With the UK buckling under the pressure of the cost-of-living crisis, understand how you can ensure your organisation’s success
The Chancellor has now made his Autumn Statement, and as we already knew the UK has a difficult winter ahead, with the Chancellor acknowledging the UK is now in recession. Among the announcements, the Chancellor confirmed energy prices will rise. Inflation is predicted to be 9.1% this year and 7.4% next year, with unemployment rates also predicted to rise and wages not increasing at the same pace as inflation, households will continue to struggle. So, during this difficult time what can employers do to support their employees?
The obvious answer seems to be to give higher pay awards but employers themselves are having a tough time as their costs continue to escalate. Many are still feeling the effects of Brexit and a global pandemic as well as the UK now being confirmed as being in a recession. In the housing sector, we have the added pressure of the rent cap, which the Chancellor confirmed today, is set at 7% in England, the Welsh Government have confirmed Wales will be set at 6.5% and the Scottish Government previously announced a 0% rent cap.
Now more than ever, it is critical for organisations to have a workforce that is engaged and feels supported. So, what should organisations be considering?
Involve and Inform
If there was a time to ensure good employee relations -it is now. Employees must stay informed and involved whilst understanding how their organisation positions itself to meet the current challenges. Organisations need to understand the impact on customers and employees by establishing what is required to prevail as strong and successful organisations.
Be open and honest (particularly about pay)
We all know the importance of employee engagement – well, everyone spends a lot of time measuring it! But the true testament to this is the degree of trust between employees and the organisation, and we know the key to building that trust is openness, honesty, and transparency. More than ever, organisations are seeing the importance of being open about how pay and reward work in an organisation.
It would be great if pay could work the same for everyone. Whilst some organisations can achieve this, others are unable for reasons such as historical terms and contracts, affordability, and differing demand for skills. However, we are often prepared to accept something when we understand why? Where organisations have differences, they need to be open to understanding the reasons why there are differences.
Ensure you are getting value for money
Many organisations used the pandemic to review the company benefits they offer to employees. But this must not be seen as a one-off, as continuous reviewal of the benefits package will best support employee satisfaction. These are the questions your organisation needs to be asking itself.
- Is the money you are spending giving employees what they really want?
- Are you maximising the use of salary sacrifice?
- Is your organisation maximising the use of employee discount schemes?
- Are financial well-being and financial education integral to your benefits package?
Encourage flexible working
Look at ways flexible working can help employees save money. It might be through remote working to save fuel, and transport costs, working in the office to save home energy costs or flexible hours to reduce childcare/carer costs. Whatever it is, even the smallest change can help.
Inform and Involve
But let’s go back to the start, what is crucial to all of this is maintaining open discussion and recognising the challenges everyone is facing. Encourage views, ideas and feedback from employees. Since there are not endless pots of money, understanding and demonstrating that desire to help and support each other goes a long.
To discuss any aspect of this article further or for more information on employee relations and how we can support your organisation, contact Julie Leo at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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