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Pension freedoms: how to use reward to encourage over 50s to stay at work

Pension freedoms: how to use reward to encourage over 50s to stay at work

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Since pension freedoms were implemented in April 2015, members of defined contribution pension schemes have, in many cases, been able to flexibly access some or all their pension once they reached 55.

This represented a huge change for the over 50s, who previously may have settled for a fixed income that may not have provided the necessary flexibility typically required when accessing your pension some years before your state pension age.

As a result, it has become increasingly tempting for pension savers to ‘cash in’, meaning they can either retire completely or even have a change of career. For employers, however, they should be wary of losing these older employees, especially as they can bring some key benefits to their business, such as:

  • retention of experience and firm-specific knowledge
  • reduced skill shortage
  • lower turnover of employees
  • lower recruitment and training costs.
Accordingly, it is essential employers strive to have a multi-generational workforce if they want to maximise the benefits this can bring. They should therefore look to their staff’s employee benefit package to ensure it is appropriate whatever an employee’s age, incentivising staff to remain motivated and loyal throughout their working career. Some examples of what they could offer follow.

Medical support
There are clear links between remaining in work and achieving improved health and wellbeing due to the social and financial stimulation it provides. The employer could further support the employee by providing private medical insurance, for example – this can go a long way towards lessening any concerns about the quality, availability and affordability of medical treatment if required.

Proactive health incentives
From the age of 50 onwards, regular health screening and check-ups are highly recommended to help identify symptoms before they become a more serious medical issue. Private health ‘MOTs’ are designed to give a clear picture of a person’s current physical and mental health, while identifying any risks of developing future health problems. If these can be organised and provided by the employer, there is further incentive to remain in employment. It also shows the employer cares about the wellbeing of their staff, so is likely to result in the employee demonstrating continued loyalty and commitment to their employer.

Wellness benefits
Wellness benefits can include gym memberships, massage, acupuncture and other complementary treatments to support the physical and mental wellbeing of your staff. If the workforce feel a clear sense of wellbeing because of their employment, they are more likely to remain in work for longer while also optimising their contribution as an employee.

Financial wellbeing
Over 50s will become increasingly focused on their retirement planning as the prospect of retiring gets closer. Many employees are likely to find the pensions freedoms very confusing and stressful as although they have increased choice, they also have increased complexity and responsibility. Access to employer-funded financial education can ensure employees have a clearer understanding of their retirement planning, allowing them to take control and have piece of mind. This can again encourage employees to remain with their employer and creates a sense of value as the more an employee understands the benefits of a company pension scheme, the more likely they are to attach value to it.

Summary
The above is just a snapshot of the benefits employers can offer their employees to encourage them to remain with the business, be motivated, and add value to the company. It is therefore important employers receive the appropriate advice to ensure their employee rewards have the maximum impact for their workforce, driving value and employee engagement.

There is increasing evidence to show many older employees do not wish to retire early – therefore, it’s clearly an opportunity employers cannot afford to miss!