With about 2,000 employees enrolled across six pension schemes, the University of Lincoln faces a considerable challenge when it comes to reaching its entire workforce, let alone effectively engaging staff with pensions.
To position retirement savings as a key element of the employee journey and the overall reward package, the university promotes pensions, along with information about the other benefits on offer, from the very start of an employee’s recruitment.
However, while this sends a clear message about the importance of retirement savings, the university is understanding of the fact that a new employee will be inundated with information. New recruits are sent a follow-up factsheet six months into their job. This highlights the importance of looking into their pension provision and planning for the future, and has information on practical questions, such as how to transfer a pension pot.
Natasha McLaren, pension and benefits manager, says: “That’s quite a good way to remind people, because they get so much information at the start and they are thinking more about their job, so they find [the factsheet] quite useful.”
To build on this introduction, the organisation provides financial education workshops in April and November each year, tailored for employees at the early, middle and late stages of their careers. These workshops cover a range of topics, including salary sacrifice arrangements, additional voluntary contributions, and how tax relief works.
These also position pensions alongside information on other benefits and issues, such as looking at credit scores and budgeting, and how career progression might affect an employee’s financial situation. For example, if an employee is awarded a pay increase, they might consider putting the extra money into a pension or an individual saving account (Isa).
This financial education programme is an important part of positioning pensions within the range of benefits available to employees throughout their time with the organisation, says McLaren. “It’s talking about the bigger picture, rather than specifically about pensions,” she concludes.