Our coaches share alternative ways employers can help their teams to build better long-term money habits.
With costs of living continuing to rise, employers may be considering direct cash payments or salary increases to support their people. PwC and Barclays are two recent examples of companies who’ve taken this decision.
But paying more to compensate for increasing costs of living isn’t the only way employers can support their employees at the moment. It’s also not a viable solution for those who are already operating under tighter budget constraints.
In fact, it might not even be the best way to support people. Long-term financial resilience is about building new habits and changing spending and saving mindsets. A short term injection of cash may help pay bills now, but is less likely to change behaviour for the future.
Here’s five alternative ways employers can support their people.
Office life and working patterns
For some, working one less day in the office and reducing petrol, train ticket or parking costs could make a big difference to their budgets.
And for those that do need to keep coming into the office, consider whether an investment in upgrading kitchen equipment or coffee facilities could help many make more cost effective choices around food purchases.
Where that’s not possible, engaging with local businesses to create discount arrangements could help both your team’s money go further, and support the local economy through inflation!
Resurfacing the support that’s available
We know that most employers rank the engagement they get with financial benefits as low – our latest research showed 91% think it’s average or poor.
So now would be a great time to make sure existing financial perks (like a discounts platform) or opportunities for salary sacrifice benefits (like cycle to work schemes) are being resurfaced to help employees make the most of the support available.
Facilitate money conversations
Breaking down the taboo of talking about money is one of the most impactful ways you can support your people. Our research has found that 9 out of 10 people want someone to talk to about money, and talking about it is the number one thing that helps people feel more confident in their finances.
You don’t need to have a detailed financial education programme to be able to support your employees. At the moment, consistency and normalising financial worries are the most important elements.
“Money is an emotional issue that’s already hard for people to talk about. So it’s better to focus on providing support that is simple and accessible instead of trying to have all the answers/solve every challenge” says Matt Downs, employer partnerships.
Tailor your support to different demographics
There’s no one-size-fits-all when it comes to money worries. So the more employers can do to support different groups within their workforce, the better.
Increasing costs will be impacting people very differently. For example, consider those earlier in their careers. Some may have started work during Covid and built spending or saving habits in a time of lockdown that feel hard to adjust. Or they may be living at home, which on one hand may mean they’re inoculated from some rising costs, but the prospect of moving out may be on hold.
Equally, be aware that the higher earners in your workforce will also be feeling the pinch. They may have more fixed outgoings and less ability to quickly adjust spending, and face bigger lifestyle adjustments as a result.
Invest in 1-to-1 financial guidance
Employers recently told us that financial coaching and financial education are the number 1 and 2 financial benefits they want to offer employees.
For employers who are able to invest directly in individual support, funding 1:1 financial coaching for all their employees is a great way to provide support here-and-now, as well helping teams build longer term financial resilience.
For example, Phoenix group has been providing financial coaching for their employees as a salary sacrifice benefit since 2021. But as part of their response to supporting employees through the cost of living crisis, they will now be fully funding financial coaching for all of their 7500+ employees.