Unilever is to run the first generation-specific financial workshops for its staff this year.
The consumer goods organisation launched a financial education programme to its workforce in 2012 as part of an overhaul of its pension scheme provision.
Unilever closed its defined benefit (DB) pension scheme in June 2012 and replaced it with a hybrid career average and defined contribution (DC) scheme , managed by Fidelity Worldwide Investment, of which about 8,000 of its employees are members.
Just 80 staff opted out of the scheme following the organisation’s auto-enrolment staging date on 1 July 2013. Unilever has contractually enrolled employees into its workplace pension since 2005.
Its education programme began with a series of pension-focused workshops and access to one-to-one advisory sessions with pension adviser First Actuarial, during which employees could discuss their pension options.
Wider financial issues
The programme was extended to focus on wider financial issues in 2013. About 1,600 employees attended workshops across 16 of Unilever’s UK sites which focused on topics such as income versus expenditure, budgeting, savings and debt management. The sessions also covered Unilever’s employee benefits package, reminding staff about the savings vehicles on offer, such as share schemes.
Andy Dunlop, pensions communication manager at Unilever, says: “We thought a generic workshop was the best way to start. This year we’re running two types of workshop. The first one is aimed at staff who are starting to think about retirement, so broadly those around 45, looking at their target income in retirement, their actual income so far and how they bridge the gap.
“The second workshop is aimed at staff who perhaps aren’t thinking about retirement just yet, so broadly under 45, and looking at savings and investments. We’re trying to demystify investment asset classes and ramp up the education of staff on savings versus debt.”
Dunlop says Unilever has yet to work out how to measure the impact of the programme , but he believes that helping to remove financial stress and worries will make for a happier and more productive workforce.