Report calls for more pensions reassurance

Reward and pensions professionals need to put employee communication and reassurance front and centre if they want to maintain engagement when they carry out a pension scheme change consultation, according to a new report.

The document, titled Pension change consultation: turning a legal requirement into an engagement opportunity from insurance broker Gallagher, claimed it is vital members and staff have “real clarity” about what any change is going to mean for them and their future retirement income and financial wellbeing.

The report sets out a five-point process that the insurer believes will allow employers to transform ‘the pension change narrative’, should they choose to embrace it.

Roger Hattam, managing director of Gallagher’s employee communication practice, said: “It is critical that we get this right – not just technically and legally, but to ensure members and employees have real clarity about what the change in question means for them, their families and their futures.”

He explained that in pensions, change can take many forms; each with one thing in common – a consultation that lasts a minimum of 60 days.

“What we communicate during that period has an impact on members for perhaps 30-40 years of their lives, so making sure it is right and understood is our moral responsibility,” Hattam added.

According to Gallagher, the five keys to change consultation success include to: set yourself up for success, establish trust and credibility, maintain the momentum, communicate the outcome and seize the opportunity.

“Employers must work in a spirit of co-operation with affected employees, considering the interests of both sides and taking all responses into account throughout the process,” Gallagher advised.

The report further stated that when the consultation is over, there is an opportunity to capitalise on the momentum gained during what has been a prolonged period of member contact.

“This is about ensuring that consultants have a compelling content strategy in place and that you continue to share regular information and updates,” concluded Hattam.