Nick Throp, co-founder of communications experts Like Minds has six quick tips for schemes looking to improve their communications


1) Make your message interesting

Everyone knows that pension information is a turn-off. Learn to make your message content an interesting and worthwhile read.

Where possible, give real-life examples and sell the positive benefits of saving. Be adventurous – surprise your audience with humour, a novel headline, a quirky cartoon.

2) Don’t overwhelm people

No-one wants to be bombarded with information that is of little interest.

Having to wade through a deluge of pension details is tedious and confusing and gets in the way of decisions.

Banish jargon and talk in members’ language. Short sentences and a conversational tone are helpful.

Weed out all technical terms; you might even banish the word “pension”, as this is a turnoff for most. A good tip is to get your teenage son or daughter to test read your draft and get their reaction.

3) Be relevant

Personalise your communications and use different life stages to prompt calls for additional contributions or investment decisions. Ensure your language is appropriate for your audience.

Although you may have some experienced investors in your membership, most will want a simple explanation of what the investment is trying to do rather than a detailed breakdown of the fund’s asset allocation.

Pensions Insight is running its annual Pensions Communications Forum exploring how schemes and HR functions can better engage members about retirement. To book your place, click here.

4) Be adventurous with communication channels

Pensions Insight’s survey results show that most member communication is still paperbased.

To stimulate greater engagement, use a range of different channels. Videos, posters, micro-sites, social media and, of course, face to face sessions, can be much more powerful in getting the message through.

5) Make the savings process easy

Use smart defaults and automation to streamline the decision-making and form-filling process.

Minimise the effort involved with any applications – people want an easy life, and will quickly bail out of a complicated or longwinded process.

Where possible, support employees with interactive modelling tools and guidance on the options available – or offer individual financial advice if that is affordable.

6) Provide reassurance

We live in a world where social media and product reviews provide reassurance of our spending decisions. If you can, treat pensions in the same way.

Bring in case study examples of members who have taken pension decisions and lived to tell a positive tale. Forecasts of prospective retirement income and other evidence from third party sources can also provide reassurance.

Research shows that organisations that help members with their immediate financial challenges can build trusting relationships for the future. This includes making decent savings for retirement and the longer term, once these are affordable.

This article originally appeared in the DC landscape report. To get the full report, click here.