University of Lincoln supports staff with retirement planning

EXCLUSIVE: University of Lincoln to discuss reinventing benefit strategies during Covid-19 at EB Reset 2020The University of Lincoln employs more than 2,000 workers in a range of both academic and professional roles and is one of the largest employers in the city of Lincoln.

The university acknowledges that in academia, people can, and often do, work into their later years, and often receives requests from staff to either retire fully, or work part time and take flexible retirement.

Agreeing to these requests enables the university to retain employees’ knowledge, experience and contribution to the curriculum but also allows staff to devote time to their other interests, explains Natasha McLaren, pensions manager at the University of Lincoln.

“We have recently launched a flexible working into retirement policy to encourage staff to think about their plans in the run up to retirement,” she says. “The university is committed to supporting a healthy work-life balance for all employees and this extends to planning working arrangements up to retirement, as well as navigating the transition from work into retirement.

By raising the profile of this option, the organisation hopes that more staff consider it and have conversations with their line managers about what the next five to 10 years could look like. These could include workers varying their working arrangements by either reducing the number of hours or weeks worked or the level of duties they undertake, which can have a positive impact on engagement and employee relations.

The university offers support and guides employees through the transition into retirement through its Lifechoice website, signposting to guidance and useful information on financial planning, pension support, income in retirement, working in retirement, health and wellbeing, and inheritance.

“We also provide a programme of financial education to help all employees understand and plan for their financial future in the form of webinars, which cover planning for retirement, power of attorney, wills and trusts, guardianship, obtaining financial advice, state pension and other state benefits, supporting family and friends, managing money, and taxation,” McLaren says. “These are provided in conjunction with our financial education provider which has worked with us over a number of years and really understands our business, our benefits and our staff.”

In addition, one-to-one financial guidance calls and clinics are available, as well as an online financial health checker tool, which guides employees around their finances based on the answers given, providing an action list to help achieve financial goals and recommendations for further learning and access to online resources.

McLaren recommends engaging with staff regarding their pensions and retirement early on in their careers. “Engage with staff, develop [a] financial wellbeing strategy in conjunction with other wellbeing strategies, and educate managers to support staff in the run up to retirement,” she says.