5 min read
Pensions for Employers

Top 4 things to avoid for a successful salary sacrifice switch!

Megan Worthing-davies

It’s tempting to think about implementing salary sacrifice without any external help. After all, what could be so hard about getting people to take part in a scheme that saves them money? But going it alone can be stressful and lead to poor results.

In this article, we set out four top tips to get the most out of your salary sacrifice implementation, plus give you a case study to demonstrate how one company transformed their pension offering.

1. Build your culture rather than weaken it

Salary sacrifice is a no-brainer. But how you introduce it to your team matters. If done badly, at worst it can cause confusion and resentment, and at best be a missed opportunity to bring staff together with a new benefit.

Methods to educate staff can include emails, printed letters, posters, team meetings and workshops. Of course, some of these may work better than others, depending on your business setup! And a combination of approaches could ensure your staff pay attention to at least one.

But this can take time, energy and budget to set up, so as an employer looking to build a culture of empowerment and contribution, where staff feel valued and supported, there are huge benefits to working with an external provider. With Maji, you can position salary sacrifice as part of a wider benefit to help staff with their finances. Plus, you can improve understanding and appreciation of your pension, one of the least understood but most expensive benefits on offer.

2. Be ready for Pandora’s box

Salary sacrifice is hard for people to understand. There are lots of myths about the scheme and because it has an impact on the salary, employees can get nervous. Expect lots of questions and some anxieties about the scheme, your workplace pension provision and your benefit offer. You should make sure someone is on hand to answer questions promptly, which can help your employees feel supported in their decisions.

If you aren’t an expert in these topics it can be stressful and time consuming to answer everyone’s queries. Working with a provider like Maji can take the stress away. We’ll explain everything to your team, give them personalised calculations and examples, and answer any questions. We’re experts, and we’ll take great care of them.

3. Don’t underestimate risks

Salary sacrifice can have unintended consequences for both you and your employees. It’s important that you or someone working on your scheme is fully aware of the relevant legislation and legal precedent. Getting it wrong could lead to tribunal cases from employees or investigation from HMRC. Plus, implementing salary sacrifice is not just a one off— it entails ongoing obligations over time.

You could allocate time for yourself to run through all the regulations, or work with an external provider. A tech solution like Maji can make it even easier: we’ll take care of the compliance automatically.

4. Make sure you get a ROI

A poorly implemented scheme can lead to a small number of employees participating and low contribution rates. It’s a bad outcome when considering the time and energy involved in setting up the scheme in the first place.

The key is education. Positioning the scheme within a wider narrative which helps staff to understand their pension and their likely retirement outcomes is key. Modelling tools that make it simple to plan for the future and make immediate changes to pension contributions really help too. And nudging your employees towards better financial decisions can maximise what you and they will get out of the scheme. This could be done through workshops, emails or working with a provider like Maji to handle the educational process for you.

With Maji, over 20% of users increase their pension contributions by an average of 2% within the first 3 months alone, proof that embedding your switchover into a wider strategy to build and nurture financial wellbeing is a great way to maximise the cost-savings available from salary sacrifice.

How one company made the switch to salary sacrifice work

Kyrie, the people lead for a tech start-up of 30 people, tells us:

Our pension scheme was set up by the founders without much thought; they went with the cheapest option to just tick the box. With our employees mainly quite young and retirement a far-off concept, we had no engagement with the pension scheme at all. We wanted to change the scheme to give both the company and employees the chance to save on NI.

However, with just one person in HR and one person in Business Operations we had limited capacity! We needed to bring in outside help to make sure we were doing everything correctly, being compliant, and doing our best to educate the employees on why the change is worth it.

Maji meant all of the paperwork was covered and compliant. This gave us huge peace of mind. The training was perfectly targeted and explained for our team which put them at ease. It was also a valuable financial wellbeing benefit we could add to our offering. In the end, we had people more engaged with their pension than ever, raising contributions and giving positive feedback all round.”

Image 1 by Husna @ Unsplash/ Image 2 by John Schnobrich on Unsplash

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