Leading companies within the sector share how they are supporting their employees
The phrase ‘new year, new me’ is thrown around a lot in the month of January but there are some things the new year did not wash away, one of those being the cost-of-living crisis.
Companies all over the UK have been working hard on finding ways to manage this crisis for their workers and their business alike. Businesses such as Tony Benger Landscaping, Johnstone Landscapes and Garden House Design have all introduced pay rises, for instance. “[Johnstone Landscapes] has tried to give the team some extra support by issuing a second pay rise this year in November, which they weren’t expecting, and the end of year bonus was extremely welcome,” says director Tessa Johnstone.
As well as a pay rise, Tony Benger Landscaping has continued with its annual assessment and pay reviews of all its staff as well as quarterly assessments to see how their roles have changed, to ensure “people aren’t feeling underpaid,” shares business manager Oliver Hemson. Its quarterly assessments evaluate how an employee’s roles within the company has changed and ensure that those who have transitioned into a higher role are paid accordingly rather than waiting for the annual review. In addition to this, Tony Benger Landscaping is working towards launching its TBL Academy which will put staff’s “training, progression and career path into their hands.” Tony Benger Landscaping has also introduced mental health risk assessments within its reviews in order to check in with its employees to make sure they are coping during these hard times.
Similarly, Garden House Design has taken a look at how the cost-of-living crisis can affect mental health, with owner Rod Winrow sharing that one of its directors is “attending a Perennial mental health awareness and training course to identify issues and help if required.”
Mitie Landscape has also taken note of the cost-of-living crisis. Managing director Tim Howell says: “With higher energy and food bills, among other increasing prices, we know the rising cost of living is affecting our colleagues, so in November we launched a £10m Winter Support Package. The package, which includes free Mitie shares, e-vouchers and a one-off bonus, has had a strong take-up from colleagues, whilst also raising awareness of Mitie’s other industry-leading benefits they can use to help save money on everyday spending.”
The cost-of-living crisis is affecting both employees and employers, though. With this in mind, is it a company’s responsibility to look after its staff throughout?
“I truly believe if you value your team, you automatically want to help them. Is it our responsibility? If we can do something – we should. As with any crisis that a team member might experience,” argues Johnstone.
For many employers, the idea of helping employees through this crisis equates (in their mind) to financial changes. Hemson says: “A company can’t just pay more money. But I do think that, if companies can, they should provide a system so that the staff can climb the ladder more quickly and therefore get paid more because they are earning it. That’s what every company should be doing. They should be making it more accessible, especially for staff on lower grades.”
Admittedly, most changes cannot happen overnight; but there is help out there for those who are struggling, with one of the most accessible resources being Perennial. “Here at Perennial we are very aware that the rising cost of energy bills and the rise in inflation has pushed up prices for pretty much everyone working in horticulture. That’s why you’ll find up-to-date information, advice, hints & tips on our website to help with today’s cost of living, as well as access to our free financial management tool – nudge – which can help with your everyday spending and budgeting, as well as your financial plans for the future,” says a spokesperson from Perennial.
The cost-of-living crisis is showing no signs of abating, and companies will undoubtedly have to make touch decisions to ensure staff feel valued and supported. The question that follows is, which of these changes will become the new norm?