The cost of living: How your employee benefits offering can help offset rising prices
As the news continues to be dominated by the rising cost of living, millions of households around the UK are facing a financial crisis. In fact, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), 66% of adults in Britain have reported that their cost of living has increased in the past month and a YouGov poll has revealed that one in five Britons are now struggling or unable to make ends meet.
So, what’s causing this?
A record increase in wholesale global gas prices has forced the energy price cap to be raised by a staggering 54%. The Chief Executive of Ofgem (Office of Gas and Electricity Markets), Jonathan Brearley, has even recently suggested that by October 2022, annual energy bills could exceed £3,200.
On top of this, UK inflation has hit a 40-year high of 9.4%, petrol prices have hit new records and consumer goods such as groceries continue to rise in price as well. So, costs really are surging from all corners.
This will be a hugely daunting and overwhelming prospect for many, especially as it’s been predicted that this cost of living crisis will disproportionately impact families on lower incomes and likely drive them into debt as they struggle to support their families, pay bills and stay on top of other commitments.
The effects of rising prices on wellbeing
As we discuss a lot on our employee engagement blog, an individual’s financial wellbeing can have a huge effect on lots of areas of their life, including their physical and mental health, their engagement and motivation, and their relationships both in and out of the workplace. In fact, according to the Royal College of Psychiatrists, 50% of adults with debt issues also suffer from anxiety and major depression.
It’s therefore in the best interest of employers to ensure they’re supporting their team members through this period of financial uncertainty. There are a number of ways to do this, including offering shopping discounts to help offset the cost of essential items such as food and fuel, providing wellbeing resources and encouraging employees to access advice on borrowing and spending money wisely.
Using our benefits & discounts solution, advantage, we deliver branded platforms for businesses through which their employees can access a variety of shopping discounts, wellbeing resources and other valuable benefits. Let’s take a look at how your business can optimise its employee benefits offering to help alleviate the impact of the rising cost of living on its team, and how the various features of advantage can support you in doing this.
Provide everyday shopping discounts
As a result of the cost of living crisis, consumers around the UK have been cutting back on their food shops. In fact, according to a survey from the Office of National Statistics (ONS), around half (49%) of adults reported that they were buying less food when food shopping. Even the lowest-priced everyday grocery items have seen a significant price change, with some items showing increases of over 15%.
Offering shopping discounts that allow your employees to make quick, tangible savings every time they shop is therefore invaluable in the current climate. Through advantage, users can earn cashback at thousands of popular retailers around the UK. This includes the top supermarkets, restaurants, high street shops and online brands, and covers a number of shopping categories – from essential groceries, hygiene products, travel and clothing to fitness, entertainment and tech. With the discounts available, users can save up to £700 in one year – more than enough to offset the rising price of essential living costs.
IF A HOUSEHOLD SPENDS £400 ON FOOD AND GROCERIES EACH MONTH, THEY COULD SAVE UP TO £20 A MONTH AND OVER £200 A YEAR
Users of advantage are able to get a real feel for the tangible value that their benefits scheme offers through the interactive savings calculator tool. An individual simply inputs their typical spending habits and are given an estimated monthly and yearly savings figure. So, whether they’re an elderly couple or a young family of five, they can discover how much money they could save as well as relevant retailers that suit their needs and interests.
CSSC MEMBERS HAVE SAVED £2.7 MILLION THROUGH THEIR DISCOUNTS SCHEME
Even better, with a shopping discounts app, such as the one we offer through advantage, users can get instant access to thousands of savings so they can earn cashback anytime, anywhere. In a world where the cost of living is rising, this can have a huge impact on an individuals’ finances.
Find out more about how the Savings Calculator can help your employees combat the rising cost of living here.
Help with travel expenses
As fuel prices around the UK continue to rise, providing a way for your employees to save on their petrol or diesel is a really valuable benefit – particularly as driving and commuting is a very essential expense for a lot of people. Using the BP Fuel card – a tool we offer through advantage – employees can enjoy wholesale fuel prices and save up to 20p per litre. One of the most beneficial features of the card is its simplicity and ease of use. Employees simply order a card for a small fee of £9.99 a year through their advantage platform. They’ll be given a set price for fuel each week, which will be lower than advertised at the pump, so they’re guaranteed to save money each time they fill up at over 1,200 BP fuel stations across the UK.
Plus, with the ‘fuel & motoring’ category on the savings calculator, users can find out exactly how much money they could save based on how much they spend each month and get a list of recommended offers.
Find out more about the Fuel Card here.
Launch an online trading platform for second-hand goods
At a time where budgets are being squeezed and people are looking for lots of little ways to make their money go further, an online trading platform, such as the one we offer through advantage called Market Place, is a really simple yet effective tool. With the Market Place feature, users can buy and sell second-hand items either for free or at a cheap price, allowing them to earn some extra money by selling things they no longer need and also buy essentials such as clothes and shoes for less than their retail price. On top of that, this feature will encourage your team to be more sustainable and recycle their items, rather than throw them away and add to our ever-growing landfills.
Offer a range of free health and wellbeing tools
Alongside shopping discounts, offering your employees wellbeing resources to help educate them on ways to save and spend smartly, and help them manage the stress and anxiety that comes from financial insecurity, is equally as important.
Through the advantage platform, users can access free debt, loan, investment and mortgage advice as well as an Employee Assistance Programme that provides completely confidential support and reliable information to help them through problems. Plus, with tools such as a Health Cash Plan and free optical care, users can claim on their everyday healthcare expenses – helping to put their minds at ease during such an uncertain time.
To summarise, as the cost of living continues to rise, there’s never been a more crucial time for businesses to go above and beyond to help their employees and provide added value to their benefits schemes. Find out more about how we can support your business in delivering shopping discounts, wellbeing tools, and a number of other flexible features through advantage, by heading to our website and booking a demo with a member of our team.