Wake business leaders up to tough choices

No amount of spin could disguise the findings of last week’s Turner Commission report – the UK is well and truly in the midst of a pensions.

None of the solutions offered by Turner – higher taxes, working longer or increasing savings – are particularly palatable.

But while the Government has been left with a series of stark choices, the pensions crisis should represent a chance for HR to once and for all prove its worth to the rest of the business.

HR managers do not have to be pensions experts, but they do have a responsibility to act swiftly. There are two key jobs for HR to perform here – to educate the workforce about the choices they face, and to make business leaders aware of the people repercussions of any decisions they take.

The critical information about pensions has been hidden in a quagmire of jargon for far too long. Individuals have to be helped to cut through the complexities, and be encouraged to make informed choices about saving for retirement.

It is not about being altruistic. There are real benefits for organisations that have well-defined pensions policies. As the size of the talent pool dwindles, being able to promise a comfortable retirement can truly make an organisation become an employer of choice.

The news that a car dealership in the South West is offering all its employees the chance to take a free holiday in Spain every year (page 4) is proof that HR policies can have a positive effect on the business.

Villa creates feel-good factor

The Wellington Group’s £175,000 investment in a villa near Alicante and hundreds of flights is worth more than just a one-off bonus payment or a share option scheme, because it has created a real feelgood factor among employees.

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