How to Support and Retain Your Team Through the Cost-of-Living Crisis

by Isioma Daniel, 3 minutes read
HOME blog how to support and retain your team through the cost of living crisis

According to Financial Capability, 1 in 4 workers in the UK have lost sleep over money worries, 59% of employees say current financial concerns prevent them from performing their best and 18 million working hours are lost to financial stress in the UK every year.

Employers have been paying increasing attention to these issues. As a result, 93% of companies in the UK now intend to implement a financial well-being program, representing a substantial rise from the 51% recorded a year ago. 

Deputy recently hosted a webinar with payroll service provider PayCaptain and Honest Burgers — one of the UK’s most successful independent burger chains — for managers concerned about supporting their employees through the cost-of-living crisis, even when a pay increase might not be an option.

Anna Buckle, Head of Employee Experience at PayCaptain, and Maureen Sandbach, People Director at Honest Burgers, provided first-hand experience on:

  • How and when to step in to support employees who struggle financially

  • What are “must-have” employee benefits for businesses to retain their team

  • The importance of payroll in enhancing the employee experience 

How and when to step in to support employees who struggle financially

Anna Buckle is keen to remind employers that the cost-of-living crisis started at the beginning of the pandemic when people on low and middle incomes were significantly hit financially. 

“People managed on quite a short-term basis and were then slammed with the cost-of-living crisis. No one’s had time to catch their breath and regain their financial positions. Energy bills have gone up, and inflation is at 10.5 per cent at the moment,” she says. 

Employers have an opportunity to help out by providing relevant resources and increasing their staff’s financial capability.

Honest Burgers has a high population of working students, and Maureen shares that one of the signals that an employee might need additional support is a request for emergency cash ahead of the pay run. 

“Sometimes people need to access cash quite quickly because they don’t have the same level of savings as before, and they need access to income every week.”

What are “must-have” employee benefits to support and retain your team?

  1. “I think financial education is very important. Hospitality employers need to signpost their staff to resources they need to increase their financial awareness. We’re not financial advisors, but our moral responsibility is not to let vulnerable staff spiral any further and to provide them with any information they need,” says Maureen.

  2. Creating a culture where it’s ok to talk about money and the financial crisis is vital. “It’s important to speak to your teams about what would make a difference to them to build an accurate picture of what your employees need,” says Anna. 

    Employers can train managers to have these conversations with their employees in an open and non-judgmental way. “Signpost them to resources like Step Change, Citizens Advice Bureau, the Money and Pensions Service and other free and credible sources of information.” 

  3. “Define a financial safeguarding policy within your business. It should cover how to identify someone who is financially vulnerable, steps to take care of them, when to intervene and when to stand back,” says Anna. 

  4. “Consider introducing an automated payroll savings system to help vulnerable team members build financial resilience. They can start small but stay consistent and start to build a buffer,” says Anna. 

  5. Camaraderie is essential as well, says Maureen. “We find in Honest Burgers that team spirit and a good work atmosphere are sometimes more important than the pay rate.”

  6. Talk about mental health. “Financial worries impact mental health, and we need to train managers to spot the signs and have these conversations,” says Maureen. 

The importance of payroll in enhancing the employee experience 

"Payroll is so antiquated in so many organisations. Many companies think it’s about getting some cash, dumping it in people’s accounts on payday, sending them a payslip that makes no sense, and expecting them to come to work and feel fulfilled. It has a massive potential to act as an extension for employee engagement,” says Anna. 

Maureen says the partnership between Honest Burgers, Deputy and PayCaptain has significantly impacted the employee experience.

“Our staff can see their hours worked, then see how much they will get paid. People work for money, and getting payroll right is the number one thing we must do for our people.”

“Staff getting their payslips the day before they’re paid, being able to flag errors and still get paid the correct amount on payday because PayCaptain processes it faster — all of this makes a difference and has been a game changer. Pay is important to us; it’s a human thing rather than simply being about the cash.”