"Rising prices impact us all," says Charles Daye, Ceridian senior vice president of Human Resources. "But the reality is that low-wage workers are often hit hardest. As prices rise at the grocery store and at the gas pump, employees look to HR for wage increases. When budgets don't allow higher pay, it falls to HR professionals to respond creatively with substantive assistance. The need to retain key resources -- and to help them cope with their financial realities -- is never far from the collective mind of HR." 

Four ways HR can help employees respond to the rising cost of living

Connect-Mar2011-Wage.jpg

"Rising prices impact us all," says Charles Daye, Ceridian senior vice president of Human Resources. "But the reality is that low-wage workers are often hit hardest. As prices rise at the grocery store and at the gas pump, employees look to HR for wage increases. When budgets don't allow higher pay, it falls to HR professionals to respond creatively with substantive assistance. The need to retain key resources -- and to help them cope with their financial realities -- is never far from the collective mind of HR."

Daye suggests four actions that employers can take to help their workforce manage rising costs.

  • Emphasize the total value of the benefits your company offers.
    For many employees, benefits just equate to medical insurance and paid time off. Communicating the full story about your organization's employee benefits can drive participation, increase perceived value and foster trust. Ensure that your workforce understands that flexible work schedules, 401(k) plans and tuition reimbursement are every bit as valuable as the more traditional benefits. For example, if employees do not participate in your organization's 401(k) and you provide matching funds, employees who do not take advantage of the program are essentially turning down extra money. Tuition reimbursement programs assist employees in furthering their education, potentially placing them in a more advantageous position for a promotion and better pay.
  • Encourage use of flexible spending and dependent care accounts.
    A flexible spending account (FSA) helps employees save money on health care costs. Employee contributions are made with pretax dollars, saving individuals an average of 30 percent on eligible expenses every year. Remind employees that FSA dollars can be used toward hundreds of expenses related to health care that are not covered by insurance plans. With a dependent care FSA, employees can use their pretax contributions for work-related child day care and dependent adult day care expenses. "As an employer, Ceridian provides a 25 percent match, up to $500 a year, if an employee contributes to the dependent care account," Daye says. "This is the kind of assistance that makes a difference in the real world. We make sure employees are aware of this important benefit."
  • Publicize the assistance available through employee assistance and work-life programs. 
    Employee assistance programs (EAPs) and work-life services are a proven way to deliver help to employees; their use should be encouraged. When financial issues arise, the online, telephonic and in-person services provided by Ceridian Employee Assistance Programs give employees help with budgeting. Programs such as Ceridian Work-Life Services ensure employees receive immediate personal service from a team of professionals experienced in culturally sensitive support, referrals and problem resolution.
  • Remind employees of any special incentive programs. 
    "Ceridian offers lucrative cash payments as part of our employee referral program," Daye says. If your organization offers referral or other cash incentives, be sure your employees are aware of this benefit.

By emphasizing your comprehensive benefits and compensation programs and maximizing the value of benefits such as wellness, EAP, reimbursement accounts and other perks, your employees will appreciate and take advantage of these cost saving programs.