How smart employers are helping staff cope with inflation

With inflation at a 40-year high, helping staff adjust to ever-increasing prices is the name of the game for progressive employers.

Obviously the best way to do it is to raise their salaries, which many have already done.

But wage increases can only go so far before feeding into the problem, ultimately adding to inflationary pressures.

So how bad is it?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, by the end of July median weekly earnings of the nation’s 118.9 million full-time workers were up 5.2% on last year.

But the consumer price index increased by 9.1%, the largest 12-month increase since 1981.

That’s quite the gap.

So what’s a good — cost conscious — employer to do? Lots, as it happens. That’s because the right HR strategies can go a long way towards helping employees cope with the increased cost of living.

Drilling into the BLS figures shows price rises for some goods are higher than others, with food up 10.4%  and energy 41.6%.

Strip those out and the inflation rate was 5.9%, only slightly higher than the rise in median earnings.

Work smart, work hybrid

So, one way to help employees cope is to encourage work from home for those who can do it. Eradicating the commute saves on gas.

On the other hand, other team members might prefer to come to the office rather than pay for air-con or heating at home. If employers also offer subsidized canteens — an increasingly valuable carrot — staff can save more money by coming into the office.

In short, flexible options help staff to work in the way that suits them, and their budgeting, best.

Remote first

Some employers operate on a remote-first basis, conducting all meetings online for maximum inclusivity.

It widens their talent pool, enabling them to attract more great candidates, including those with mobility issues or family care responsibilities. It enables them to spread their net geographically too.

That, in turn, gives employees an opportunity to live in — or move to — locations where accommodation and the general cost of living is cheaper, and very often quality of life is better, too.

Perks of the job

Not all pay bumps are salary related. By introducing performance, creativity or efficiency bonuses, some employers are helping to take the edge off inflation anxiety and boost morale, without breaking the bank.

Others offer employee discounts, and contra-deal discounts from non-competing businesses, to allow staff more opportunities to save money. From pet insurance to childcare vouchers, to providing deals on health and wellness products, every little bit helps.

Invest in people

Investing in education and training motivates staff and improves business performance, again without impacting wage levels. Some employers are contributing towards student debt, a move that can really help those starting out.

Many companies have employee assistance programs. These provide a range of fully confidential supports including mental health and financial planning programs, both of which can be a help in the current anxiety-inducing inflationary environment.

Employers know that money isn’t everything to employees. Growth opportunities are also important to workers. Good employers develop clear progression paths, and the training and development supports people need to build successful careers.

Time is money

If they can’t be generous with money, employers can be generous with time off. On average, U.S. workers receive just 10 paid vacation days after one year of service, rising to 20 days only after 20 years.

In Europe, even the most junior newbie gets 20 days annual paid leave, with public holidays on top. Smart employers realize that a sure-fire way to keep staff happy, and wage inflation down, is to give more time off — and encourage people to take it.

If you’re looking for an employer strong on inflation-busting benefits, we have three below, and you can check out the Job Board for many more too.

UI Engineer, Crowdstrike

In this remote position, you’ll be building software to stop breaches and protect organizations. The company operates on a remote-first basis, so you can be part of a globally distributed workforce for an employer that scores highly as a great place to work. It offers flexible work arrangements and loads of opportunities to learn new skills in a high-trust environment where team members are allowed to manage their own time, take holidays as they need it, and are rewarded with competitive salaries and equity. Read the full job description.

Transformational Manufacturing Architect, Northrop Grumman

Aerospace and defense technology company Northrop Grumman offers formalized pathways, development courses and personalized guidance to help you build your career. It scores highly on work-life balance too with many sites offering every other Friday off. It is currently looking for a Transformational Manufacturing Architect in Virginia, or remote. The company provides a variety of benefits including health insurance coverage, life and disability insurance, savings plan, company-paid holidays and paid time off (PTO) for vacation and/or personal business. Find out more here.

Principal Product Manager — GoDaddy Payments International Expansion, GoDaddy

At web host GoDaddy some teams work in the office full time, some work on a hybrid basis and some work entirely remotely. This is a remote position so you’ll be working from home. It’s a company that offers a great range of benefits including 401k, equity grants and parental leave. Side hustles are encouraged and there are supports for mental and physical health as well as your financial wellbeing. See the full job spec.

If you’re looking for a company to help you cope better with inflation, find loads of open roles from great employers on the VentureBeat Job Board

VentureBeat’s mission is to be a digital town square for technical decision-makers to gain knowledge about transformative enterprise technology and transact. Learn more about membership.