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15 Sep 2023
by Stephen Lowe

Why once is not enough when it comes to employee engagement

Getting employees to engage with a wellness programme takes repeated communications

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Direct marketers often mail the same people with the same product several times a year. Perhaps surprisingly, they achieve a similar response rate each time. It’s all about timing – ensuring the proposition is front of mind when someone is ready to engage.

There are important lessons here for anyone responsible for launching a wellness programme. It’s not enough to launch it with an initial burst of activity. You have to maintain an ongoing communications programme.

That doesn’t mean badgering people, but there are events that can prompt people to think about their wellness needs. Car manufacturers call these ‘itch cycles’. This is usually about three years after someone has bought a new car, when they start to think about trading it in for a newer model.

When it comes to wellness, research reveals that funding retirement is the number one worry among employees. Beyond any initial launch communications, here are some obvious trigger points:

Age-based communications

  • First wake up pack at 50. Employees will receive their first pre-retirement communications from their pension providers at age 50 to encourage them to start retirement planning.
  • Accessing benefits at 55. This is the earliest point at which someone can access their pension benefits. Few people retire at this stage, but some will encash one or more of their pension funds. This action will also trigger offers to book an appointment with the government’s Pension Wise service and they’ll be sent a further wake up pack from their pension provider(s).
  • Retirement at 65. Despite the absence of a mandatory retirement age most people still retire at 65 or 66 (in line with the state pension). As well as a further wake up pack sent at 65, they will be required to apply for their state pension before their 66th birthday (unless they choose to defer receiving their state pension payment).

Specific retirement communications

These events should form part of the standard processes and practices your company employs to automatically trigger a prompt:

  • Notice of retirement. When someone submits a resignation after 55, they might be retiring. If so, you should provide details of the support available.
  • Request for flexible working. Anyone who has submitted a request for flexible working after age 55 could be taking the first steps towards transitioning to retirement.
  • Ill health retirement. An ill health request could disrupt someone’s retirement plans. It’s important to understand how their finances could be affected.

Ad hoc communications

There are other extraneous events that should trigger ad hoc communications. Falling into this category would be:

  • Regulatory and tax changes. Any change that might affect someone’s retirement plans should trigger a communication to check that their plans are still viable.
  • Significant environmental changes. The impact of investment market falls or changes in the long-range inflation forecast could impact retirement plans and should produce a timely reminder of the support available.
  • Changes to the state Pension. Any changes to the state pension, including the pension age, should require people to reassess their retirement finances.

Don’t worry about repeating the message. Repetition adds clarity. Just find different ways to say it.

Our own retirement wellness programme comes with an initial launch communications plan and an ongoing communications programme including draft content. It’s sufficiently flexible to adapt to each client’s processes and to accommodate different technologies.

According to the so-called marketing ‘rule of 7’, which dates back to the 1930s, people need to hear a message at least seven times before they retain it. Without a fully developed, comprehensive, ongoing communications plan, any wellness programme may fail to gain traction.

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In partnership with HUB Financial Solutions

We are totally focussed on finding the right financial solutions for people approaching, or in, retirement. We don’t do anything else. Our purpose is to help people achieve a better later life.

Contact us today