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In 1963, The Beatles recorded and released the teenybopper anthem, ‘I Want To Hold Your Hand’. A new generation of British teenagers subsequently went hysterical, while their bewildered parents scowled and lamented the good old days.
While automatic enrolment is unlikely to elicit the same degree of excitement and mania (despite the ‘celebrity’-packed adverts declaring that ‘we’re all in’), it remains a headline grabber which will be number one on the ‘to do’ charts of thousands of smaller employers from January 2016 onwards.
By the time 1963 rolled around, we at B&CE had been holding the collective hands of the construction sector for more than two decades, long before automatic enrolment was even a glint in the government’s eye.
Over 50 years on (yes, I know, that’s a scary concept for the baby boomers), and the sentiments of that song can be applied to the needs of smaller employers as they get ready to stage. They need us to tell them something (probably several times), they need to understand that something (or risk a distinctly unpoptastic fine), and then they need someone to hold their hand. Preferably with a jaunty tune in the background.
And it’s not just about when they stage. Smaller employers will need their pension provider to hold their hand throughout the life of the scheme. For richer or poorer, for better or worse, they’ll need a support band with the staying power to avoid demanding spouses and that tricky third album.
Our experience of serving the construction sector for nearly a quarter of a century tells us this, and our research with smaller employers and the people who support them tells us that smaller employers are in need of help. They need somebody (not just anybody) to hold their hand.
The research we have carried out tells us that smaller employers are likely to talk to their accountants and bookkeepers about auto-enrolment, which makes good relationships between them and providers crucial as they’ll need to rely on them to steer them to the top of the charts.
Making smaller employers feel happy inside about automatic enrolment is a big ask, but with a bit of help from their friends it can definitely be more smash hit than miss.