Employees are realistic about ability of pay to match inflation but expect wider package of support for winter months
Employers need to comprehensively rethink the way they can support employees with financial education, benefits which help save money and remote working so that they can navigate the cost-of-living crisis over the coming months and into 2023, according to research commissioned by employee engagement solutions provider Edenred.
The study, which looked at the impact of the cost-of-living on 2,000 employees, found while only one in five UK workers expected their employer to match pay increased with inflation, they expected comprehensive support in other areas going forwards with financial education topping and the flexibility to work remotely topping the list of wants.
The cost-of-living crisis was ranked as the top concern for one in four employees (39%) ahead of health (16%), job security(10%), work-life balance (9%) and career prospects (8%).
A third of employees (34%) said they don’t feel informed enough to cope with the challenge of the cost-of-living at a time when only 15% say their budget can accommodate continued prices increases.
As employees plan to cut spending on special occasions such as birthdays (46%), Christmas (42%) and heating (19%) they are also planning to borrow or have already borrowed money to cover general living costs such as food (22%) and to pay for bills (19%).
Despite these challenges only 25% of employees feel confident discussing their pay with their employer. Instead they are choosing to work more hours (21%), take a second job (20%) or move jobs for more pay (17%).
Cost-of-living concerns are having an impact on wellbeing and productivity at work with a quarter of employees (23%) saying they are distracted about money worries and that their work has been impacted. Workers also describe a more pressured environment(19%), a divide between managers and other workers (23%) and that they have stopped giving to collections for birthdays and leaving gifts.
Commenting on these findings, Edenred spokesperson, Andy Philpott said:
“These are a call to action for every employer to think about what they can do to support employees in the coming months and into 2023.
If the cost-of-living is already having a negative impact on the mental health and wellbeing of people today, this is only likely to get worse as household budgets come under further pressure in the winter months.
Businesses may not be able to keep up with inflation, but employers can take practical actions to get more money into employees pockets and make their pay go further each month.
HR and benefits teams should start by reviewing the organisations employee benefits offer through a financial wellbeing lens. And consider low or no-cost options to help wages go further each month such as employee savings schemes and pre-paid cards redeemable at supermarkets and food outlets to help with everyday essential costs.
Most critical of all is to ensure that employees aren’t left alone feeling unsupported at this difficult time. It is a time to show empathy and understanding.”
Download the full report – HR and the cost-of-living crisis: The actions every employer must take today at: https://www.edenred.co.uk/en/resources/a-guide-for-leaders-supporting-their-team-with-cost-of-living/