and you, as the employer, also make a NICs saving. You can opt to pay the difference into your employee’s pension pot – offering another welcome cash boost.
3. Cut the commute
Lots of us are talking about the post-pandemic return to office life, and what that means for employee wellbeing and productivity. There seems to have been less chatter about what it could mean from a financial viewpoint. If remote-working has protected employees from Covid, could the same now help them through this stressful financial period? If you’re able to offer remote (or hybrid) working opportunities so that people can cut commuting costs then do so, and let employees know the option is there for that reason.
For those who do commute, commuting loans are also a great way to ease financial stress as they help spread the cost of a season ticket, minus interest.
4. ‘Sell’ annual leave
If this isn’t already an option within your organisation, could it be? In difficult times such as these, giving colleagues the option to cash-in any unused holiday entitlement could be just the income top-up they need right now.
5. Embark on education
This might not be an instant ‘money-saver’ in itself, but financial education can end up being more beneficial than a salary increase – because it teaches lifelong money-management habits. Right now, employees may welcome mentoring on timely topics, such as budgeting or debt management. And by helping colleagues become more financially resilient now, you pave the way for opportunity – because financially confident employees are more likely to want to engage with investment opportunities in the future, such as share plans.
Are you supporting your colleagues through these tough times, but could do with some help articulating that support? Why not talk to us about putting together a carefully crafted internal communications campaign?