Four Ways Your Employee Rewards Program Can Provide Practical Help For The Cost-Of-Living Crisis

The cost-of-living crisis has left more than a third of Australians struggling, with many cutting back on essential items or even skipping meals according to some surveys.

While some employers are offering one-off bonuses, cost of living payments or other assistance – including planting vegetable gardens at the workplace – you might already have a powerful assistance mechanism at hand: Your employee rewards program.

With the right rewards, your program can not only boost employee morale, engagement and retention, but can help take some of the stress out of the current economic environment.

Why’s that a big deal?

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics’ Living Costs Indexes, the September 2022 quarter saw households record their largest annual rise on record, with costs up 2.6 percent. For many, that’s been enough to push them into financial hardship: The NAB financial hardship survey for the Q3 2022, found 36 percent respondents were experiencing hardship.

Globally, companies are reporting that they’re seeing evidence of the crisis increasing stress and anxiety for their teams, with 93 percent of those in a UK survey saying it’s affecting employees’ productivity.

It’s also a mental health issue. With stress levels already high thanks to the pandemic, the war in Ukraine and the impacts of global warming among other things, adding financial stress to the mix makes it even harder for your team to stay focused, productive, and happy in their job.

Helping your team through providing rewards that ease the financial burden of day to day living, and give staff some enjoyment, could be just what the doctor ordered. And people are cashing in their rewards faster than usual – something attributed directly to their efforts to fight the cost of living crisis. In fact, a November 2022 report from the Australian Loyalty Association (ALA) notes that Australian’s are looking to loyalty programs to help them through the current rough times – and that by supporting people through this stressful time, companies can foster ongoing loyalty.

Here’s some easy ways you can ensure your employee rewards lead to real employee benefits:

Help reduce food costs

Putting food on the table is the number one concern for Australians’ according to Canstar’s 2022 Consumer Pulse Report. That tallies with the ABS Living Costs Indexes, which says food and non-alcoholic beverages was the main contributor for price increases across Australian households, as categories including fruits and vegetable and dairy products soared.

While Canstar says 26 percent are keeping the prices down by buying less, choosing cheaper options and shopping for discounted products, Neat Ideas’ portfolio of employee rewards enables employees to purchase discounted gift vouchers for supermarkets, online grocery shopping services and food box services. Easily personalised and with a wide range of values available, they’re a simple way to help your team with a truly practical reward, and as eGift cards, they’re just 10 minutes from order to delivery to your team. Plus, as an added bonus, they’ll receive a discount on the value of the gift card.

Ease the fuel burden

Canstar found increasing energy and petrol prices were another big concern.

Petrol prices in Australia are forecast to remain unstable this year as global events continue to impact costs. While prices might have dropped back from record highs in June 2022, there’s still pressure at the pump.

Providing some cash relief in the form of eGift cards which can be used at fuel retailers will help make your employees travel just that little bit easier. Or consider eGift cards for a ride sharing company, so your team members can sit back and relax with a chauffeured ride!

Ensuring essentials don’t add up

Alongside food and fuel there are a myriad of other little expenses that can rapidly add up and put stress on the wallet. Whether it’s a trip to the pharmacy or a visit to the optometrists for new glasses, Neat Ideas portfolio of employee rewards has an appropriate eGift voucher.

And the same applies for electrical and home appliances, electronics, clothing and shoes – inevitably they all need to be replaced at some point ­– or perhaps it’s that purchasing something new might take the pressure off a staff member or enable them perhaps to start a new fitness regime with the right gear.

While eGift cards for food, fuel or essentials may not be the most exciting rewards, for employees stressed about the cost of living, removing some of the everyday living expenses can be a godsend. In fact, the ALA report notes that the cost of living pressure is increasing the importance of utilitarian needs – so those rewards that might once have seemed less exciting  are now very attractive.

Give the reward of stress release

We all have a better understanding these days of the impact of stress on the human body – and mind – and the need to protect our mental health.

Whether it’s a day out cruising Sydney Harbour, taking in a movie, visiting an aquarium, having a yoga session – the options are endless with more than 2,000 products from 250+ suppliers available through Neat Ideas’ portfolio of best-in-class rewards, which can be presented to your team via a custom branded rewards shop with your own content and logo. (And on that note, providing your team with content to support their mental, physical and financial wellbeing is another step you can take to help them through this period!)

Your rewards program isn’t the only option for helping staff through the cost of living crisis – allowing more work from home and providing mental health days are just two other options. But by tapping into the power of your employee rewards program you can provide not just the recognition and engagement your team needs, but some valuable financial assistance. And that’s priceless!