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Boosting motivation – how to support your employees through economic uncertainty

Boosting motivation – how to support your employees through economic uncertainty

Gautam Sahgal | Business Express

By Gautam Sahgal – CEO, Perkbox

As the cost-of-living crisis continues to feature in headline news, an end to the pressures of the past few months seems to be creeping further and further into the distance. Although inflation is starting to fall, individuals are still struggling to afford their day-to-day lifestyles. In fact, our research echoes this sentiment, with nearly three quarters (72%) of workers admitting that they have had to change their lifestyle due to rising costs.

When we are forced to cut back on the moments that matter in our lives as a consequence of rising costs, it creates an environment where demotivation can easily arise and in turn, can lead to less productivity in the workforce – an issue which is prevalent in UK businesses.

To tackle this, businesses must show they care for the wellbeing of their workforce by alleviating at least some of the financial burden, and ensuring their employees can still take time for the moments that matter.

So, how can you look to implement this sentiment in your wellbeing strategy?

Addressing the issue

During periods of downturn, employers must consider how the economic climate impacts their employees – as well as what the consequences might be to the overall business.

For example, we’ve found that more than half of workers (54%) have had to cut back on dining out or takeaways, with others reducing trips to the pub (41%), holidays (38%) and days out with the family (25%). If people are cutting back on their spending, it will of course affect their wellbeing; over one in four (28%) employees admit that missing out on these moments has had a detrimental impact on their mental health, leaving many feeling distracted and unhappy as a result.

Ultimately, we can’t expect our employees to bring their best selves to work when they can’t enjoy the moments that matter to them. To correctly support your people, companies need to listen to their employees’ concerns and take action on the feedback given. For example, did you know 27% of employees would like their company to provide mental health support and that 28% would like a rewards and benefits offering? If you don’t communicate with your employees how will you know how to help?

Of course, a salary increase in line with inflation is often the first port of call, but when this isn’t financially feasible, it’s about looking for ways to make people’s salaries go even further. Offering office lunches or an employee discount scheme, for example, can help employees save money on a wide range of things, from weekly supermarket shops to gym memberships or even holidays. Offering support to help ease some of the financial pressures will be greatly appreciated and will indicate to your workforce that you truly care about their wellbeing beyond the 9 to 5.

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Rewards and recognition equals retention

The happiness and productivity of a workforce goes hand in hand. Our research identified a clear connection between those employees who are most unhappy in their job and those who aren’t being recognised or rewarded by their employer for their achievements. In fact, 65% of employees who don’t have access to a rewards and benefits platform are unhappy in their current role, versus only 35% of those who do.

A holistic reward offering also ties directly to a strong workplace culture, especially when you empower your staff to celebrate each other’s successes whether they’re big or small. This creates a culture of appreciation that engages employees across all locations, boosting productivity and employee retention.

Similarly, of the employees without access to a rewards platform, 72% believe their employer does not care about how the cost-of-living crisis impacts them — whereas only 28% of those who receive rewards via a rewards and recognition platform harbour the same feelings.

Recognising the hard work of your workforce and rewarding them for their achievements is an essential part of an employer’s role – particularly in these pressured and uncertain economic times. In return, they will see a stronger company culture, and a motivated workforce that’s aligned to the company’s purpose.

Looking ahead

During economic uncertainty work life balance is at more risk than ever. Make sure you are safeguarding your employees time and offering benefits and support that enables those moments that matter to them.

Reward and recognition goes hand in hand with job satisfaction. Employees just want to feel valued – providing well-deserved recognition will give your teams a well needed boost and help keep them motivated to deliver their best work.

Companies that look to implement a supportive and appreciative workplace strategy will enhance their potential to become an employer of choice.

*The research was conducted by Censuswide on behalf of Perkbox during February 2023. It surveyed 2027 UK full-time workers between 10.02.23 – 14.02.23. Censuswide abides by and employs members of the Market Research Society which is based on the ESOMAR principles.


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