Martindale Pharma ups pensions engagement

EB Summit 2014: Martindale Pharma increased employee pension contributions by 60% after switching providers for its group personal pension (GPP) scheme and holding a series of pension presentations for its 400 employees.

Martindale Pharma

The number of members actively making fund choices also increased from just two employees to 73% of members, while 67% of employees had improved attitudes towards the organisation as a result of the initiatives, explained Keith Baker, payroll and HR information systems manager at CMC Markets and former head of compensation and benefits at Martindale Pharma.

Speaking in a session titled ‘Communicating a revamped pension and benefits package to employees’ at the Employee Benefits Summit in Alicante, Spain, on 15 May, Baker said: “You only know if communications are really successful if people take action.”

Clear goals

Prior to implementing the project, the organisation identified clear goals. These included: launching pensions salary sacrifice to fund auto-enrolment; increasing the contributions employees made; encouraging members to make active fund choices based on their risk appetite; and, prior to reaching its auto-enrolment staging date, encouraging staff to join the pension scheme, explained Baker.

After switching its GPP provider to Aegon, Martindale Pharma held pension presentations at each of its three sites, aimed at both existing and non members.

The presentations explained how lifestyling works and details of the plan’s default fund, as well as encouraging staff to think about their risk appetite. It also encouraged members to actively select an investment option during the event.

To reach its night shift workers, the organisation held ‘pizza and pension’ events.

In addition, it sent a letter to all employees setting out how different contribution levels would impact their net pay. “We were shocked at how many employees didn’t know about the organisation’s contribution,” said Baker.

The results

Following the presentations, the average employee contribution increased from 4.4% to 5.4%.

In addition, 90% of those that attended a presentation and provided feedback said their pensions knowledge had improved.

More than two-thirds (68%) of members also opted into the new pensions salary sacrifice arrangement.

As a result, the organisation’s savings equated to £28,000 per annum, which it has used to fund auto-enrolment, increase life cover from two times to four-times salary, and replace its underwritten private medical insurance (PMI) scheme with a scheme that disregards medical history.