Understanding pensions: How can HR help?

Here's how to reach out to hesitant staff to matters concerning the 'm' word

Understanding pensions: How can HR help?

A new research has found that employees are less likely to trust their employers and HR regarding their pensions and long-term savings – which are some of the support workplaces offer when it comes to financial well-being.

According to Aviva's Working Lives Report 2022: The Big Squeeze, only 15% of employees trust their employers, human resources, or line manager to guide them on pensions and long-term savings.

They become the least likely options, as employees trust their own research (26%) and pension scheme provider (19%) more.

Aviva's report also said that only 19% of employees feel comfortable retiring with their workplace pension, with 34% still feeling it will not be enough.

Emma Douglas, Aviva's director of workplace savings & retirement, stressed that it is critical that employers talk to their staff about money worries.

"This is an unusually tough time for people and the extent of financial hardship will be unique for everyone. It is more important than ever that employers encourage their people to talk to them about money worries, and employees take-up any financial education or guidance their employer is able to offer," said Douglas in a statement.

So, how can HR do it? Aviva identified the following four steps for employers to help employee understand their pension:

  • Start at the beginning. Check whether your induction process covers workplace pensions for new joiners.
  • Embrace technology. Pension providers often have apps and online tools which show the potential effect of increasing or decreasing payments.
  • Offer financial education. Hosting financial education seminars is a good way to get people thinking about their future.
  • Tell them, and then tell them again. Keep employees switched onto the benefits their workplace scheme offers by reminding them of the facts on a regular basis.

Read more: Employees moving between provinces? Stay on top of pension changes

Money is one of the topics under workplace taboos that needs to end – and Aviva's recent study seems to point to this direction.

According to the report, employees aged between 25 and 34 are most likely to talk about financial wellbeing with their employer or line manager.

They are followed by employees aged between 18 and 24 (31%), 35 and 44 (28%), over 65 (26%), 55 and 64 (17%), and then 45 and 54 (12%).

Douglas, while commending the direction of the workforce when it comes to finances, emphasised that it is important that all generations of workers open up about their financial well-being.

"Talking money with an employer appears to be one of the last workplace taboos. Young workers are clearly breaking down the stigma associated with talking to the boss about the 'm' word, but it is important that all generations of workers feel they can talk about their financial wellbeing with their employer," said Douglas.

"One of the areas that employers can offer important support is retirement savings. Pensions are designed to be a long-term investment and any decisions made today will echo throughout a person's retirement."

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