Online pension communications, such as webinars, may have seen higher attendance levels in 2020 than previous in-person events, but that does not equate to higher, or even equal, levels of engagement, Irish Life workplace financial wellbeing lead, John Alford, warned.
Speaking the IAPF DC Conference, Alford highlighted that, along with greater attendance, webinars also have the advantage of being able to be recorded and distributed for people to view at home, in their own time.
“However, the only potential drawback to that is the level of connection and communication that you actually having with people,” Alford said.
“People are more likely to click into a link than actually head down to a conference room, but it’s probably a little bit early to say whether what they are getting out of it is as meaningful as attending in person.
“We are all used to clicking onto webinars and quickly looking through emails during it or taking a phone call at the same time, so the actual level of engagement may not be what it was with the on-site communication.”
Therefore, he said that while webinars are here to stay, there will be a place for on-site activities as well.
Alford also cited Irish Life qualitative research from earlier this year, which found that people within five to seven years from retirement are the most likely people to engage with pension online tools.
However, the research also discovered that this age group have a “real desire to build up a long-term relationship with their pension provider, a personal connection with the person that is going to help them make the most of their retirement”.
The group also stated that they felt overwhelmed with retirement options and wished that they had engaged with their retirement planning earlier.
Therefore, this age group should always be a key priority for trustees and employers when it comes to education, Alford said, and that “we need to consider what more we can do for people before they reach this stage”.
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