Ageas Insurance’s journey to boost employee engagement with its pension scheme started back in 2013. Nick Cansfield, head of reward and policy at Ageas Insurance, explains: “We’d grown through acquisitions so there were lots of different schemes in place. With auto-enrolment approaching, we decided it would be simpler to have one scheme, a Scottish Widows group personal pension, with one contribution schedule.”
The next important step came three years later in 2016, when the insurer, which employs around 4,000 people, was starting its auto-re-enrolment process. “It’s not enough to put a paragraph of pension jargon in employees’ contracts,” says Cansfield. “We knew that by making it fun we’d encourage more employees to join so when Scottish Widows suggested a visit with the Pension Geeks bus and the actual Scottish widow, we leapt at the opportunity. It’s a brilliant idea: as well as bite-size presentations and apps, they’re so warm and welcoming it makes pensions much more engaging.”
To encourage more employees to check out the bus, the organisation’s board also got involved. “They were handing out postcards to employees; it created a real buzz,” explains Cansfield. “Our Stoke office is a great example of this. Of the 450 employees there, almost half visited the bus.”
While the bus helped to raise excitement levels around the organisation’s pension, this was supplemented with a wider engagement campaign. This included pension workshops, broader financial planning sessions, targeted pension communications and a competitive loan scheme to enable employees to get to a point where they can save for retirement.
Overall, it has delivered some significant results. Of the 171 employees who had previously opted-out, 88 decided to stay in at re-enrolment, plus 82 of the 399 employees who were not eligible have also joined. “We’re always looking for ways to increase engagement,” adds Cansfield. “The more employees understand pensions, the more they benefit.”