David Jessop 120x120

David Jessop

Director of people and purpose

Charities Aid Foundation

Six ways to support staff during the cost-of-living crisis

UK households are in the midst of a critical cost-of living challenge. Inflation rates are at their highest in decades, and individuals, charities and businesses are all feeling the impact of soaring energy, food, housing, and transport costs. 

According to the latest recent reward management survey carried out by the UK’s Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD), one in four employees say money worries affect their ability to do their job. Even before the soaring cost of living started to make headlines, one in eight workers in the UK already lived in poverty. Now many more are likely to be struggling to maintain a decent standard of living and those on the lowest incomes are the hardest hit, with many falling behind on bills, going without essentials or taking on high-interest debt. 

Today more than ever employers have an important role to play in demonstrating their commitment to supporting financial wellbeing and making a much-valued difference to their workforces. 

So what can your charity do to help support your employees through the cost-of-living crisis?


1 Offer one-off bonuses

As many charities are seeing incomes squeezed and costs increasing, few can afford to offer their employees the wage rises that are needed without it impacting the services they provide. However, a lower cost alternative may be to offer employees a one-off ‘cost-of-living crisis’ support payment. 

This could help some colleagues who may be facing more immediate financial difficulties and while it may only provide a short-term fix, it could provide welcome relief, boost employee morale and mental wellbeing.


2 Make the most of employee benefits

It’s important to make sure your workforce is fully aware of any cost saving benefits that you offer and know how to access them. 

Salary sacrifice offers a variety of options for employees. These can include childcare vouchers, additional pension contributions, employee discounts and the Government-backed Cycle to Work scheme, which can help employees reduce their transport costs. 

Season ticket loans are also another way to help ease the burden of the cost of commuting. 


3 Signpost to help and advice

Let your workforce know that they can get free, confidential and independent money and debt advice from the Government’s Money Helper website. This offers support with everything from helping to pay bills, talking to creditors and taking steps to prioritise payments to help resolve money issues more easily. 

An Employee Assistance Programme can also provide confidential information, advice, guidance and counselling services to help your employees discuss issues that may be affecting their lives, and many are available 24/7. This service may already be available through a health insurance provider, if you have one.


4 Connect with local experts

Consider inviting experts such as your pension provider or local bank’s mortgage specialist to discuss money matters with your employees. You can also check out local businesses, such as gyms and restaurants, to see whether they are able to offer employee discount schemes.
While not everyone may have trained mental health first aiders on hand to offer support and guidance on money related issues, you could potentially identify someone in your HR team to help employees navigate their way around the various free support and advice available.


5 Use internal channels to share tips

Encourage employees to share their own money saving tips and hacks by using internal channels, such as the intranet or Yammer, where employees can post their own ideas. Or you may want to put together simple posters to signpost the workforce to free money advice services and confidential helplines. 

6 Introduce a wellbeing strategy

Based on extensive feedback from our colleagues, in May 2022 we created a framework to shape our future ways of working here at CAF. One of the key pillars focuses on employee wellbeing, which encompasses the three themes of physical, mental and financial health. By running regular campaigns to highlight each of these areas, this approach ensures that these important topics stay front of mind. 

It also clearly demonstrates to employees that their health and wellbeing matters, is important and that as employers we can make a positive difference to people’s lives, both inside and outside the workplace.