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Reward and the rising cost of living

How can we help ease financial pressures on employees?

According to HR News, over one-third of UK employees are currently exploring a change of job because of the rising cost of living. This is because, in the majority of cases, any salary increases that may be on offer from their existing employer simply can’t keep pace with inflation.

Naturally, companies are concerned about their staff’s quality of life, as employees struggle to make ends meet. Many people are taking on second and even third jobs to try and manage the spiralling prices of food, fuel, heating and housing.

It’s little wonder that people are keeping their eyes peeled for new job opportunities that could lead to a higher salary.  So, what, given that pay slips simply can’t keep up with the cost of living, can companies do to retain their valued staff in increasingly difficult times?

It’s time to get serious with rewards

Whereas previously, a company rewards package might have leaned towards perks around fitness and leisure, employees are now looking for ways to help them pay their bills, not just work out or have a better social life.  Here we explore some ideas about what a rewards package could offer staff to ease the strain.

  1. Subsidies for energy bills when working from home
    Some 27% of workers said they would like employers to contribute towards the cost of their energy bills when they work from home.1  In the past, most employees spent weekdays in the company office, so things like the heating and the kettle could be left off all day at home.  But now it’s far more likely that they’ll spend at least part of their working week at home, using their own, costly energy supply during the day.
  2. Internet subsidies if working from home
    Almost a fifth (19%) of employees said they would want their company to help them with their internet costs when they work from home.1  Research has suggested that, even prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, 38% of workers’ home internet usage was for professional purposes.
  3. Financial wellbeing advice
    According to the Money & Pensions Service, money worries impact the performance of nearly 8 out of 10 workers.  And over 4 million days each year are lost to absence caused by lack of financial well-being.  So, by offering financial support and advice to employees, employers can help to increase their company’s productivity and profitability at the same time.
  4. A healthy work/life balance
    Where relevant, employees may feel increased loyalty for their company if they are offered the opportunity to work fewer hours for the same salary.  For example, a four-day working week could be an option, freeing up time for other important parts of life, such as personal development or more family time.

How can Zest help companies offer rewards that support the cost of living?

  1. Provider agnostic
    Zest can support all benefits, regardless of the provider, so that rewards managers can ensure they’re getting the best value for money and make any necessary changes to providers promptly.
  2. Employee engagement
    On average, 89% of employees engage with Zest’s easy-to-use platform, which is great for business.  The last thing workers want is a benefits platform that is difficult to navigate, on top of what they’re already dealing with.
  3. Low implementation fees
    Cost should not be a barrier to implementing employee benefits technology.  With Zest, minimal set-up time can keep costs to a minimum, with the platform getting up and running at a lightning-fast speed.
  4. Insight driven
    Our Insight Centre means employers can refine their benefits scheme to improve employee engagement.  Teams can measure how often staff visit the benefits portal to see if they need to change what they are offering.
  5. Easy to use
    With Zest, it’s easy for employees to make their benefits selection, and access the information they need.  Our platform is intuitive to use on any device.  This means that staff feel empowered to make informed decisions on the best selection for their personal situation.


With a bit of lateral thinking, companies can help staff with the cost of living. As we’ve seen, it’s not possible for many companies to offer pay rises that can keep pace with current rates of inflation, but there are many things that employers can do via their benefits platform to help reduce financial stress and help employees to make ends meet.  The upshot is that staff can feel supported, which may increase both their loyalty and productivity.

Get in touch with us to talk more about how we can help you adapt your rewards to help staff with rising costs.

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