Maslow did a pretty darn good job outlining needs - especially the basic needs. And this past week brought front and center some of the issues, however simple, to the forefront.
Like many companies right now, my employer has frozen salaries for the next year. No one is complaining, everyone is grateful for a job with good benefits right now. But these kinds of actions create subsequent actions, like ripples in a pond. Other business and companies, providing goods and services, aren't freezing costs - so groceries, heat, rent, insurance - basic necessities of life - keep going up. And our collective ability to keep up is eroding. I know it anecdotally and I am now starting to hear it directly from employees and colleagues.
Employees are struggling to find affordable childcare. And by affordable, I mean having enough money left over to cover other basic needs.
I have HR colleagues sharing stories of employees putting off health needs because of co-pays. And others not able to afford the cost of drugs because there are no generic equivalents.
I am aware of people who are struggling to keep their pets. The dogs hit me hardest, especially when it comes to feeding and providing veterinary care. (There are resources - animal food banks and vets working to help lower costs). As much as I love animals, some people see them as a luxury or overhead when times are incredibly lean.
Even without empirical data, I am reasonably sure that (some, if not many) employees are coming to work with considerable concerns, issues weighing heavily on their hearts and minds. It can't help but affect focus, productivity and potentially attendance. I know on my end that we need more resources for people and need to get them out there. That would be the resources part of our profession.