Inflation crisis: How can HR support struggling staff?

Employees are suffering both financially and mentally – how can you step up to the plate?

Inflation crisis: How can HR support struggling staff?

As Canada’s inflation rate reaches its highest point in almost half a decade, employees are struggling with the rising cost of living. For employers, it’s time to pay more attention to the stress your people are going through – and take a closer look at how you can help them through their financial and psychological worries.

So, how can employers help their employees while reducing the risk of losing them in today’s competitive labour market?

“One of the main reasons employees leave their jobs is due to a higher paying offer,” Andrew Caldwell, HR advisory manager at Peninsula told HRD. “Providing employees with a good compensation package makes them feel more valued and appreciated. It also works to keep staff motivated and not seek out alternative offers. Employers can also consider increasing salaries, offering bonuses, or implementing an EAP program.”

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Caldwell explained that it really can’t be overstated how important it is for employers to focus on compensation. Afterall, it’s the main driver in retaining top-performing employees and attracting new talent to their team. However, sometimes it’s just not feasible to hike up wages – after all, some companies are also feeling the pinch.

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“If a company is not able to offer raises or bonuses, there are other benefits that can be offered,” added Caldwell. “In my experience, one of the most appreciated and easily accomplished is extra paid time off. Bonus PTO can come in many different forms, such as birthday PTO, half days on Friday, or summer hours so employees can enjoy the nice weather. Bonus PTO has been proven to have a positive impact on staff retention and their overall work satisfaction.”

Looking beyond benefits and compensation, fostering a healthy culture is one of the most important ways to both help your people and stem turnover. As mental health continues to decline, HR leaders need to step up and do more to support struggling staff – especially those that’re suffering in silence.

“While salary and benefits matter, a healthy work environment plays a an even more significant role in employee satisfaction,” added Caldwell. “Employers should stress the importance of a work-life balance, recognize good work, and provide opportunities for growth to their workers. Ensuring staff are not burnt out or unmotivated helps to not only create a healthy environment but also shows their employer cares about their overall well-being.

“Retaining a high performing workforce starts with them being happy to work for you. This includes creating an environment they want to spend time in. This could mean different things to different businesses, but it includes everything from upskilling to rewarding and being invested in a worker’s success.”

And, if all else fails – go remote. Studies have shown that employees are more likely to leave their jobs if their employers insist on s fully in-office return. And while some CEOs and leaders just aren’t sold on the remote working model – it seems like their staff are.

“After three years of the pandemic, many workers have become accustomed to remote or hybrid work,” added Caldwell. “Offering these options can help combat the rising cost of living by reducing transportation and food costs, allowing employees to feel as if they have more control of their finances. Commuting is becoming costly and as gas prices continue to increase, workers are left with no cost-efficient ways of getting to work. By offering employees a hybrid or remote work option, they can save money and time while staying productive.”

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