As the cost-of-living crisis continues, employers must recognise the importance of how to care for staff during these challenging times. Employee performance experts at Weekly10 summated tips so that businesses can support their employees during tough economic times:
Focus on employee engagement
To build an engagement-focused culture, it’s crucial that we understand more about the specific elements of engagement. There’s a simple 10 step model for management based on what HR best practice and behavioural science tells us are the key elements underpinning employee engagement. Let’s assume you’re already getting the basics right like fair pay, and competent managers. Other things you can do are:
- Be open and honest about the ups and downs. Transparency is critical to having engaged staff.
- Set clear goals so everyone knows what’s expected, and check progress regularly.
- Recognise when people go above and beyond. Everyone likes a pat on the back every now and then.
Prioritise employee wellbeing
Managers can help their staff feel supported and valued by offering support, being flexible, providing fair compensation, fostering a positive work environment, and providing opportunities for development. A simple “how are you?” goes a long way.
Jim Hartner, Chief Scientist of Workplace and Wellbeing, Gallup summarised the link between wellbeing and bottom line:
When your employees’ wellbeing is thriving, your organisation directly benefits — they take fewer sick days, deliver higher performance, and have lower rates of burnout and turnover. But when your employees’ wellbeing suffers, so does your organisation’s bottom line.
Jim Hartner, Chief Scientist of Workplace and Wellbeing
Be transparent with employees
Holding regular one-on-one meetings, town halls, and sending weekly email updates from the CEO are all effective ways to ensure that employees have ample opportunity to communicate and share their thoughts and concerns. It’s important to avoid talking at employees and instead actively listen and engage with them.
A culture of honesty and openness can positively impact employee engagement, morale, and productivity. Especially when you include clear goal setting as part of being transparent. It may seem odd but setting clear goals will keep your entire organisation on track. Everyone is focused on the same destination, just via different routes.
Setting goals during a crisis helps to motivate and align individual, team, and department work. In uncertain times, collaborating to set goals can help to ease stress and provide much-needed support and clarity.
Build employee resilience to help them adapt during hard times
Building resilience is very much a personal journey that takes self-reflection, time, and practice. However, team leaders and managers can support an individual’s development by providing the right tools and training.
Employees and managers need to understand the basic elements that create resilience at work. A workplace culture with opportunities for social interactions, good wellbeing, and personal development will instinctively create the right environment to build resilience.
Foster a future focus
Employers can help their employees develop a growth mindset by providing opportunities for learning and development. Encouraging employees to take on new challenges and providing them with the necessary training and resources can help them build resilience and adapt to changing circumstances.
Leaders should foster a culture of continuous learning, emphasising the importance of taking risks, learning from failures, and celebrating successes. They can also provide regular feedback and recognition to help employees see their progress and feel motivated to continue their growth.
Employers can also promote a growth mindset by setting challenging but achievable goals and providing employees with opportunities to collaborate and share their knowledge and skills with others. By creating an environment that values learning and growth, employers can help employees build resilience and adaptability, which can be particularly important during a cost of living crisis.
Support your employees physical wellbeing
This isn’t about gym memberships and away days. This is about creating a workplace culture that enables your people to work in a way that works for their health. Here are four ways companies can support their employees’ physical health:
- Offer ergonomic workstations.
- Suggest walking or standing meetings, or limiting meetings altogether so that people can choose to work how and where they need to, to best support their physical health.
- Encourage employees to take breaks rather than work through lunch, or for excessively long periods. Offer flexible work arrangements that allow employees to balance their work and personal lives more effectively.
- Check-in on people’s workloads to make sure they’re fair and manageable.
Provide personal and professional development opportunities
New skills help employees to adapt to changes in the workplace. In a cost of living crisis, companies may need to make changes to stay afloat, and employees who can adapt to these changes will be more valuable. This can open up new career opportunities for staff. This is particularly important when job opportunities may be limited.
Emphasise how new skills support future job security. Employees who are constantly developing their skills are more likely to be retained. Companies may prioritise retaining employees who have the skills and knowledge needed to navigate challenging times.
Developing resilience is important during difficult times. Employees who have a growth mindset and are constantly learning and developing new skills are better equipped to handle the challenges that come with a cost of living crisis.
Joanne is the editor for Workplace Wellbeing Professional and has a keen interest in promoting the safety and wellbeing of the global workforce. After earning a bachelor's degree in English literature and media studies, she taught English in China and Vietnam for two years. Before joining Work Well Pro, Joanne worked as a marketing coordinator for luxury property, where her responsibilities included blog writing, photography, and video creation.