HR Directors - Make your Company a Talent Magnet

Ebrahim K Ebrahim

Pension Researcher & Chairman of the Annual MENA Pensions Conference

How does your company stand out in the crowded MENA talent market? Does offering an employee pension benefit make you an employer of choice? Do benefits matter?

Benefits do matter, according to Willis Towers Watson’s 2013/2014 Global Benefit Attitudes Survey. The survey showed that fully 45% of workers today plan to remain with their current employer because of their retirement benefits. That’s a resounding Yes! to the question of “Do benefits matter?” Benefits matter. And, along with health-care insurance, retirement pensions are the cream of the benefits crop. Employer involvement in retirement benefits was a highlighted finding of Willis Towers Watson’s 2015-2016 Survey: “Employees are in favor of employers taking an active role in their health and in retirement saving”

But aren’t pensions a big-ticket item? How can MENA employers invest more in employees when competitors are cutting costs? While those are great questions, pensions are a two-sided story. It is true that the best pension plans involve employer contributions but employees also need to be involved in securing their own future. Specialist pension providers can develop customised schemes for employers to help their employees save for the future, with little or no cost to the employer. Your company can encourage and help employees save for the future and let the pension professionals take care of the program setup and administration. Once your employees retire, even if they move to another country, the pension specialists can pay out a regular retirement income from the proceeds of employees’ savings and investments.

 An employer pension scheme can start out with only employee contributions and then evolve over time. Employers can phase in corporate contribution levels that start small and grow over time. This makes sense with an employee benefit that actually helps improve productivity and reduce turnover. Willis Towers Watson found that doing nothing and leaving employees in financial distress had negative consequences: “Health and financial issues affect business results through a drag on productivity.” A pension benefit, even a non-contributory one, is a financial positive for employees.

 A pension savings scheme with an employer contribution can be among the most cost-effective of employee benefits and can be a powerful force for employee retention. Employers can scale their contributions so that employees only receive the full benefits after a set period of service with the company, such as five years.

 Pension administration is the newest wave in employee benefits, increasing employee engagement and encouraging longevity with your company. You have found the talent you need. Keep your valued employees by introducing a benefit that grows over their time with you and that pays literal dividends to you and your employees over many years to come.