The introduction of auto-enrolment across many large organisations signals a change in the way we, as employers, think about pensions, but will it really make a difference to the ‘typical’ employee? Is the ‘average Joe’ in a position to contribute to a pension or are finances simply too tight at the moment? If so, have we just ignored the wishes of the majority of employees (who need every bit of spare cash right now) and will we see large numbers opting out from their scheme?

If there’s one thing that I have learnt over the years delivering staff reward andrecognition programmes it’s that in order for any employee benefit to work it must be fully understood by the employee. Auto-enroling employees sounds great in theory, but if an employer fails to effectively communicate the value of their pension scheme to its’ employees then what’s to prevent a lot of worried members of staff come payday? When they look down at their payslip and alongside the already depressing deductions of tax and national insurance they see yet another cost to factor into the mass of monthly expenses…

Our own research here at p&mm has shown that participants of an NHS voluntary benefit cashback savings scheme are far more likely to fully utilise that benefit if they receive a mixture of personalised communications materials, using a variety of media, at each stage of the sign up process.

Buy-in to the proposition in the long term depends on whether they really get to grips with the cashback savingson offer in the first few weeks.* The same theory could apply to pensions, after all, is auto-enrolment not simply a method of tackling employee apathy? Without great communication from employers the pension deficit may remain. Employees could simply choose to opt out through a lack of understanding or prioritising other expenses over what could be a fantastic savings scheme.

*NHS Cashback savings research

Rolling out the welcome mat increases cardholder engagement.

Based on a test bed of over 15,000 NHS employees p&mm distributed a suite of communications in the first 3 months of the participant lifecycle (in this case owners of a prepaid card with which NHS employees could make cashback savings on shopping). At the same time we retained a 10% control cell who were held back from receiving these latest comms materials.

Following a 3 month trial period when comparing the control cell to the test cell across set KPI’s our insight team concluded that the test cell (those receiving the welcome pack) outperformed the control cell across the board.  After 3 months;

This resulted in significant cashback savings earned by NHS employees simply by opting into a voluntary benefits scheme. In fact, to date more than £250,000 has been earned by employees in cashback.

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