Inflation is on the minds of many company leaders this year, with almost 60% of our survey respondents saying the rising cost of living is having an impact on their business.
More than two thirds of companies have increased wages or given additional bonuses to help staff navigate rising costs. In addition, some have introduced the option for staff to be paid more frequently – weekly or fortnightly – to help with budgeting. Others mentioned giving one-off payments and sending a free heated blanket to all employees to help them manage the rising cost of energy.
Fintech firm ManyPets, which specialises in pet insurance, is one company that has taken a proactive approach to help staff manage the rising cost of living.
The London-based company, which has 614 staff, is offering all permanent employees with at least six months’ service access to an interest-free loan of £250 to £3,000 to support them if they are facing short term financial strain. ManyPets is loaning the money directly, with staff repaying the money directly from their salary via payroll, across a period of up to 12 months.
“We appreciate that from time to time our team may need a little help with unexpected finances. We want to be able to provide them with support if this happens – whether it’s used to pay for fixing a car, paying an unexpected bill, or clearing a lingering debt. We ensure the funds are accessed as quickly as possible,” says Luisa Barile, chief financial officer at ManyPets.
Many respondents said the option for hybrid ways of working, with the ability to work from home as well as the office, is the benefit most valued by employees. An overwhelming 90% of companies are offering flexible working hours. Some, including tech firms Elvie and Wonde, have even implemented a four-day week or a nine-day fortnight to boost staff satisfaction. Both companies say the move away from the standard five-day week has been “incredibly popular” and effective for hiring and retention.
Meanwhile a fifth are giving staff the option to work from anywhere in the world. The option to work flexible hours away from an office gives staff the freedom to choose how they structure their day, and save on commuting costs and improve mental health.
Two thirds of survey respondents said they are struggling to hire talent, and 40% are struggling to retain talent, so the option for staff to work with flexibility is key to retaining staff. Companies are finding it particularly difficult to recruit software engineers, data scientists and sales people. One said it had raised its engineering salaries by 30%.