email icon
close icon

7 HR Resources for the Cost of Living Crisis

Download your free CIPD course guide and develop your HR career today

acacia learning logo

With the UK experiencing a painful cost of living, HR departments are being called upon to help employees cope. Here are 7 HR resources to use.

The last few years haven’t exactly been the easiest for HR departments and professionals. With the COVID-19 pandemic adding a huge amount of tasks to the average HR To-Do list, we wouldn’t be amiss in saying that HR professionals were probably looking for the years following the pandemic to be a bit kinder to them.

Unfortunately, it’s not looking as if this wish will be granted. HR departments are now being called upon to help the employees of their organisations weather the new economic storm that we find ourselves in – the cost of living crisis. 

Here are 7 essential resources that HR can use as a HR professional to help you provide better advice and support to employees during the cost of living crisis. 

1. Money and Pensions Service

An independent initiative funded by the UK Government’s Department for Work and Pensions, the Money and Pensions Service provides free, impartial advice on financial matters to anyone in the UK. 

The body has five core priorities that it focuses its work on:

  • Providing debt advice, 
  • Providing pension advice
  • Offering money guidance and educating people on how to manage money
  • Providing consumer protection with the Financial Services Authority (FSA)
  • Strategy, including education children and young people on financial literacy

One of the most effective services that the body provides is the Money Helper phoneline which provides free financial advice to people who are struggling. 

The body also provides the Breathing Space scheme. This is a debt respite scheme that offers things such as a pause in enforcement action, freezing interest and charges on debt and stopping contact from creditors. 

On top of this, the Money and Pensions Service also organises events and activities designed to get people thinking and talking about money matters, like the Talk Money Week. Organised around a different theme each year (2022’s theme was ‘credit’), the Talk Money Week explores ways to improve financial literacy.

You can download your free participation pack here.

  • Run by the UK government 
  • Provides independent advice on financial matters to anyone in the UK
  • Offers a range of written advice and runs regular events to improve financial management

2. Samaritans

A survey from the Money and Mental Health policy institute, a charity founded by Martin Lewis, one of the UK’s most well-known consumer champions, has found that, worrying, up to 17% of respondents had experienced thoughts of suicide directly related to the cost of living crisis. 

Samaritans is a long-established mental health support charity whose aim is to provide emotional support to anyone who is in distress, struggling to cope or who is at risk of suicide. 

Run by volunteers, Samaritans is completely confidential and offers 24/7 listening and support to people who are in need of help. There is also a Samaritans Self-Help App that allows you to track feelings, get recommendations for things to help you cope better in crises and work through mental health problems in your own time and at your own pace. 

  • Provides real-time mental health support to people in need and at risk of harm
  • Completely anonymous and judgement-free
  • Not a substitute for calling 999 in an emergency 

A person using a smartphone

3. Food banks

Demand for food banks – places that hand out free food parcels to those in need and can’t afford to eat – has expanded exponentially in recent years, thanks to the pressures of the coronavirus pandemic and the current cost of living crisis. As a result, they’ve become a vital lifeline to people who cannot afford one of the most basic human needs – to eat.

The Trussell Trust says that food bank use has skyrocketed as the cost of living crisis has worsened. In summer 2022, the trust said that it gave out 50% more food parcels than pre-2020 levels. 

The Trussell Trust is an NGO network of 1,200 food banks across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland and is one of the largest organisations that manage the day to day operations of food banks. They only accept applications from people who have been specifically referred to them though by partner agencies or GPs though. Citizens Advice (you can read more about them below) can refer people to foodbanks, so consider directing any employees who are in need of access to a food bank to them in order to get further help.

There are also a network of independent foodbanks, organised under the Independent Food Network. Some of these allow people to self-refer rather than having to be referred by an official, external source. 

If a number of your employees are routinely having to turn to food banks in order to survive this could point to a wider issue related to your organisation’s remuneration policies that will need to be addressed. 

  • Can provide immediate support for people in need of food
  • Some food banks only operate on referrals from external entities, like a GP
  • Some food banks don’t need a referral and will help anyone in need

4. Citizens Advice

Citizens Advice is an independent charitable organisation that provides free and impartial advice to help people with legal, debt, employment, housing and consumer issues. 

Founded in 1939, they are the largest independent advice provider in the UK and research has shown that around four in 10 people in the UK are likely to contact Citizens Advice at least once in their life for help resolving a problem they are facing. 

People can get advice by email, online through the resources on their website, or in person by attending a face-to-face appointment. The resources on the Citizens Advice website are particularly useful and provide detailed advice on getting help with the cost of living, debt solutions, budgeting, managing mortgage and rent arrears and getting financial advice. 

Citizens Advice are able to directly refer people to food banks so they are a useful resource when it comes to the cost of living crisis that HR departments should be aware of.

  • Provides free, impartial advice on a range of issues including; finance and debt advice, employment advice and legal advice.

A man looking exhausted and taking his glasses off

5. Living Life to the Full

Living Life to the Full is a mental health resource that comes with a whole range of endorsements and support. Championed by the NHS and mental health practitioners, Living Life to the Full offers a range of courses using Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) to help people improve their mental health, resilience and coping skills.

The courses themselves aren’t about providing a diagnosis or prescribing treatment. They are designed to teach employees skills to help them cope with the challenging situations that life throws at us all sometimes. 

Throughout the courses, employees will learn coping strategies and skills that will empower them to take control of their mental health. With a broad range of topics covered, employees will explore everything from why we feel like we do, activities to boost wellbeing and sleep, and how to identify blocks and triggers, through to anxiety-calming techniques and self-care practices.  

The courses and activities used by Live Life to the Full are all free to access and use. They’re designed and written by Dr Chris Williams, Emeritus Professor of Psychosocial Psychiatry University of Glasgow.

6. NHS Self Help Resources

The National Health Service (NHS) is one of the most practical resources available when it comes to mental health support. The NHS creates a variety of completely free resources that are easily accessed online.

Focusing on mindfulness and self-help, these resources are designed to help people improve their resilience through exercises, activities and advice.

They are incredibly comprehensive and cover a huge range of topics in a variety of different forms: from audio guides and exercises through to apps and guided meditations. .

  • Provides good mental health support for people not at immediate risk of harm
  • Free and easy to access with an internet connection
  • Resources are in a variety of different formats, including audio guides, apps and written guides

A couple sat on a desk with bills in front of them and a calculator looking worried

7. MoneySavingExpert

MoneySavingExpert is a consumer advice website and blog that was founded by UK consumer rights champion, Martin Lewis in 2003. It’s one of the most popular sources for financial advice in the UK. 

The website offers wide-ranging advice on a variety of consumer financial issues, from banking, savings, credit cards and energy bills through to pensions, insurance and budgeting. You’;d be hard oppressed to find a similar financial blog that provides the same level of detail, insight and just good advice that this one does. 

It’s a great resource to recommend to employees with advice that be read online, as and when they have time. 

  • Offers a broad range of money management and financial management advice
  • Most common topics to do with money issues are covered here

Resources for a challenging time

Although the times are tough, we are never alone. By making use of the resources we’ve listed here, and similar ones that you’re likely to come across in your professional practice, you can reassure employees that they are supported and valued by their employer. 

Develop your professional HR practice with a CIPD qualification. Download your free course guide today.