Pension Awareness Day: New research highlights shortfall in communication of benefits

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Employers and staff recognise the need for effective benefits communication in the workplace

Research conducted by Mybenefitsatwork, a new online service launched by national firm of financial advisers, Foster Denovo Limited, has uncovered that the vast majority of employers (95 percent) believe the responsibility lies with them to keep their staff informed about changes to pensions legislation. This is supported by the fact that three quarters (75 percent) of employees believe the duty rests with their employer.

The research also went on to uncover that more than half (51 percent) of employers provide communication of their benefits via a staff handbook. Nearly half (49 percent) state that this communication is done via a new starter induction programme.

When it came to addressing what prevents employers from better communicating their benefits, two thirds of employers (66 percent) said they did not do more due to lack of inclination, whilst 44 percent stated lack of
time was the principal reason.

When asked, employees believed resource (43 percent) and cost (39 percent) were the two most popular reasons why their employers didn’t fully communicate their benefits.

83 percent of employers believe that if staff had a full understanding of the benefits provided to them, this would make them more loyal and have a positive impact on retention. When the same was asked of employees, 80 percent said they would be more loyal to their employer.

Ian Bird, business development director at Foster Denovo and founder of Mybenefitsatwork, said: “The research has uncovered some interesting findings. What is clear is that employers need to become better at communicating the benefits that they offer to their staff. In doing so, their employees are likely to be more engaged and committed to their employer.

Mybenefitsatwork commissioned Atomik Research to conduct two surveys. The first survey went to 100 business employers and 100 charities. The second to 100 employees in businesses and 100 employees in charities.

“The fact that so many rely on the staff handbook to communicate their benefits is concerning,” continued Bird. “In my experience, handbooks can quickly go out of date and are an unappealing way of engaging with the employee. I truly believe that technology has an essential role to play.

“With so many changes currently taking place in the pensions and benefits landscape – namely automatic enrolment and pension freedom – there is a greater need to provide employees with up-to-date and accessible information about their benefits and how the legislative changes will impact them.”

Bird concluded by saying, “Improved communication will lead to increased staff loyalty, engagement and retention. It is my belief that if companies are investing in the provision of benefits for their workforce, then it is essential that they communicate them. Without it, employees won’t understand or appreciate their benefits, and employers won’t get a demonstrable return on this spend.”

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