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Five ways to support your staff during the cost of living crisis

We hear from smaller charity leaders everyday through our small charity helpdesk about their concerns retaining staff when they're unable to raise salaries in line with inflation. To respond to this, in October we hosted a webinar on supporting and retaining staff during the cost of living crisis with our Trusted Supplier Atkinson HR Consulting. In this article we share five ways you can support staff through the cost of living crisis when resources are limited.

1. Pay and reward people fairly and transparently

Ensure that your pay and benefits policies are fair and transparent.

  • Review your pay policy regularly and carry out periodic benchmarking exercises to understand where you stand in the market. Make sure to involve and consult staff on any changes.
  • Make staff aware of opportunities for progression and how to access these. When upward promotions are not possible, you can support people to progress horizontally by providing opportunities for training and skills development.
  • Consider providing benefits such as flexible working and uncapped time off and make sure that good performance is recognised and rewarded.

Read our guidance on setting salaries and managing and developing staff.

2. Help with big costs

Support your staff to manage big costs. If you have limited funds you can implement some low or no-cost measures.

  • Minimise out-of-pocket expenses by providing fast reimbursement of expenses, cash advances for work purchases, or by buying work related items and travel centrally.
  • Encourage and support staff to implement cost-reducing activities, like walking groups for leisure and exercise, swap-shops for clothes and household items, and provide coffee, tea and biscuits on-site.
  • If you can, offer staff benefits, such as subsidised travel and loans, a generous sick pay entitlement, and early access to pay.

Learn more about how to support staff with costs in this article by Atkinson HR Consulting.

3. Promote financial wellbeing and education

Financial worries can have a negative impact on employees’ wellbeing and affect wider staff performance and morale.

  • Make financial matters part of everyday conversations. This can be as simple as acknowledging that the cost of living crisis will have an impact on your employees.
  • Help your staff learn about managing their finances. You can share resources about financial education, identify financial wellbeing champions among your staff and encourage them to share tips.
  • Support staff with the effects of financial worry and stress by providing wellbeing and mental health support.

The charity Mind has tips for managing money and mental health. You can also read our guidance on supporting the mental health and wellbeing of your team.

4. Flexible working

Access to flexible working patterns is highly rated among employees and can help reduce expenses like travel, food, and childcare.

  • Consider allowing people to work from home, change their working hours or travel to site off-peak where possible.
  • For roles that cannot be done from home or that have set hours, you can consider measures including extended vacations and allowing employees to swap shifts.
  • Be clear about what forms of flexibility can be considered and how staff can access these. Developing a flexible working policy can give reassurance to staff and ensure consistency.

Learn more about flexible working and developing a flexible working policy.

5. Savings

Many people are having to dip into savings or have stopped saving to manage rising costs.

  • Focus on bridging the gap between the ‘why’ and the ‘how’. Most people understand the importance of saving but need support with developing practical ways to do it.
  • Share saving education resources as part of your internal communications or during staff meetings and encourage staff to share stories and tips among themselves.
  • Consider incentivising saving habits, for example by introducing prize draws or top-ups for the longest savers. Always make sure you get tax advice before you do this.

Citizens Advice Bureau has information on how to save money on gas and electricity.

More support and resources

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