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30 Apr 2024

How to analyse pensions data to better support your workforce

The more you can personalise messages and communicate at the right time, the better received they will be and the more likely action will be taken

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In an ever-connected, on-demand world, data is more valuable than oil.

It’s the fuel that drives modern business, but how far it can take you depends on how you use it.

This has never been truer than in workplace pensions, where good data analysis can mean the difference between helping employees thrive and making them feel alienated.

Data in pensions doesn’t just mean account balances or usage statistics. It’s not just about administration – it’s about understanding the needs of human beings.

It means understanding what’s important or challenging to them, how their pension fits into their life and how to make communications on the subject personally relevant.

How data can inform communications

Effective communication is the endgame. If you want someone to engage and take action – whether with their pension or anything else – you first need to make them aware of what’s possible and why it’s important.

But the answer to why it’s important varies from person to person, so it won’t do to send out one-size-fits-all communications. Instead, you need to follow the data.

The more you can personalise messages and communicate at the right time, the better received they will be and the more likely action will be taken.

The most obvious data point to consider is age. It’s much easier to get someone interested in their pension when they’re only a few years away from accessing it. So the message you’d send to a 55-year-old should be drastically different to what you’d send a 25-year-old.

Their priorities and interests are worlds apart.

Gender can also be an influential factor in how people engage with their pensions, often more to do with the opportunities they have.

Women are more likely to take a career break, giving them less time to contribute to their pension. As such, they may need extra information about making up lost time so they can still save enough for later life.

But it’s not enough to assume this from the data – people are nuanced. While data can tell you who your cohorts are, research is the key to telling you what they need.

Data is more powerful partnered with research

Research can take the form of a quick survey over email, asking about employees’ financial priorities and life goals, confidence and knowledge levels and actions they’ve taken.

They might have big gaps in understanding you need to fill with education, teaching about the benefits of tax relief and employer contributions.

You might find that nobody has set a target age or nominated beneficiaries, which you can encourage and support.

You can also look to nationally representative research, carried out by the government, the media or financial institutions. This can tell you about best practices and give you alternative ways to strike up the pension conversation, such as highlighting the environmental impact of pension savings.

It’s often the case that appealing to younger employees’ values and beliefs is more motivating than focusing on benefits that are decades away.

Optimise the message

When you start communicating about pensions, you open up another stream of valuable data that can tell you more about your employees. You can see which messages resonate with which people, which ones led to an action and which were largely ignored. Based on this, you can tweak and optimise the message to get better results.

For example, if your email about nominating a beneficiary wasn’t enough to inspire action, maybe a workshop over Zoom would be better.

Conversely, if you see lots of people crowding around your poster about sustainable investments, there may be an appetite for a feature video or long-form blog.

The more interested you can get people, the more likely they will be to take an action and make better use of their pension.

Regular analysis, research and tweaking is essential to keep your communications relevant and effective. Try things out, experiment with different formats and focal points, and take note of how people respond.

It’s unlikely that one nudge will be enough to take someone from nervous to confident or from disinterested to eager, but every baby step is one in the right direction.

Pensions are a long game, but one we all need to play. And while it may feel like an uphill struggle to get people engaged, they’ll be grateful that you did.

In partnership with Cushon

Cushon is an online savings&investments platform provider, offering holistic workplace savings.

Contact us today