Author Profile Picture

David Boardman


Director of Communication and Engagement

Read more about David Boardman

Boring to brilliant: empowering your employees to understand their pension


It goes without saying that a good company pension scheme is one of the best benefits a company can offer its employees.

Despite this, many employees still aren’t aware of the value of their company’s pension benefits.

In fact, pension schemes often trigger a range of emotions, with financial planning and retirement regarded as complicated, boring, and even frightening. In fact, recent research by Money Saving Heroes suggests that over 50% of people don’t understand their own pension schemes and one in eight don’t know for sure if they have a workplace pension or not.  

Most surprising of all is that only 10% of those who are aware of their company pension schemes know roughly how much that pension pot is worth.

Successfully engaging employees with a pension scheme can seem a hard mountain to climb, but it doesn’t have to be this way.

Change the way your employees see their pension pot

In an era where fewer individuals are planning to save for retirement, good communication around pensions is more important than ever.

The key to promoting pensions in the most positive way possible is simply by flipping the tables on how your employees view them.

There’s no point telling them about all the benefits of their pension pot if they don’t understand the ‘jargon’.

This is not only fundamental in helping them plan their future, but it enhances employee engagement – enabling them to feel valued, which helps to recruit and retain the best of the best talent.

So what exactly can be done to change the way your employees look at their retirement planning?

It might be surprising, but there are plenty of ways in which the communication around pensions can be converted into something that is both informative and fun.

Pension talk shouldn’t send your employees to sleep

Demystifying the wonderful world of pensions for your employees is the most important place to start.

There’s no point telling them about all the benefits of their pension pot if they don’t understand the ‘jargon’.

It’s fair to say that those working in the pensions industry revel in words with three or more syllables – actuarial reduction, anyone?

You mustn’t forget, however, that your employees are unlikely to all be pension experts. Cutting through swathes of jargon is key to driving engagement and awareness and empowering employees to take control of their retirement planning.

It’s just the same as with Love Island – if you haven’t watched the show and don’t know the language, it can be hard to get your head around the vocabulary.  

“Stop being a melt”, “she is peng” and “I’m gonna chirpse that sort” won’t mean anything to those who don’t watch the show – but learn the lingo, and suddenly it all becomes clear.  

Creativity is key

Communications around pensions should be bold, eye-catching, and thought provoking. Ultimately, they should spark interest and get people talking.

Using the tried and trusted marketing tool of A.I.D.A. (Attention, Interest, Desire, Action) is the key.

One successful method of getting people talking in the office is by tailoring the material around mainstream themes that are not stereotypically associated with pensions – it could be a TV show, a film or even a song (e.g. The Great British Bake Off, Justin Bieber, Strictly or Muriel’s Wedding).

To maintain excitement about pensions, it’s important to continually refresh and rethink your approach to engagement, based on what your employees require.

While they might seem completely unrelated, themes can spark the imagination, enabling you to play with words, all to effectively get your message across.

A strong theme creates a great sense of theatre that, in turn, can provide a strong call to action.

It’s up to you how far you decide to take it and how you use the various communication channels to get your message across consistently. If you’re going to use a theme, embrace it fully and with gusto.

Be passionate about pensions

To maintain excitement about pensions, it’s important to continually refresh and rethink your approach to engagement, based on what your employees require.

Find out how much your employees actually know about pensions through a quiz, for example.

It’s a quick and simple tool that can determine someone’s level of pension knowledge and inform your choices on what you need to further educate them on. Plus, who doesn’t love a quiz?

Don’t forget that each employee is going to have a different level of understanding of pensions, based on a number of factors.

Someone at the start of their career will engage in a very different way to someone who may be thinking of taking early retirement.

To tackle this, frame information around typical personas – such as someone who wants to cut down to part-time hours but doesn’t know how this will affect their retirement package, or someone who has just got back from maternity leave.

By doing so, employees can easily navigate their way to information that’s relevant to them without getting overwhelmed.

To break through the predominantly negative preconceptions that come with retirement planning, it pays to be bold.

The fact that pensions are typically perceived in such a negative light gives ample opportunity to think of some unusual and engaging ways to turn those perceptions on their heads.

The key is knowing how to think creatively and laterally around communications so that information is thought provoking, engaging, informative and fun.

Interested in this topic? Read Leading the savings revolution: why it’s time to change perceptions on pensions.

One Response

  1. I couldn’t agree more David.
    I couldn’t agree more David. Helping Trustees and company pension managers to be brave about how they communicate about their pension is part of this. So it’s great to hear that there are more advocates for an imaginative approach to pension comms that starts to dispel the myth that this has to be difficult or boring.

Author Profile Picture
David Boardman

Director of Communication and Engagement

Read more from David Boardman

Get the latest from HRZone.

Subscribe to expert insights on how to create a better workplace for both your business and its people.


Thank you.

Thank you! Your subscription has been confirmed. You'll hear from us soon.
Subscribe to HRZone's newsletter