by David Lunt |

The job offers are accepted, new starters join the ranks of a company and they go into their workplace pension scheme. Brilliant – job done! In fact, it’s just the start. Many people don’t feel they understand or have the confidence to engage with their pension, and not just new joiners.

Over the last 6 months, we’ve all felt the effects of the coronavirus pandemic and the challenges of lockdown. After a shock like that, people may be feeling uncertain, they might have spent time on furlough and decided to stop paying into their pensions for a while.

Key role for advisers to bridge the gaps

Advisers play an essential part in supporting employers to help staff see the value of their pension. They can also help to coordinate conversations that help employees realise the value of this important benefit and provide better financial planning to support them on their journey.  Additionally, spending time with an employer to really understand their culture, and the day-to-day issues they face – especially staffing related – is the foundation needed to build a successful pensions engagement plan in support of an employer’s business ambitions.

HR teams are likely to be faced with lots of enquiries from employees about their pensions, but in fact advisers often support them by highlighting how much information members can get quickly and easily themselves by going online.

By registering online, employees can ensure their details are always up to date, allowing providers to engage and support with simple tools to help them take control and plan for their financial futures.

For example, completing online beneficiary nominations helps avoid potential complications and distress between a member’s loved ones and their employer’s HR department if they die before taking their pension – especially if their life circumstances are complex. And encouraging pot consolidation to simplify arrangements, and potentially benefit from lower management costs, can also demonstrate the value of their workplace pension.

Keep it simple and flexible

A key lesson from industry research is that most members (and employers) want things to be simple and don’t want too much complex information. Staff are also more likely to read information sent directly from their employer rather than a pension provider. According to the latest The People’s Pension Customer Barometer1, 97% of employers said having a simple approach to communications was important.

Flexibility is key to communicating simple messages for employees who just want the comfort of knowing support is there, as well as for colleagues who want to delve into all the detail and potential options.  

At The People’s Pension, we avoid jargon in our communications, using everyday language to make information more accessible. Our website provides key information and facilities to amend personal details, nominate beneficiaries, change fund choice and retirement age, whilst signposting supports decision making and appropriate pot consolidation.

Our communications toolkit offers advisers a variety of materials when developing an effective engagement plan with:

  • templated campaign schedules
  • warm-up emails and letters
  • posters, booklets
  • payslip messaging
  • and signposting to online animations and videos guides.

So, when it comes to engaging staff with their pensions, it’s all about keeping it simple. We can all work together to make a positive difference by developing a successful roadmap which can help reduce HR time, increase understanding and appreciation of staff benefits such as pensions, enable employees to take care of simple queries, and build confidence to know where to go for support when decisions need to be made.

Join our online events for more on staff engagement

This autumn we’re running online events exploring the benefits of engaging staff on pension issues and how to make best use of available material and online resources. If you’re interested, email us at RRM@bandce.co.uk or call 0333 230 1309.