Dale Critchley: Saving for a brighter retirement; how to engage employees with their pension now

Getting employees to think about their retirement savings can be tricky, and employers may struggle to make pensions exciting but there are ways to get employee’s attention. After all, people do care about their finances and their future.

A great way to capture the interest of employees is to let them know that their pension and passions can go hand in hand when it comes to their values and protecting the planet.

Workplace pensions have the potential to be real drivers of positive change in the environmental, social, and governance (ESG) space. This can be used as a tool to engage members, by helping them understand how their pension works, that it is invested and how it is invested. Educating employees can also help build confidence and trust in pensions and scheme providers.

For many people, the money going into their pension represents one of the largest pots of money they may ever have. And choosing where to invest can make a big difference, not just to the individual but to society as a whole.

These days more people are looking to use their money to support their personal values and the issues they care about. From buying Fairtrade coffee to donating to animal charities, many people are keen to know the money they spend goes towards something beneficial.

By offering funds investing in companies with high ESG or ethical standards, employers can help them expand on this desire to do good with their money. With these types of funds, employees can be sure they are investing in areas working towards making a positive long-term impact on the planet. By offering employees the chance to invest in responsible funds, employers are actively demonstrating that they care about the same issues many of them do.

To capture the interests of employees, firstly, employers need to assess the level of their awareness and education when it comes to how their pension works. Then they need to find out what their views on ESG are to understand if communications on this would be something that they value. From here, they can then start to tap into how employees would like to be communicated with.

With that in mind, here are some ways to talk to employees about ESG to get them engaged and saving for a brighter retirement.

Firstly, educate to engage. Education plays an important role in inspiring people to take a more active role in planning their long-term futures. Employees should be thinking about the amount they would need to give them the lifestyle they want in retirement. From here they can also start thinking about the bigger picture and the impact their pensions can have on the world and ESG issues.

Secondly, keep it simple. Straightforward and relevant communications can be more encouraging for those engaging with their pension for the first time. Avoid using jargon; simple language will help members understand communications and make more informed decisions about their retirement.

Thirdly, send our frequent communications. Sending frequent nudges will help make information more palatable and less overwhelming. To keep employees switched onto the benefits their workplace scheme offers, they need to be reminded of the facts regularly and itis worth considering using different media to let them know about it.

A pension fund is the basis for most people’s retirement and the standard of living they enjoy after work. Combining this with the knowledge that workplace pensions can have a positive impact on ESG issues will help employees feel empowered. If employers can take steps to help make a brighter future for their employees, they can be sure they will thank them for it when the time comes.

Dale Critchley is policy manager at Aviva Workplace Savings and Retirement