10% of Bayer pension members increased contributions

EXCLUSIVE: One in 10 (10%) of Bayer’s 9,000 pension scheme members have increased their pension contributions since the organisation re-branded its pension communications in 2013.


More than 800 employees are members of the pharmaceutical organisation’s trust-based defined contribution (DC) pension, while 7,000 employees are members of its defined benefit (DB) pension, which has been closed to new members since May 2007, and 535 employees are members of both schemes.

Matched pension contributions

The trust-based DC pension scheme offers generous employer contributions. For instance, if an employee contributes 2%, Bayer contributes 5% or if an employee contributes 9%, Bayer contributes 12%, for a total 21% contribution.

Matched employer contributions also include the ratios: 3:6, 4:7, 5:8, 6:9, 7:10 and 8:11.

Leanne Coomber, secretary to the trustees of Bayer, said: “Communication is really high on the trustee agenda at the moment. We’re keen to increase engagement with the membership of the pension schemes.

“In today’s world, catching members’ attention and drawing them to something as unexciting as pensions is a difficult task.

“We wanted to give our communications a brand, so when it landed through employees’ doors, it would be instantly recognised as being part of the pension scheme. The overall target was to increase employee engagement.”

Branded communications

Bayer worked with communications specialist Shilling to re-brand its paper-based pensions statements, which were posted to employees in August 2013.

In November, it launched a pensions website, where employees can log in for all the details about their scheme(s), followed by a newsletter to remind employees about the website in December.

“We didn’t just want to use the company branding,” said Coomber. ”We wanted to move away from that and have our own pension scheme branding.

“The focus on that, from Shilling, was to separate the company side of it, and create something that the members instantly recognised. There is a different colour scheme for a DC member, a DB member and employees that have both benefits.

“This comes through in all our communications now. For instance, if we were to do a newsletter, certain members would know they only need to look at the pink pages. We really wanted to cut down on them having to troll through the whole newsletter, when some of the information wasn’t meant for them.”

Employee feedback

Bayer ran a competition when it launched the website so that employees who provided feedback on the new brand were instantly entered into a draw to win an iPad Mini.

“We had lots of feedback,” said Coomber. “Everybody was impressed with the branding, how clear and easy the communications was to read, and how easy it was to find information on the website.”

Auto-enrolment staging

Bayer auto-enrolled around 100 new members into the trust-based DC pension on 1 October 2013.

“The DC scheme was already compliant,” added Coomber. “It was just internal payroll changes.”