I run a small business. Some of my employees are struggling financially. Inflation has stretched their paychecks, but I suspect they have no knowledge of Biblical financial principles. What can I do to address this problem?
Helping With Inflation
Dear Helpling with Inflation,
It is easy to get so caught up in caring for customers or other details of business while somehow overlooking the needs of employees. Many people today are suffering from financial difficulties and not just from inflation. This impacts marriages, work productivity, and businesses. I believe it is a great opportunity to show real care and concern for the people you work with.
Larry Burkett, the founder of Crown (originally Christian Financial Concepts), wrote Business by the Book. He believed that Christian business people should do unto others as they would want them to do to them and gave six basic business minimums:
“Fairness is both a responsibility and an opportunity. Employers who practice fairness are able to share Christ with their employees because they ‘practice what they preach,’ as the old saying goes… Fairness is usually related to issues of pay and benefits in the work environment, but that is not the total picture. Fairness also involves attitudes and relationships… The first step in establishing the principle of fairness is to recognize that all people are important, regardless of income or education… If you find that you can’t give the same honor and regard to the lowest-ranked employee in your business, you need to stop right here and resolve this issue with the Lord. The second chapter of James covers this issue thoroughly summing it up in one verse: ‘But if you show partiality, you are committing sin and are convicted by the law as transgressors.’ (James 2:9)” Larry Burkett (Business by the Book)
When employees are under your authority, it is your responsibility to pay them well and provide appropriate benefits. When they know their work is recognized and compensated fairly, they are more likely to work with excellence and pride. Monetary rewards can improve morale and productivity. You will create a healthy culture that retains and attracts talent. If a raise or one-time bonus is not in the budget, offer other incentives like more paid time off. Budget for cost-of-living raises and bonuses in the future. Provide small rewards of appreciation and recognition. This article at indeed.com discusses ways to develop and care for employees.
Scripture Addresses This Topic
“You shall not oppress a hired worker who is poor and needy, whether he is one of your brothers or one of the sojourners who are in your land within your towns.” (Deuteronomy 24:14 ESV)
“Come now, you rich, weep and howl for the miseries that are coming upon you. . . . Behold, the wages of the laborers who mowed your fields, which you kept back by fraud, are crying out against you, and the cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord of hosts. You have lived on the earth in luxury and in self-indulgence… (James 5:1–5 ESV)
“Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.” (Philippians 2:3–4 ESV)
Implement a Program
We have worked with many companies in the United States and around the world that not only fairly compensate their employees but also are intentional about giving them an opportunity to learn Biblical financial principles. Last year, I conducted a series of five lessons on financial management and stewardship as the guest lecturer at a “Lunch and Learn” in a local small business. Employees opted in at no cost. The class was very popular, with 90% of the staff attending either in person or online. I taught for 30 minutes and then conducted a question-and-answer session. Other companies I know pay for Crown courses or books for employees willing to take advantage of personal growth opportunities. One company even offers to match employee payments to those who get on a debt-elimination plan up to a reasonable amount!
Some Options to Consider
Educate yourself on the financial pain of employees so you know how to help. Then follow some of these ideas:
Another helpful and trusted source is Christian Credit Counselors. They can help consolidate debt and get your employees on the road to financial freedom.
This article was originally published on The Christian Post on August 4, 2023.
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