Lovewell’s Logic: New thinking needed around pensions?

Here at Employee Benefits, we regularly receive press releases and reports detailing how many people are still not saving enough for retirement.

Figures from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) in August, for example, found that almost half of all working age people are failing to save enough.

Debbie Lovewell, deputy editor, Employee Benefits

However, Swedish retailer Ikea has come up with a clever approach to boost employees’ pension pots by rewarding performance with additional pensions contributions.

This year, it has doubled the size of the budget available for its Tack! (Swedish for thank you) scheme to €200 million, which has resulted in its 3,700 eligible UK employees receiving a one-off lump sum payment worth roughly £1,229 into their pension pot, regardless of their department, position or salary.

Now, I’m not naïve enough to think that a one-off payment will result in a vastly different lifestyle in retirement, but for staff who rack up a number of years’ service with the organisation, there’s no doubt that it will make a difference – as long as targets continue to be met.

This type of scheme also helps to overcome one of the main reasons people give for not saving more: that they have more pressing current financial needs. Paying a bonus directly into an employee’s pension pot means it won’t be swallowed up by everyday expenses.

And while there will undoubtedly be some employees who would rather be given the cash, I wonder how many of them will appreciate the gesture later in life when they are able to live more comfortably in retirement?

I know there are other employers doing some great things to help their staff save, but if we are truly to overcome the issue of people not saving enough for retirement, more initiatives like this are needed.

Debbie Lovewell-Tuck
Follow on Twitter: @DebbieLovewell