Sovereign sees pension contributions rise after education sessions for contact centre staff


Housing association Sovereign has seen its employer pension contributions, which are provided on a matching basis to reflect employees’ contributions, increase by £3,500 each month after introducing a new pensions education initiative for its 130 customer contact centre staff.

The pensions education programme, provided by Better with Money in March and April 2017, was designed to engage the contact centre’s 18-25 year old workforce demographic as part of a wider project on designing career pathways and retention tools targeted at the younger generations in this area of the business.

With this in mind, the content of the group seminars was tailored to be as relevant as possible for this age range. The sessions, which were each held for two to three hours for between 10 to 15 staff, focused on encouraging employees to consider the lifestyle they wanted to maintain in retirement, and the savings journey they would need to complete to get there.

The seminars also discussed the tax efficiencies of saving into a pension, as well as highlighting why it would be beneficial for employees to take full advantage of the organisation’s matching contribution structure.

Previously, the organisation’s pension scheme providers came on site to talk about the scheme on an ad-hoc basis.

Kerry Teagle, head of customer contact at Sovereign, says: “Most organisations traditionally get scheme providers to come in, talk to people and try to sign them up, and certainly for the younger generations, that’s a real turn-off. It doesn’t mean anything to them.”

All contact centre staff were booked in to a session by the organisation, and a mop-up session was arranged for employees who could not attend their original slot. Anecdotal feedback from employees was positive, so the organisation is now exploring offering pensions education on a six-monthly basis, as well as incorporating it into its induction process and rolling it out to other areas of the business.

“[The] pensions [education] for us, it’s been a big win and […] attrition this year has been a lot lower than we would normally expect,” says Teagle. “[The pensions education is] not a heavy legalese, stuffy, something [employees] don’t have to think about until near retirement age. [It’s] made [employees] realise it’s something [they] should do every day from the day [they] start working.