In October, the UK government introduced a £2,500 per year cap on household energy bills.
In place until April 2023, the price freeze is part of a package measures designed to help British consumers with the rising cost of living.
But annual bills could be over twice what they were in October of last year – a forecast that prompted millions of UK citizens to start cutting back on energy usage, food, and other essentials during the summer.
The impact is being felt in enterprise communities, where one-in-four employees say their performance is being undermined by money worries.
It’s a problem that business owners are well-placed to tackle head-on. By taking action now, executives can lift workers’ financial burdens, improve welfare and boost productivity in these hugely challenging times.
So, what needs to be done?
Remove the stigma
FCA data reveals that 42% of borrowers are reluctant to face repayment issues because they feel ashamed of their situation. We can remove the stigma by normalising financial conversations.
HR should play a leading role here, helping to dispel misconceptions surrounding financial management and letting staff know that it’s okay to be unsure about how money works.
Engage your personnel through in-person forums in which experiences can be shared. Building knowledge and awareness will empower people to take steps in productive directions.
Shout about benefits
Conduct a full review of your company’s existing benefits. All too often, guidance and aid mechanisms can be forgotten beneath years of administration.
Once a financial support framework is up to date, ensure employees are regularly reminded of what’s available, what the benefits are and how to gain access.
Deals, discounts & expenses
Many firms will not have the resources to offer bonus payments, but there are alternatives that won’t break the bank.
Consider collaborating with the local private- and public-sector. Deals on gym memberships, transport, eating out, or tickets to events are great ways to make funds go further and get staff active.
You can ease cash flows by allowing expenses to be claimed on a weekly, rather than monthly basis. Giving the choice between working from home or the office will allow individuals to tailor their own costs when it comes to heating, energy and commuting.
As the Financial Times reports, almost half of UK adults “need urgent help managing their day-to-day finances, and 44% of adults say they would be better off had they “been taught basic money management skills such as budgeting.”
Corporations must understand how financial wellbeing is linked to mental and physical health, and productivity in the workplace. From here, focus on educating workers on saving, debt management, and retirement planning, the CIPD advises.
Digital platforms, tools and content can combine with classes and seminars to develop a culture of financial literacy within your organisation.
Many companies bring in financial specialists who can offer impartial, expert advice for those who may be more comfortable speaking with a third party.
In this way, a money champion can help employees to stay on top of their accounts, while keeping managers attuned to internal concerns and needs.
Many external initiatives are also available, such as Talk Money Week hosted by the Money & Pension’s Service. Running from November 7th – 11th, this year’s event aims to demystify credit products and highlight credit support options.
Further pathways include:
- MoneyHelper – budget planning for those struggling to pay bills
- Citizens Advice – help with calculating benefits and grants available
- StepChange & National Debtline – help to fix serious debt problems
- Money & Pensions Service – free, confidential and independent money and debt advice from the UK government.
As bills continue to grow, we’re seeing more and more people on the cusp of working in poverty. It is in all our interests to turn the tide.
With the right strategy, we can lead our people to take action amid the cost of living crisis and strengthen our workforces for years to come.
At HR Spectrum, we know that through collaboration with individuals and companies who you know and trust, you can achieve smoother, more effective workflows and lasting success.
To find out more about the fantastic opportunities available through HR Spectrum, contact us today.