How to support your staff from suffering with financial stress

In the past week we have seen inflation continue to rise to a forty year high of 9% meaning people are paying more for essentials such as food, clothing and transport. Financial concerns can cause considerable stress on our mental health and, according to a CIPD report, one in four employees state that money worries are affecting their ability to do their job and these concerns are not restricted to only those on low incomes. 

To help you support your people, our HR Consultancy team look at eight strategies you can implement.

  1. Introduce an employee assistance programme

Implementing an employee assistance programme can provide your staff with a free confidential counselling service where they can openly discuss any issues that may be affecting their lives, including monetary strain.

  1. Offer money management advice

Another way to offer assistance is to train your line managers to be able to provide their direct reports, including new starters, with information about any reward packages that they can benefit from as part of their employment.

In addition, your leaders could also be trained to watch out for signs of stress from anyone in their team and signpost them to guidance sources, especially during significant life events which may be causing them to worry about cash flow. You may also want to consider investing in an external provider to deliver a holistic financial education workshop to your staff.

  1. Offer Flexibility

Some employees may benefit from working from home to save on travel costs while others may prefer to work at the office to save money on heating and utilities.  Flexible working patterns could help to avoid expensive before and after school childcare.  Employee finances will be impacted differently and so requests for flexibility should be considered on a case-by-case basis and could be temporary to cover the

  1. Provide a corporate credit card

For members of staff who are often on the road or out on jobs and need to claim back expenses, you could look at providing them with a corporate credit card. By being able to pay for all work-related expenses on a company card, it means they won’t have to worry about being out of pocket by paying out initially themselves and then claiming it back at a later date.

  1. Review the employee benefits scheme

Employers can help reduce certain employee costs by reviewing their current benefit scheme, for example, you may want to think about negotiating life insurance for your people, which would allow them to pay for a lower-cost policy. This not only saves them money each month but it also offers financial security for loved ones in the event of death.

  1. Launch an employee discount scheme

There is a range of loyalty and reward schemes out there that you can register with to provide your people with financial perks. These can include free or discounted access to clubs, for example, a membership where people can save money by buying household items in bulk from reputable warehouses, such as Costco.

  1. Present a loans or savings scheme

You might also want to consider partnering with companies who could provide your staff with loans by taking repayments directly from their wages. The benefit of these types of loans is that they are often interest-free or offer a lower interest rate than other lenders.

Another avenue to think about introducing is a workplace savings scheme. One option is a Save As You Earn (SAYE) programme where your staff can save up to £500 per month, typically for three or five years, and receive a tax-free bonus at the end.

Other schemes include workplace ISAs, where your employees’ payments are deducted through your payroll. Typically, investment charges on workplace ISAs are lower because as an employer you can qualify for bulk discounts, meaning your staff could save more than if they were to set up an account with a high street bank.

  1. Find a champion

Your employees may feel more comfortable speaking with their peers over management about money concerns, so why not consider finding a champion or champions within your brokerage? They can help to deliver your financial wellbeing messages, information and guidance sources to their colleagues in a friendly and approachable manner.

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