Individuals and businesses are experiencing rising costs – from food costs, energy costs and costs for commodities and much more. Amidst the context of industrial action in many sectors, the negative effects of the financial stress on our wellbeing, job satisfaction and productivity accumulate.
The cost of living crisis is having a dramatic effect on the working population, with as many as two in five (41%) of those employed either full or part time indicating that it has had a negative impact on their morale and motivation at work. Furthermore, a third (34%) of employees suggest that the cost of living crisis has made it harder for them to stay focused and concentrate on their jobs.
The cost of living crisis has also taken a toll on workers' willingness to socialise, with two in five (43%) employees indicating that it has made them less able or willing to go to take part in work social events. Among those who indicate that they are definitely worried about the cost of living crisis, this proportion rises to 57% [M.E.L. Research 2023].
These are concerning figures and reflect how the cost of living crisis is having a tangible effect on the working population. It is essential that measures are taken to alleviate this issue, and to ensure that workers are better supported in their efforts to make ends meet.
WHAT BUSINESSES CAN DO
Clearly, the cost of living crisis is having a detrimental effect on employee morale and productivity. Many businesses have taken proactive measures to alleviate the financial stress and burden of their staff. This has included raising salaries, from a sense of morality and social responsibility, or introducing flexible benefits to help employees cope with the crisis.
The Office of National Statistics has released figures that show that employers have awarded salary increases to their teams, with the annual growth rate of 6.7% between October and December 2022 being the highest growth rate in two decades. This is a clear indication that businesses are taking a moral stance when it comes to the financial wellbeing of their employees. Not only is this a compassionate act, but it also serves to motivate and reward workers, helping to create a more productive and successful workforce.
However not all businesses can do this as the businesses themselves struggle for survival. How else can businesses and employers support staff and employees to ease financial stress, and support wellbeing and productivity? As an employer, could you show your employees that you care and appreciate them more?
THE SIMPLE MEASURES
Whether it's micro-level interactions or larger gestures, employers have room for improvement. The top tips for businesses from performance pros is to focus on employee engagement and prioritise employee wellbeing. From employee ownership trusts to providing more learning opportunities for professional and personal development, there are creative solutions to enhance engagement, wellbeing, motivation, and productivity.
Employee ownership trusts are an avenue for businesses to raise capital while allowing their employees to invest. Owning shares in the business as well as having a say in how the business is run, ultimately leads to engagement, a sense of contributing to a common goal and job satisfaction among employees. Cost of living crisis or not, employee engagement matters, as employees who feel connected to their work and company mission are more likely to be fulfilled and satisfied, and ultimately more likely to be productive.
In the context of financial uncertainty, employees are being asked to do more with less, leading to a feeling of being overwhelmed and not having enough time to complete tasks. This leads to stress, fatigue, and a lack of motivation, which can lead to burnout and ultimately staff turnover – a bad mix for employee wellbeing and the business.
Leaders have a moral responsibility for staff wellbeing. Managers and leaders can help staff feel valued, provide fair pay, ensure a positive work environment and offer CPD opportunities. They should also listen to their staff, provide feedback when needed and be open to new ideas. Furthermore, they should be transparent in their decision-making and communication. Companies should also seek feedback from their staff, and act upon it. Leaders should create an open and supportive culture that encourages communication, and give staff the freedom to make mistakes.
Managers can check-in on people’s workloads to make sure they’re fair and manageable. This is achieved by setting clear goals and realistic deadlines. Knowing what’s expected and how you’re tracking against those expectations plays a big part in managing ambiguity and stress.
Finally, they should recognize the efforts of their staff and reward them for their successes.
Underpinning most of these are positive healthy relationships, right from the very simplest of things like asking ‘how are you today?’ and being available for a truthful response. Having healthy relationships in the workplace can lead to improved communication, which can help to build trust, create a positive work environment, and foster collaboration.
Additionally, when employees feel supported, they are more likely to take risks, solve problems creatively, and be open to feedback. Positive relationships also reduce the likelihood of conflict, which can lead to better problem-solving and more efficient working. When employees have positive relationships with their colleagues and managers, they are less likely to feel stressed and isolated, more likely to feel motivated and engaged in their work, which can lead to increased feeling of wellbeing, productivity and better job satisfaction.
HOW WE COLLABORATE WITH YOU
For many companies, employee motivation is hard to come by right now. That’s especially true given the cost-of-living crisis, which has had a profound impact on employee wellbeing and engagement.
Showing your team and your clients how much you care has never been so important. That’s why, here at Peace Lily Gifts, we help businesses create and implement gifting programmes that are both prompt and personalised.
What better way to show employees you care than with a high-quality gift that’s been tailored specifically to them? Whichever of our gift hampers you choose, you can rest assured they’ll be artisan, sustainable, and produced right here in the UK.
At Peace Lily, we know that creating healthy relationships and a positive work culture takes time and cannot be forced. Healthy relationships need transparency and openness. They also need leaders and team members to recognise when people go above and beyond. There's nothing like a pat on the back every now and then.
For employers, Peace Lily Gifts, with its four gift categories - tea & coffee, gourmet foods, spa, pamper/care gifts, and sustainably made from natural materials accessories & gadgets - could be one way to say 'how are you?', 'we see you, we care’ and ‘we appreciate you'.
Showing your appreciation to your clients and employees goes a long way in creating a workplace culture that enables your people to work in a way that works for their health and wellbeing, and your business.
SOURCES: STATS & SURVEYS
SOURCES: TIPS FOR CARING FOR STAFF