Major retail group, Primark, operates stores predominantly in the UK but are now expanding their global reach. Parent company Associated British Foods (ABF) are an internationally renowned food and retail group, with over 30,000 UK employees.
We worked with Primark to communicate a number of complex pension changes ahead of Auto Enrolment (AE) across their UK workforce. This included launching their new DC Target Date Fund (TDF) investment strategy, promoting the Scheme to non-members who’d not taken advantage of the generous contribution rates ahead of AE, and educating HR on the changes so they felt empowered to support employees.
The multi-channelled, personalised campaign focussed on financially educating employees to help them make the right decisions for their savings based on their own circumstances. The result:
- 95% of members moving to the Target Date Fund
- 380% increase in Primark’s pension scheme membership
- Under 3% AE opt-out rate (lower-than-average)
“With good pension take-up in most of the business, Primark was a different case and their young and transient workforce was considered hardest to engage.”Samantha Healey – Head of Consulting at Gallagher Communication
In advance of their AE staging date, Primark took the opportunity to review the suitability of their DC pension scheme and introduced a refreshed way of investing through Target Date Funds. Alongside this they were required to change the contribution structure to meet AE obligations.
The goal was to help members understand how Target Date Funds were suitable for the majority of their membership and provide confidence to those who worried about investing. With good pension take-up in most of the ABF group, Primark was a different case and their young and transient workforce was considered hardest to engage. They wanted to encourage take-up ahead of AE, encouraging those employees who would be auto-enrolled, to take advantage of the more generous contribution levels.
With a creative pensions brand in place, the investment change communication ranged from simple animations to detailed guides, offering members access to information suitable for their own level of knowledge.
For non-members, we ran a ‘last chance to join’ campaign which had a highly personalised focus. Breaking down percentages into pounds and pence and helping every single employee see the impact the change could have for them financially.
Crucial to the success of this campaign was engaging with the HR audience. Scattered across the different businesses, we were already aware from previous research that line managers and HR didn’t feel confident talking about pensions to their staff. We developed a dedicated HR portal packed with tools and heads-up communication to equip them for member queries.
As a direct result of the AE campaign, Primark’s pension scheme membership increased by 380%. During enrolment, there was a lower-than-average opt-out rate of less than 3%.
For the investment changes, the objective was to encourage members to stay within the new default Target Date Fund option. Out of 5,600 members only 262 (under 5%) chose an alternative.
Primark did not receive any negative publicity from unions or in the press and calls to the Pensions Helpline were lower than anticipated as HR were empowered to deal with queries.