AskHRD: How can I support my people through inflation?

80% of employees say inflation is impacting their career decisions

AskHRD: How can I support my people through inflation?

As Canadians grapple with the cost of living crisis and inflation, employers are working overtime to help their teams through the pinch. According data from FlexJobs, 80% employees say inflation is impacting their career decisions, with one third saying it’s a "huge factor." Furthermore, 46% claim inflation is either a factor when it comes to career decisions.

As such, HR leaders should expect to be inundated with pay rise and accommodation requests in the following months. HRD spoke with Dr Raeleen Manjak, chief human resources officer at the City of Vernon, who revealed some stellar tips on how employers can really make a difference to their teams this year.

Read more: McDonald's taps on Meta's Workplace to boost employee experience

“The provision of financial coaching and planning to assist employees navigate financial needs and questions is a must here,” she explained. “During the initial phase of the pandemic, we looked to our employees and offered the Ten (10) Hours of Giving Virtual Program (a digital platform) and one of the areas that we offered assistance with was financial planning. This was with a subject matter expert in the area who has offered outreach should the employees require assistance, discussion, coaching, and referral.”

At the City of Vernon, Dr Manjak offers employees coaching and mentoring sessions to help them feel valued and appreciated. In difficult times, employees often experience a drop in morale and productivity – so offering one-to-one sessions is a great way to lift your people up.

“Remember to continue to support employees with mental health and wellness initiatives, including reminders about what services and benefits are available,” added Manjak. “We provide access to a Coordinator, Employee Care that supports employees with a personalized and relevant experience. What’s more, through our Employee Recognition Program, we continue to offer a multitude of ways to reward employees, including gift card options.

“When a group of senior leaders in the organization are given tools and knowledge, they are better able to discuss and assist employees with stress and anxiety, including the issues around inflation anxiety.”

Read more: ‘People shouldn’t have to look to their employers to receive basic human rights’

Remember, it’s not all about compensation when it comes to fighting inflation anxiety. Instead, employers can look into how your culture impacts mental health. Really dig down deep to the core values you show every day. Do they encourage empathy? Do they allow for transparency? If not, you need to start again.

“While salary and benefits matter, a healthy work environment plays a an even more significant role in employee satisfaction,” added Andrew Caldwell, HR advisory manager at Peninsula. “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.”

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