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Pension engagement is not just for the beginning and end

Karen Bolan

Typically the peak levels of interaction with members from schemes come at the beginning, when they first enter the scheme and then when they are preparing to retire. Contributor Karen Bolan, Head of Engagement at AHC.

Whilst this is understandable to a point, as they are the key points where understanding and interaction are required, this does not mean that the period of membership in between is just a simple pathway to follow that requires no direction. And whilst there has been some thought recently that wake-up packs five years before retirement are enough to make late changes, these only address one part of the issue.

“Five years may be enough to top-up a pension that isn’t quite where you want it to be, but it’s not enough time to save adequately if the pension pot has been neglected until that point. Instead we need to try and engage with members regularly from their very first contribution and look at focal points throughout their life than will resonate with them. This could be anything from when they reach a landmark pot value, a certain age or even a communication triggered by a promotion and pay rise that urges them to think about allocating some of their new higher wage to their pension.”

Bolan added: “Another critical element to consider is not just when members are contacted but, significantly, how. Wake-up packs without dense jargon and with clear visual aids are a good start to helping members absorb and simply understand the information they receive. But in a world that is increasingly digital and paperless, where people want to access their information in different ways and on demand, it seems logical the pensions should also follow this lead.

“Demystifying pensions is a central step in engaging members, but this can’t be done purely through frequency of contact – it needs to be achieved via dynamic, modern and mobile communications that incorporate video, games, personalised portals and the ability to make decisions on the go. Quite simply, it’s time to be a bit cleverer about the how, when and why when it comes to communicating with members.”

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