Could technology be the answer to pensions engagement? To some extent, yes. PensionBee and Smart Pension being integrated into Yolt and Alexa, respectively, increases the points at which they are visible, and makes employees’ user journey smoother. Simpler touches, such as using educational videos rather than long reams of text, or having an intuitive web portal, also show how the digital age is making things easier for employees.
Nevertheless, there is an elephant in the room: providing user-friendly access is not enough when pensions mean very little to the individual being targeted.
For many employees, especially younger ones, pensions do not feel relevant. They are not part of their conscious experience, or their everyday concerns. Technology cannot and will not solve this alone; pensions have to become relevant as a first step.
Taking a lesson from the streamlined approach of the digital age, organisations should resist steaming in with a load of jargon, and instead consider the simple message that will best reach the most disengaged members of staff.
For example, younger employees are often financially anxious but very passionate about social and environmental issues. So, talking about climate change, and how their pension can play a part in solving it, might be an effective approach.
Our pensions build the world around us, and there are many points in the day where we interact with something they have funded; employers can bring this into the forefront of employees’ minds by talking about these products, organisations, infrastructure projects and more, rather than focusing on distant retirement prospects.
Combine this positive, engaging message with a platform that reaches employees at the right time and place and makes their user journey simple, and we could be on to something.
Michael Kind is project officer, research and development, at ShareAction