This article is brought to you by our sponsor AXA.
Providing a staff pension scheme should be seen as a valuable benefit that helps to recruit and retain people within a business. However, pensions have a mixed reputation and engaging employees on the subject of growing old can be quite challenging. Engaging staff with their pension and wider benefits programme has now become a top business priority, a fact supported by Employee Benefits/JPMorgan INVEST Benefits Research 2007.
AXA has spent the last four years researching the most effective communication methods and working with academics in behavioural finance to understand employee behaviour in the workplace. The research goes a long way to understanding why employees act irrationally, such as choosing not to join a pension scheme, and has helped us devise solutions to overcome this, such as automatic enrolment.
One of the key principles to securing employee understanding and engagement is through the communication of the benefits being provided. In this respect, different communication techniques and styles will produce very different results, and careful consideration must be placed on each particular scheme, and the relative strengths and weaknesses of each type of intervention.
Good practice nowadays is to view communications as an ongoing process rather than a one-off event. Furthermore, key lessons for us over the years have shown the need to bespoke the communications to the employer and personalise the message. This requires commitment and very often, there will be numerous barriers to overcome on the way, something that requires time and repetition to resolve.
With the planned introduction of personal accounts and compulsory employer contributions in 2012, it is more important than ever that employers can increase and also demonstrate the value they get from their pension and perks programmes.
We know it can be achieved, our experience in running hundreds of campaigns and talking to thousands of employees means we have the evidence, but like many things, it requires a unique blend of expertise, customer understanding and the creation of tailored communications that resonate with the audience.
Mark Rowlands, Corporate benefits marketing development director, AXA Life
The views and opinions in this article are those of our sponsor, AXA, and do not necessarily reflect those of www.employeebenefits.co.uk.