Property consultancy Gerald Eve, which employs more than 430 staff across nine UK offices, utilises a range of communication channels and topical and lifestage-focused financial education support to engage its employees with pension saving.
Gerald Eve has a high pensions take-up rate, with 93% of eligible employees saving into the group self-invested personal pension (Sipp) scheme offered by the organisation through a pensions salary sacrifice arrangement.
The organisation also runs a scheme that enables staff to waive some of their bonus directly into their pension. Employees are reminded of the scheme in communications about their annual salary review. Helen Foley, HR manager at Gerald Eve, says: “We had an increase in take-up [of this scheme] this year compared to previous years, so it’s clearly something that people are starting to use more and think about more.”
Staff have access to an online workplace savings platform, provided by Hargreaves Lansdown, which enables them to take an active role in their pension investments should they choose to. The platform also provides access to other savings vehicles, such as a stocks and shares individual savings account (Isa) and a cash Isa.
Gerald Eve ensures its employees are informed about their pension options from day one; new starters receive informational material from both the employer and pension provider upon joining the firm, and each September Gerald Eve’s graduate intake participates in a financial education session to engage them with saving from the very beginning of their tenure with the organisation.
One-to-one financial education sessions, run by Hargreaves Lansdown, are available to staff on site around twice a year, in addition to group sessions. As a follow-on from the graduate sessions, the organisation has also offered financial education support to staff that addresses the factors that may be most important to them through different life stages, whether that be preparing to have a family or approaching retirement. Employees who are beginning to think about retirement also have the opportunity to take part in off-site seminars, provided by Close Brothers.
Foley says: “We’re lucky in that most of our managers are very transparent and able to have those open and honest conversations about long-term planning. That’s important in terms of succession planning and planning for the business, and being able to support [staff] in the right way in terms of planning for retirement.”
Information about the workplace pension scheme is available on the intranet, in addition to communications in emails and the organisation’s HR newsletter. Gerald Eve makes use of targeted emails to inform employees about changes to pensions legislation that are relevant to them, which are designed to complement communications sent out by its pension provider. The organisation gave staff the opportunity to attend a session focusing on the annual and lifetime allowance reductions, run by its pension provider, and plans to offer another session on this topic later this year to increase employees’ awareness of the changes.
“We find that it’s about doing what makes sense at the right time,” explains Foley. “With all the changes in pension legislation, it makes sense to have people come in for face-to-face sessions, but we have also sent out emails targeted at different groups that would probably be more affected by the changes.”