Joining the dots:
member communications in a changing landscape
8 January 2019
The importance of good member communication is being increasingly recognised.
As members are offered more choices about their pension, it is crucial that they don’t feel out of their depth. There are so many elements to understand and members really need to make sense of the information they’re given and be able to make decisions confidently.
Yet that is easier said than done – it’s not just a case of making documents look pretty. There are many competing demands on member communications: they must engage members in a way they understand, but also be technically compliant. And as many trustees are sensitive to cost they must also be efficient and inexpensive to produce.
It’s harder still when the pensions landscape is constantly changing. A new Budget or Court ruling will often mean communications need updating or redrafting altogether. The latest Lloyds case on GMP inequality is a good example.
So how do administrators master all of this and get the correct message to members at the right time, in a way that they understand?
Have a high quality and nimble team
The right people will be able to both proactively plan for potential changes and be able to react when surprise announcements occur. They will have the specialist knowledge to know exactly what an announcement means, what areas it affects, and help cut through the jargon.
Have robust systems
The ability to make changes to communications centrally, quickly, and as few times as possible, is very valuable. A system set up on this basis will minimise the risk of communications being out of date - and remain cost efficient.
Make sure members receive consistent information. When updating communications consider carefully what a member will receive in the round. Don’t forget to update a supplementary flyer or website content for example – communications should always be ‘joined-up’.
Communicating pensions matters is a constant challenge, but these pointers will help material be correct, timely and consistent, enabling members to join the dots and see the picture more clearly.
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