The cost-of-living crisis, fuelled by a range of economic headwinds, has seen businesses and their employees alike suffer from a severe loss of spending power, with the impact being felt throughout global HR departments.
In the United Kingdom, a record number of households are set to see their biggest decline in income in half a century, and this is set to cause a series of problems for businesses that are dependent on consumer spending power remaining high.
For businesses, the challenge of staying afloat can be a priority, but it’s equally important that you seek to support staff members in need during such a challenging time. Office for National Statistics data shows that seven in 10 adults are actively seeking to spend less on non-essential goods, while over 20% are borrowing more money or using credit on a greater scale than before.
While happy employees can be more productive and beneficial to companies, it’s also the duty of HR teams to provide a level of care to the workers they recruit, and to ensure that they’re protected against the adverse economic outlook. This means that the recruitment and hiring process of businesses must change to better cater to these evolving worker needs.
With this in mind, let’s take a deeper look at how businesses can better manage employee welfare throughout their recruitment process:
Keep Your Candidates’ Happiness in Mind
When it comes to Human Resources, it can feel like a juggling act to balance daily tasks alongside the concerns of both existing employees and new recruits, but it’s certainly worth taking the time to consider the happiness of candidates throughout the recruitment process.
When it comes to keeping the happiness of your candidates in mind, be sure to ask how they feel about your descriptions about their expected output and the company culture in general.
The challenge here is that candidates are still likely to prioritize being hired over their own contentment, but by remembering to ask ‘how does this sound to you?’ and ‘does this match your expectations?’ you can gain stronger insights into whether they’re happy with their prospective role.
Check-in During the Onboarding Process
The cost-of-living crisis is likely to impact employees in different ways. It’s vital that HR departments are capable of spotting the early signs of discontentment, discomfort, or any other negative emotions manifesting in team members and to take action quickly.
Here, it’s worth staging one-to-one meetings on a semi-regular but unobtrusive basis, or team calls between HR team members and employees to ensure that there are sufficient opportunities for workers to speak openly about how they’re feeling given the widespread economic challenges.
Implement a Financial Wellbeing Policy
It’s also worth implementing an employee welfare and financial wellbeing policy that can help you to better care for employees. The level of commitment to this cause is entirely up to the company, and even the simple act of guiding employees to independent money and debt guidance firms can be a major help.
Highlighting or reiterating the benefits that employees have access to during the recruitment and onboarding process can also be a great help, as this can be a great way to empower them to hit the ground running and feel more confident in their new role.
According to The Money Advice Service, 39% of adults in the UK don’t feel confident about managing their money, and 11.5 million have claimed that they have less than £100 in savings.
The simple act of informing employees where they can access free and confidential financial advice from independent bodies can help to free them of their concerns and negative distractions.
Cater to Hybrid Working
Although some businesses are apprehensive about enabling flexible working opportunities for employees, statistically speaking, embracing the WFH mentality can bring greater productivity for your company–after all, 51% of employees claimed to feel more productive working from home in a recent RingCentral survey.
Hybrid working can also empower employees to save money on their commute and the temptation of buying lunch at a store. There are even UK government tax relief schemes for workers who have no registered office to use, opening the door for your business to go fully remote and save on energy bills at the same time.
By highlighting these schemes, HR teams can help remote employees to discover new ways to save money. It can also be an appealing means of attracting new talent to the company that may seek a firm that’s more committed to their workers.
Keep Things Transparent
The financial uncertainty surrounding the lives of employees can be compounded by their perception of company performance. If they notice fewer sales taking place, they could experience anxiety regarding their own job security as news of big business layoffs continue to edge their way into news cycles.
While sharing cash flow forecasts, income, and expenditure can be arduous, HR teams can uphold a level of transparency by sharing company expectations and projections for the cost-of-living crisis. For this, there are online tools that can be a strong resource for accessing pre-designed slide layouts that you simply need to add the relevant information to.
While you may not be able to help take your employees out of the cost-of-living crisis, you can certainly help to allay their fears and to give them opportunities to improve their financial management to avoid falling victim to the tighter spending conditions.
Caring for your employees can be difficult amidst a global crisis, but in taking little measures to ensure their overall employee welfare and wellbeing is protected, you can make a great difference to their overall happiness both inside and outside the workplace.