Ian McKenna: Smart technology can drive engagement with retirement savings


Achieving effective engagement with employees about their retirementbenefits is crucial for an employer to get the best return on such spend. If people do not understand something, it is virtually impossible for them to appreciate its value.

Smartphones and tablets can now make this far easier, but this needs more than just a mobile version of an employer’s old benefits portal. To get the best traction the experience should be truly personalised. Integrating information that gives insights in the context of individuals’ day-to-day lives can take engagement to a whole new level.

Intelliflo, the leading CRM software supplier to UK financial advisers, added a Personal Financial Management (PFM) module to their client portal last August. PFM uses information from users’ online banking, credit cards and other personal finance data to provide a far more informed view of individuals’ finances. Of the 700 adviser firms who offer this Intelliflo service to their clients, 250 already find customers using it every day.

The most advanced example of PFM we have seen in the employee benefits market is Aon’s Bigblue service. As well as enabling staff to better understand their day-to-day finances, they can project forward their retirement income needs based on their real expenditure, including any other retirement savings schemes they may have in addition to their employer arrangements.

Health data from wearable devices is another great way to drive member engagement. Mercer’s Harmonise platform now integrates information from devices such as Fitbits and the Apple watch into healthcareinformation. An increasing and diverse range of organisations will enhance employee engagement via mobile apps. For example, accounting software provider Xero offers an employee app, Xero Me, which delivers payslips, enables holiday requests and even allows staff to complete time-sheets from their mobiles.

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In the future, integrating different services without confusing staff will be an important consideration for HR and benefit teams in achieving the most effective engagement.

Ian McKenna is director at the Finance and Technology Research Centre