30% of respondents do not communicate pensions to staff

Almost a third (30%) of respondents do not communicate with employees about their pensions, according to research by Aviva.

The first Aviva Working lives report surveyed 2,004 private sector employees and 210 employers in the first quarter of 2012.

A quarter (24%) of employers surveyed leave it to the pension provider or trustee to communicate with staff about pensions. Only 8% said pensions communication is part of regular line manager conversations and 4% said that they have a query point so employees can raise questions about pensions.

Additional findings exclusive to Employee Benefits include:

  • 20% of employers engage staff in their pension when they join the organisation, while 16% communicate pensions when there are challenges to legislation and 12% communicate pensions when there are updates to the scheme.
  • 19% of employees want to hear about workplace savings once a year, while 18% wanted information on a regular basis, and 17% wanted information to be accessible via a secure intranet site.
  • 31% of employees rely on annual statements to get information about their pension scheme, while 22% do so using the company intranet, 16% by reading the company newsletter, 18% rely on a financial adviser, and 14% rely on colleagues.
  • Outside of their employer, the media (24%) of the most common external source of information about workplace pensions for employees, while 21% get information from family and friends, 17% use their pension provider, 13% use a financial adviser and 15% go directly to the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).

Graham Boffey, managing director of corporate benefits at Aviva, said: “With the cost of recruitment so high and employers mindful of making pay increases in an uncertain economic environment, a well-designed benefits package makes all the difference to recruiting new staff, and keeping existing staff motivated.

“However, our new Working Lives research shows that, as well as providing workplace savings and benefit options, employers need to focus on communicating the right type of information, in a relevant and timely fashion.

“Over a third of employees’ we spoke to wanted instant access to information about their pension or workplace benefits. However, just 12% of employers said that they actively communicate on this level – most only talk to their staff when something changes to their pension, legislation or their personal circumstances.

“With the advent of automatic enrolment, more people than ever will have the chance to make a difference to their retirement fund. To make sure that employees stay in a pension scheme and actively save towards their retirement, we all need to do more to communicate and engage with them now.”

More widely released findings from the report include:

•70% of employers are aware of pension reform changes, but 68% of employees have little or no knowledge of auto-enrolment yet.

•43% of employers said they are already preparing for the changes they will need to make to comply with the changes.

•43% of employees currently without a pension said they would remain in a scheme once they were automatically enrolled.

•53% of employees are concerned about how their pay compares to the cost of living, while 58% of employers worry most about keeping up with the competition.

•56% of employees said pensions are the best way to save for retirement, but only 35% of respondents are saving into one.

•39% of employers are looking to motivate staff without ‘unduly increasing remuneration’.

•46% of employers said they designed their pay and benefits package carefully to control costs.

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