Engaging members in changes to their pension

The challenge

The Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS) was implementing changes that would affect all c.190,000 active members, including changes to the Defined Benefit section and the introduction of a new Defined Contribution section. USS wanted to ensure that members understood:

  • the changes and how they could potentially affect their benefits at retirement;
  • the benefits of the employer match available through the new Defined Contribution section;
  • what actions need to be taken and decisions need to be made in the new arrangements; and
  • what resources were available through the USS member website to support member decisions.

The solution

Mercer worked with USS to develop and implement a 9-month multimedia communication strategy to build member understanding and engagement. The approach was phased to:

1. raise awareness of the changes;
2. drive members to register on the new member website;
3. build understanding of the employer match available; and
4. support members in taking the required actions to maximise their benefits.

This was done through a broad range of communications, including a monthly e-newsletter, printed guides, online promotional materials and resources, face-to-face presentations with take-away items, videos and e-postcards.

The results

USS undertook member research at the start of the campaign and again six months later. Key results showed that during the second round of member research:

  • 70% of members were aware of the new defined contribution section (up from 52% in the first round);
  • 72% understood the employer matching contributions (up from 37%);
  • 61% of members had visited the USS website (up from 38%);
  • 41% of members had registered for the MyUSS member website (up from 19%);
  • 60% of members said they had or intended to sign up for the matching contribution (which was not available when the first round of research was conducted).