Inflation Anxiety: The Facts
Inflation is real, and is affecting people and employers across the nation. Prices are currently rising faster than they have since the 1980s. Gas prices are nearly 48% higher than they were a year ago, and rose 18% in a single month. Additionally, in the 12 months between February 2021 to February 2022, rent increased an average of almost 20%. While the long-term effects of inflation are still yet to be seen, these price increases can be devastating, especially for healthcare workers with dependents, or those who already live paycheck to paycheck.
But healthcare organizations are also suffering due to inflation, and may not be able to support their staff to the extent that they would prefer. Read on to learn more about the effects of inflation and different ways to support healthcare staff.
How Inflation Affects Employers
In this article, we’ll suggest different ways to support staff who face inflation anxiety. But inflation affects employers, too. According to McKinsey, healthcare providers could receive a 1.2 to 2.8 percentage point decline in profit margin due to inflation. In an ideal situation, increased government subsidies or higher reimbursement rates would help healthcare organizations make up the difference. But until that happens, you may be struggling. As you read this article, keep in mind these solutions are not prescriptions, but ideas to consider as you navigate through a difficult financial time.
Effects of Inflation Anxiety on Healthcare Workers
Inflation can make it hard for healthcare workers to access their basic needs: food, housing, transportation. But it can also cause significant harm to mental health. According to a recent poll by the American Psychological Association, money stress is at its highest since 2015. Money stress can affect both mental and physical health, and exacerbate the burnout symptoms already common in healthcare.
How to Combat Inflation Anxiety
Raising salaries is much easier said than done, but it’s still worth noting as the most direct way to alleviate financial anxiety. Even with yearly raises, the effects of inflation mean that workers effectively took a 2.4% paycut in 2021. However, inflation is hurting employers too. It’s possible, even likely, that higher salaries aren’t possible right now. If this is the case for your organization, there are other things you can do to support your staff.
Flexible benefits allow employees to choose what benefit package works best for them. This allows them to adjust their finances and benefits when they’re under financial stress, reducing inflation anxiety. This is a concrete way to help your staff.
Financial Coaching / Planning
While not a replacement for material assistance, access to financial coaching can help your employees plan for their future. Consider pairing this with career coaching, to allow your staff to create a holistic plan for the future. Goals and planning can help staff reduce their inflation anxiety. This is a popular solution across industries, with 43% of employers saying that they offer personalized financial counseling, coaching, or planning. Some 401K platforms offer financial planning with their other services.
Empathy and understanding are always important, but especially so when your employees are experiencing inflation anxiety. Be prepared to support your employees, particularly those who are parents or caregivers. Make sure your employees know that the door to HR is always open, and that you are there to offer them support. Listening to staff goes a long way.
Discussing financial matters is still taboo in some work settings. Unfortunately, this stigma can make it harder for employees to approach HR when in need. As a first step, acknowledging the recent increased financial pressure can help. Try themed newsletters about financial literacy, workshops, town halls, or more. It’s also helpful to be transparent about your own pain points. Letting workers know what you can or can’t offer can increase understanding between employees and employers. Be flexible with scheduling if possible, and meet your employees where they’re at.
If you don’t have room in your budget to increase salaries, consider offering bonuses. A bonus still has a measurable financial impact, and can really make a difference when your workers are struggling. However, take care when implementing performance-based bonuses, as these can exacerbate symptoms of anxiety. Incentive bonuses for perfect attendance and employee referrals can be cost-effective ways to go about this. You can even consider bonuses for picking up extra shifts.
Offer Mental Health Support
When finances are tight, it can be easy to deprioritize mental health. Offering flexible benefits can help employees continue to seek mental health support during difficult times. Adding wellness perks and taking the time to clearly inform employees of their mental health options can also make a difference. This can come in the form of offering access to mental health apps, gyms and other health related businesses, or a flat reimbursement amount fot wellness. Better mental health support can also help you improve company culture as a whole.
Better Hiring with Apploi
Use Apploi to streamline your hiring and onboarding process, so you can save money and spend more of your time supporting employees. Interested in learning more about how you can recruit, hire, and onboard healthcare staff quickly? Contact us today for a free demo of our talent management solution.