people2So many questions

As CEO of my company, I have responsibility for dozens of members of staff.

You might imagine this means they come to me to discuss business dilemmas, to adjudicate personnel disputes and to help brainstorm ideas – and you’d be right.

But it also means that they come to me with personal issues. These range from health and mental issues to financial pressure, issues with children or parents which affect their ability to work, and many other worries.

I take the responsibility of helping my staff very seriously and am very sympathetic. It is an enormous privilege to be able to help.

However, sometimes I’m not always the best-placed person for this job. Occasionally I don’t have the necessary insight or skills and professional advice might be in order.

That’s why we have an arrangement with a health company, to whom I can refer my staff. They get the help they need – and I have the reassurance that they are properly taken care of. 

If you are in HR, you can probably relate.

When it comes to pensions, for example, you probably frequently field questions and queries from staff.

Sometimes the questions are simple – technical details you can easily answer, like who the company scheme is with or how much of their salary is going into their pension each month.

But often, the questions might be more complex.

house-1>> “I’m buying a new house – is it worth taking a lump sum from my pension so my mortgage is lower?”

yellow-piggybank-2>> “I’m 45 and have barely put anything into my pension – what’s the best way to build up my pot quickly?”

red-cash-2>> “I’ve inherited a large sum of money – what percentage should I put into my pension?”

Out of your comfort zone

These are really requests for advice rather than straight information. And while you really want to help your staff, you are probably not qualified to answer these questions.

After all, you aren't a pensions adviser or expert. Often, these questions are tied into other financial issues like mortgages and inheritance, which are certainly beyond your remit. And you do not want to cross the line into giving advice (…perhaps you’re not even sure exactly where that line lies).

The problem is that when you decline to deal with these questions, HR can get a bad rap. It is completely unfair because in most cases, it would be irresponsible for you to answer these questions. But staff often do not understand or accept that, and come away thinking that “HR are rubbish” – and even get angry and frustrated with you.

Your heart probably sinks each time a staff member tells you, “I just have a quick pensions question….”, for this very reason.

But imagine that you didn’t have to turn staff away, when they come to you with these queries?

…That you could refer them to a reliable source of advice, who could look at their entire financial picture, and give them appropriate guidance?

You could rest assured that your staff were well-taken care of – no doubt a concern for your company.

You would also know that their finances were being well-handled, making them less financially stressed at home and in the workplace, and eventually enabling their retirement, when the time is right.

And they would walk away satisfied that HR had helped them – and knowing they worked for a caring company.

It’s a win all round.

That’s why we can offer our clients a dedicated pensions hotline service that can answer many of your staff’s pensions enquiries, or can refer them on to a financial adviser for more detailed questions. 

And that means fewer headaches for HR, and the knowledge that your staff’s queries are being dealt with by our experts.

To find out more, just click here to email me.

Posted by Steve Butler

Topics: Workplace Savings


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