When Ruth Patten joined Scapa Group as group reward manager in June 2014, she had a barrage of questions about the pension schemes in place.
She was particularly keen to understand the level of financial awareness among employees at the global bonding product and adhesive components manufacturer.
“[I wanted to know] how much they really knew about pensions and how much of that is in the context of a wider financial savviness,” she says.
Patten found that most staff have a good understanding of when they want to retire, but had a limited understanding of their pension.
“We have a smart employee population, but they had less awareness around the pension than I would have hoped for,” she says.
“I think this comes from a culture of employers having always provided very little choice on DB schemes and everything pretty much happening for [staff, which means that] they have had many years of not having to think about an investment strategy,” she adds.
Consequently, Patten had to comsider, in conjunction with the organisation’s pensions consultancy Barnett Waddingham, how best to communicate to staff, and the most appropriate messages to use.
Scapa, which operates a group personal pension scheme, provided by Zurich, and a closed DB scheme, has a workforce with a vast mix of employees including a high proportion aged over 50, a large proportion in highly skilled roles that sit within manufacturing and production and a lot of long-serving employees, as well as employees that do not have a personal email account.
Patten says: “We have started to understand where the gaps [in understanding] are, where we need to put more explanation in and where to segment communications.”