Auto Enrolment Communications – What are my choices?
In the minefield world of auto enrolment, one decision seems to creep to the bottom of the pile.
What is the best way to communicate auto enrolment (AE) changes to my employees? What are my options? The most common choice (only if you can) is to enter the mail merge world! For a lot of people this may not even be a choice due to the knowledge needed to complete.
Paper Communications (Postal)
This is the most common way of distributing AE communications to employees, and is usually chosen because the process hasn't been planned and other options have not been investigated. To be able to use this method for AE status changes etc. you will possibly need to extract a file from yours, or your payroll providers, software which includes any changes that have occurred regarding AE in that period. This file would then be mail merged across to a letter template which can be printed and posted to employees.
This method does have its pros and cons: it will be the expensive way of distributing letters to employees with the cost of postage, your time stuffing envelopes and printing the communication letters.
However, it does also maintain the way employees may have traditionally received information and may feel comfortable with. You will also need to ensure your employee address records are up to date.
Another variation of this method may be to hand deliver hard copy letter to employees, whether this is alongside the payslip distribution process or as a separate process. Although you are sure that employees have received the communication and they can also chat to you about it, it can be a time consuming process.
Electronic Communications (Email)
Another popular method is e-mailing the communication; this would more than likely be in the same way to create a letter, but cut out the cost of postage and the time of stuffing envelopes. Obviously this will only work if you maintain employees e-mail addresses; if you don't, this could be a new exercise in itself.
Whilst the ease of this method is to your advantage, it does pose a slight security risk. Who has access to that email address? Is it private? You cannot be sure of this; for example, at Dataplan, we see multiple family members working in a care home that will share the same e-mail address. Do they understand that the communication is exclusive to them? They may not want others to know what letter they have received.
This now leads nicely onto the next option, Electronic communications via an online portal.
Electronic Communications (Online Portal)
This is our preferred method of communication to employees; this could be a portal for just AE communications or, preferably, an ePayslips/ self-service portal that employee perhaps already use. This would ensure that you know the communication is going to the correct employee and you could also get really clever and monitor who has read that letter etc.
This method, however, will only be available if you have that system in place, or your provider has that type of system and is willing to work with you to ensure your needs are met. This method, along with email communication, should significantly reduce your costs of Auto enrolment communication as long as you are working with reasonable providers who are not just out to make a quick buck!
If you would like to further information or a chat about Auto Enrolment communications please feel to give us a call on 03331 123456 or request a call back here