Nationwide uses matching contributions to encourage employees to save more


Nationwide Building Society’s 18,000 employees benefit from generous minimum pension contributions; they save 4% of their salary into their pension pot, while their employer adds a further 13%.

To encourage positive spending habits even further, however, the organisation also offers to match employees’ contributions if they save over and above this core auto-enrolment level. Nationwide nudges staff to contribute an extra 3% to their savings. If they do, the building society adds another 3% on top of its core contribution. This approach was first introduced in 2017.

Amanda Innes, internal communication partner at Nationwide Building Society, explains: “We nudge our [defined contribution (DC)] employees by resetting their additional contributions to 3% each year.”

The strategy forms part of the building society’s ‘youchoose’ initiative, which has been running for a number of years. This runs during October and part of November each year, and allows employees to reset their pension contributions to a level that suits them. However, the aim is to keep staff saving at the maximum level.

The results are impressive: more than 80% of Nationwide’s employees save more than the minimum core contributions, a statistic which has remained consistent year on year.

In September, just prior to the annual ‘youchoose’ period, Nationwide Building Society communicates to all its employees about the importance of saving. For the last two years, it has done this via an e-learning module, which explains to staff about retirement, the pensions available at the organisation and the state pension, among other areas.

The e-learning module takes around 15 minutes to complete, and gets strong levels of engagement. “We have a 95% completion rate for all our employees,” says Innes.

The aim is to encourage employees to think about whether they are saving enough. “It is a nudge to keep them thinking about their pension,” Innes explains. At the end of the module, there is also a downloadable checklist to help savers stay on track.

Nationwide Building Society also strives to encourage engagement with pensions by offering DC savers access to Hymans Robertson’s Guided Outcomes tool, which they can access directly through their employee benefits portal, eliminating the need for multiple passwords.

Using this tool, which was introduced in 2017, staff members can set an income they want to achieve at retirement, and plan how to reach it.

We send [savers] regular reminders about logging into Guided Outcomes so that they can check they are on track for the retirement they want,” says Innes.

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