Heineken awarded for pensions communication


Pub, cider and beer organisation Heineken has been awarded the Pension Quality Mark’s {PQM) Distinction Award for its approach to pension communication.

The accolade, which was announced at the Pension and Lifetime Savings Association’s (PLSA) annual conference in Manchester, praised Heineken for providing information to its employees using friendly and easy-to-understand terminology, as well as for focusing on what staff wanted to know, opposed to what the organisation was legally obliged to inform them.

Heineken’s contract-based defined contribution (DC) scheme, the Flexible Retirement Plan, which launched in July 2011, currently has 2,068 members with less than a 1% opt-out. The scheme, which is administered by Standard Life, is also valued at approximately £84 million.

Prior to January 2017, members joined on a step-up calculation basis, with contributions starting at 3% and ending at 5%. Heineken double matches up to 10% for new starters. Employees can pay in more than 5%. Under the step-up calculation structure, Heineken noted that some employees elected not to increase contributions automatically and retained a 3% or 4% contribution level. To encourage engagement, Heineken changed the default option to 5% or 10% in January 2017. Employees have the option to reduce their contribution to 3% or 4% but most have remained at the higher level.

For the past three years, Heineken has sought employee feedback via a communications survey. This feedback has been used to further improve communications, including the introduction of quarterly pension clinics at all sites.

Heineken also organises regular roadshows at its five locations; Edinburgh, London, Hereford, Manchester and Tadcaster, allowing employees to ask questions face-to-face.

Jane Brydon, HR director at Heineken in the UK, said: “We truly believe in enjoyment of life. As such we make huge effort to ensure the wellbeing, both physically and mentally, of our [employees] throughout their career. But of course, it doesn’t stop there. Our Flexible Retirement Plan, and the communications around it, mean our [employees] receive the best possible pension offering.

“We have developed it with our [employees], through roadshows and individual one-to-one sessions.

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“We are really proud to have won this award as it is a clear signal to our [employees] and potential [employees] who may be looking for their next role that Heineken is a great place to work.”

Gregg McClymont (pictured), PQM chair, added: “There were numerous ways that Heineken stood out from the competition, but for me, the emphasis in communications placed on increasing contributions is key, [because] it shows [its] dedication to staff achieving a good income in retirement.”