Employee Benefits Awards 2012: Most effective strategy to encourage workplace savings

BT, Planning for retirement, entered by Wealth at Work

BT’s workplace savings strategy aims to ensure employees make informed decisions about their future.

The company provides its workforce with a number of savings options, including two sharesave schemes and a share incentive plan. It also provides a defined benefit pension for employees. Along with the share schemes,
this enables employees to maximise their workplace savings in preparation for retirement.

BT goes to great lengths to communicate and educate staff about its workplace savings offering and other financial matters. Employees are invited to attend seminars, held all over the UK, addressing a range of topics, including: creating financial independence (encouraging employees to look at their finances and align them with future life plans); BT’s workplace savings provision; making the right investment choices; and effective tax planning.

A website has been set up for attendees containing relevant information from the seminars, summary information slides and webcasts on workplace savings at BT.

This entrant has also developed a retirement planning tool, highlighting the financial impact of leaving or taking up a pension. Employees also have the chance to discuss their personal finances at a private clinic with a strategic planning adviser.

The judges were particularly impressed with how the company helped older members of its workforce with retirement planning.

Dennis Gissing, head of diversity practice, said: “What we really recognise at BT is that there have been a lot of changes in the world in the last few years in terms of employment legislation, when we choose to retire, tax laws and pension schemes. There is more choice and people have very different lives.”


Liberum Capital, Liberum Capital Group Personal Pension, entered by Jelf Employee Benefits

This entrant, which previously offered a stakeholder pension scheme, introduced a group personal pension with employer contributions. The new scheme was structured so that employer contributions were paid to staff who were not in receipt of bonuses. This meant that pension scheme members who were not top earners were given an employer contribution of 6%, which they then matched.

A pensions salary sacrifice arrangement, through which employees can make contributions from their gross salary, was also introduced to make contributions more affordable. The resulting employer national insurance (NI) savings are ploughed back into the scheme.

The company worked hard to ensure communication of the new scheme was jargon-free, with an emphasis on saving for retirement rather than pensions. This involved presentations and a half-day drop-in centre for employees.

Read more about the Employee Benefits Awards 2012