Employer briefing: Financial wellbeing during the cost of living crisis

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two people looking at bills

As a society, our views on employer responsibilities are evolving. The Covid-19 pandemic has spurred employers to adopt a more proactive approach to staff wellbeing. While there will continue to be variation in expectations between employment relations that are transactional and those that are deeper, the cost of living crisis provides an opportunity for employers to accelerate their focus on financial wellbeing at work.

Recently published Work Foundation research on this topic found that nearly seven in ten senior decision makers (66%) feel they have a substantial role to play in supporting their staff through the cost of living crisis. We found that where employers have introduced financial wellbeing support for their workers over recent months, this has often been responsive with many introducing one-off bonuses, based on the notion that the high inflation seen in 2022 was a short, sharp shock.

For those responsible for HR and people policies, there are many trade-offs in supporting the financial wellbeing of their employees and understanding the complex and challenging external circumstances their organisations face as operating costs rise.

This employer briefing builds on research findings set out in recently published research by the Work Foundation at Lancaster University – Shifting Sands: Employer responsibility during the cost of living crisis. The briefing distils evidence and learning to present six practical steps that employers can consider to support their employees’ financial wellbeing now and in the future, and are supported by employer case studies. The six steps are:

  1. Learn about how workers are managing now
  2. Increase pay and unlock other short-term support
  3. Make the business case for action to your organisation
  4. Agree on clear strategic goals together with short- and long-term action plans to meet them
  5. Cultivate and lead an inclusive culture and encourage open conversations around financial wellbeing
  6. Consult on an ongoing basis with workers to jointly develop support that meets their needs.

Access the employer guide

We will be holding an online roundtable event with employers to discuss the role of organisations in supporting the financial wellbeing of workers as living costs rise, based on recently published research on this topic. If you’re interested, please fill this survey to receive further information.

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