Will Rayden: How can employers support staff who are stressed about the cost-of-living crisis?

cost-of-livingThis has been a difficult year for many people, and it has played out in the increasingly stark newspaper headlines about rising prices of energy and goods, and interest rates.

Throughout the year, we have constantly reviewed how we can best support employees. We felt that the timing of any intervention was an important factor: it could not be confined to a fixed point in time and nor could it be a one-size-fits-all approach.

That is why we decided to provide an additional £1,000 to around three-quarters of our staff. It is being paid in two instalments over the winter, at times when we thought people would need it most. We have also relaunched our colleague discount programmes, offering reductions on goods and services to help everyone manage their outgoings.

We have also reviewed our reward offering for 2023, guided by an all-colleague survey conducted earlier in the year. Based on the findings, we have increased the flexible benefits allowance for colleagues on lower pay bands, while reducing the variable proportion of their reward. That frees up cash that staff can choose to spend on improving their benefits package, take as monthly income or as a cash lump sum.

We have extended private medical insurance to all colleagues as standard, and we are also increasing holiday allowances so that employees have more flexibility: they can take the extra time off, or they can choose to sell back holiday to top up their income.

We think this is a comprehensive package of financial support, but we are aware that some may still face serious financial difficulty. To address this, we have established The TSB Hardship Fund, managed by the Bank Workers Charity, which can provide non-repayable grants to TSB employees or former employees.

Money worries can affect mental health so we also support employees’ wellbeing with unlimited access to the mental health app Unmind, and there’ i a free 24/7 employee assistance programme with Bupa. Conscious that many will face difficult or distressing conversations with customers, we have developed a cost-of-living learning programme specifically to support our frontline teams in their interactions with customers.

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It is clear that different people face different issues from the rising cost of living. There is no single approach to solving the cost-of-living crisis, but by listening to our employees, we have been able to introduce a programme that we feel is fair and provides assistance where it is needed most.

Will Rayden is director of reward and performance at TSB Bank