Auto enrolment clinic: Planning is key

Based upon our considerable experience in auto enrolment, supporting employers through the process we have found that planning is the key to ensuring success. It is not just about establishing a pension scheme.

McParlandBy Sean McParland, McParland & Partners.

The establishment of a project team is the key component of the planning process, this should include HR, payroll, finance, IT and your adviser, each having responsibility for delivering various parts of the process.

You should ideally commence the planning process when you receive your notice from the pension regulator confirming your staging date.

The main challenge facing employers, providers and advisers is one of capacity. Over the last 20 years the industry has established 200,000 pension schemes; however between 2012 and 2017 over 1.35m schemes need to be set up. Whilst new low cost providers have entered the market, access to the traditional pension companies may prove difficult if you do not plan early enough.

Accurate and clean employee data is critical to the smooth running of auto enrolment, the integration of that data between payroll, HR and the pension provider will be a fundamental part of the project team’s function. Whilst many providers are offering access to software that will undertake the assessment of your workforce on each pay reference period, our experiences have shown that the natural home for this assessment is in your payroll.

There are legal requirements to issue set communications at set time periods to your employees and we believe that putting communications at the heart of the process is essential. Utilising worksite marketing, presentations and one-to-ones, will ensure that the process runs smoothly and your staff are kept informed and engaged. All of the above takes time and without exception every employer we have worked with wished that they had started the planning process earlier.