Novae Group boosts staff engagement

When making changes to its pension scheme, insurance underwriter Novae Group noticed that staff engagement with its benefits was very low.

In 2011, the organisation changed from a trust-based pension to a group personal pension and arranged for all members of the scheme to have one-to-one financial education meetings.

John Renz, director of HR, says: “First of all, we wanted to explain the nature of those changes, but also essentially to put people’s personal positions through the car wash.

“It then became apparent that there are broader and bigger issues because people were not fully appreciative of the economic value of their total package, and were also not managing it to the best effect in terms of their tax planning and future wealth management.”

Novae implemented a wealth management programme with Lorica Consulting, driven by the pension change, and also relaunched its total reward statements in 2012. “The real purpose of this was to help people understand the full value of their benefits, so we hope it will also improve levels of engagement, both in the process and in the business,” says Renz.

“We want to differentiate much more readily between high-performing individuals and less-high-performing individuals. A starting point for that is to make everybody understand what the proposition is in our company.”

Novae monitors employees at an aggregate level, measuring how many visit the pension website and how many actively use it. It is tracking whether they are, for example, changing their investment choices, or altering what they do with their equity, which forms part of the remuneration for its senior staff.

“We have had a very low participation level in the past of [employees] going onto their benefits page, the HR system or the pensions website,” says Renz. “That has gone up significantly.”