The introduction of pension freedoms and the roll out of auto-enrolment have increased the need for advice in the workplace. Many employers and pension trustees are more interested than ever in protecting their employees and are keen to ensure they make informed decisions when considering their retirement goals.
The single thing can improve employees’ engagement with pensions and financial planning
Now auto-enrolment has reached the point where all employers have already complied, corporate conversations are turning to reward, recruitment, retention and financial wellbeing.
It can be difficult to get your messages across about benefits if you’re simply emailing your staff with information, since they can get lost in the glut of email traffic. For many employers, their pension scheme is their largest spend after salaries and it’s notoriously difficult to engage staff with it.
Employers and trustees tend to look to advisers who can offer a comprehensive service, who can educate their staff, provide guidance and also provide advice. The requirements of an early career 20-something will differ hugely from that of the 55-year-old considering later life options.
Whilst many millennials will be perfectly happy reading information online, or via apps, many mid-career or later career employees would relish the opportunity to receive advice or guidance face to face.
Group presentations can be effective in getting across key messages of what the scheme is and how it operates, but employees want to know how it works for them in the context of their own retirement journey. Financial education workshops can be a great tool to bridge this knowledge gap and provide an opportunity for staff to ask questions that relate to themselves and their colleagues. By discussing this in a group forum, it allows employees to engage in what is often perceived as a complex maze of information and jargon.
According to the Mattioli Woods Employee Benefits Insight Report 2017, an overwhelming 85% of employers said financial education was something their employees would value and benefit from, and 47% of employers were concerned that workers were not making adequate provision for retirement.
Where employers and trustees buy into financial education and see the benefits it brings, face-to-face advice can also be introduced, enabling advisers to meet individually with employees under friendly circumstances. This benefit can improve staff engagement, evidenced by employees proactively changing the amount they pay in, or taking an informed decision as to where they are invested, rather than relying on a catch-all default approach.
What single thing can improve employees’ engagement with an employer’s largest benefit spend and remove the complexities of pensions and financial planning? Education, education, education!