How a Workplace Pension Scheme is the Powerhouse for Talent Retention


HR Insights for ProfessionalsThe latest thought leadership for HR pros

Wednesday, June 10, 2020

Employers that support their workforce in their preparations for retirement could see the benefits in terms of employee engagement and motivation.

Article 4 Minutes
How a Workplace Pension Scheme is the Powerhouse for Talent Retention

Talent retention is a key priority and a big challenge for many businesses right now. In a tight labor market, where key skills are in short supply, you need a strategy that outlines not only how you’ll find and recruit the people you need, but also how you’ll keep them onboard.

The most successful employers (in terms of talent retention) will find ways to build relationships with their workers that are more than purely transactional. Employees are more likely to stay in their jobs if they feel confident their company is looking out for them and has a genuine interest in their overall wellbeing.

One way to achieve this is to help your staff prepare for their financial future.

Aiding retirement planning

Financial security in retirement is something that all workers want to achieve - even those who are still in the early stages of their career and haven't started thinking about pension plans or retirement savings yet.

As an employer, you can show your commitment to your workforce by offering to support people as they make their preparations for life after work.

One of the most effective ways to do this is through a dedicated workplace pension scheme or a defined-contribution account like the 401(k) plan in the US. If you have the financial capacity to do so, offering a 401(k) can deliver major benefits for your employees and tax incentives for the business.

There have been encouraging signs in recent years that providing a 401(k) is becoming increasingly feasible for businesses. Offering this sort of long-term financial support gives your valuable workers a strong reason to stay and fully commit themselves to helping the company succeed.

Research by financial services provider Aegon shows that:

  • 69% of workers say pension scheme availability is an important factor when looking for a new job
  • 66% of firms believe educating staff about the benefits of retirement saving through a workplace plan can influence engagement
  • 58% of companies recognize the engagement advantages of wider financial education
"Engagement is the key to changing behaviors and helping employees achieve long-term financial security. When an employer gets behind their scheme and encourages the workforce to take action, engagement levels rise." - Paul Bucksey, managing director, Aegon Workplace Investing.


Guidance and education

Research shows that a large proportion of workers could be doing more to educate themselves about pensions and to plan for their retirement. This suggests there’s clear scope for employers to get more involved in offering guidance and information for their staff, which will contribute to employee engagement and loyalty.

In the US, for example, data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics' National Compensation Survey for 2018 shows:

  • Less than six out of ten workers (55%) were participating in a workplace retirement plan
  • Only 42% were contributing to a retirement savings plan
  • Just 22% were signed up to a pension plan

If you're looking to fuel engagement and boost your retention rates by showing people how you can help them prepare for retirement, there are various ways to go about it, and they don't have to involve big financial commitments.

You could consider:

  • Providing pension starter packs as part of new recruit onboarding so people are made aware of these benefits as soon as they join
  • Trying to make retirement planning a more interesting and less intimidating subject by presenting it in a simple, digestible way and removing jargon
  • Offering a pension calculator tool to capture people's interest and present financial information in a format that's easy to understand

Don't ignore short-term factors

Helping people take a long-term view and prepare for their retirement can make a big difference to workforce engagement and aid your talent retention. However, it's important to remember that short-term priorities and everyday concerns are also key factors in employee experience and wellbeing.

After surveying 1,601 workers across North America, Future Workplace and View found that people "want the basics first". Respondents showed a desire for:

  • Better air quality
  • Access to natural light
  • The option to personalize their workspace

Half of the employees polled said poor air quality makes them sleepier during the day, and more than a third said this leads to up to an hour of lost productivity.

According to Eleanor Estes, chief executive of IT and engineering recruitment firm TPI Inc, most modern workers are looking for:

  • Recognition for their hard work
  • Workplace flexibility
  • A company culture they're proud to be part of
  • Clear paths for development and career advancement
  • The opportunity to give something back to society

Finding the right combination of practical, everyday benefits and long-term support that helps your employees prepare for their financial future will keep your people happy, motivated and, ultimately, onboard.

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