Working closely in partnership with Towers Perrin, we provided communication consultancy to HSBC UK as they implemented major changes to pension packages for 60,000 employees in every area of the business.
Detailed research into employees’ views of the changes highlighted the sensitive and complex nature of the challenge. This would not be a simple matter of telling employees what was changing, but giving them an appreciation of what the changes would mean to them personally, ensuring they understood their options and could make choices that were appropriate for them. It was clear that communication would play a critical role in delivering success for the business and employees.
A logical lifeline
Recognising that decision making around pensions is often governed by emotions, our approach was to remind employees to balance emotion with a strong line of logic, encouraging them to invest their time in making the right decisions. Underpinning this, openness, simplicity and clarity were key values of our communication strategy and were reflected in the design style used.
Starting with why?
Using ‘focus on the individual’ as our filter we developed an awareness campaign that first alerted employees to why pension changes were being made, and then the decisions they had to make. This initial high level communication was followed and supported by decision guides tailored to specific employee segments, with individually personalised illustrations through an online personal pension modeller.
In addition to the pension changes, most employees were also offered a new flexible benefit scheme. We were involved in the design of a flexible benefit enrolment tool to help individuals make choices based on their individual circumstances.
Out of the total employee audience a staggering 95 per cent actively made a pension choice and the subsequent employee survey showed a 30% increase in favourable responses to the statement ‘I am satisfied with the benefits I receive at HSBC.