With the cost of living continuing to rise, supporting the wellbeing of staff has been at the forefront of employers’ minds.
According to a LendingClub report, 64% of Americans are living paycheck to paycheck in 2022, so organizations are trying to support their employees financially wherever they can.
But if you are a small business or a start-up, having the financial means to help your staff may not be possible.
So, what are the other things you can be doing to improve employee wellbeing?
1. Apps to help manage personal finances
Earning money is one thing, but knowing how to manage it is another. There are many apps available for companies to promote to their staff which can help them track spending habits and expenses. Examples of these are Mint (cashflow tracker and planner) and EveryDollar (budgeting and savings).
2. Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs) and 401(k) loans
Companies can discuss with their investment broker about setting up FSAs for their employees. These are essentially saving accounts to put money aside that is solely for healthcare or dependent care costs. As long as the money in this account is used for eligible medical expenses, the staff member will not have to pay income tax on it.
Alternatively, businesses offering a 401(k)-retirement plan can find out what loans are available to them. This will allow your employees to take a loan out of their retirement money and then pay it back over five years with a low interest rate. What’s even better is that any interest paid goes back into the employees 401(k) fund.
3. Giving employees space
Sometimes, distance can be good. In times of high stress and financial unrest, it can be a good idea to offer working flexibility – hybrid and remote working mean people are more comfortable and spend less time (and money) coming into the office. Not applying extra pressure to attend networking events or other gatherings outside of work can also help relieve stress and allow for a focus on what their job actually is.
4. Subscribing to mindfulness and meditation apps
The Stress in America report from earlier this year found that 87% of respondents were stressed about the rise in prices of everyday items due to inflation. Employers placing a real focus on the mental health of their employees is very important during such an uncertain time, and so organizations can purchase subscriptions to mindfulness apps such as Calm or Headspace to help their staff ease rising stress levels.
5. Discounted/free gym memberships
Physical fitness has been widely known to have mental health benefits, as well as helping to relive stress. Exercise causes the release of endorphins in your brain, which trigger a positive feeling in the body.
6. Talk to your staff
As simple as it may sound, communication is key. Making a conscious effort to speak to your staff and listening to their needs can be extremely beneficial for their wellbeing. For start-ups, being malleable with job roles can help boost engagement while also helping you get off the ground. Where someone may feel they are burning out in one area and someone else is hungry for development in another, this can be used to your advantage by swapping the two. Finding creative ways to improve development and learning is vital during such a testing time.
The cost of living is a sensitive time for all of us. It is difficult to avoid feeling its effects, and so if your small business needs guidance on how to support the wellbeing of your employees, get in contact with me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Copyright OrgShakers: The global HR consultancy for workplace transformation founded by David Fairhurst in 2020