So far, so good. The nation’s biggest employers have got their auto-enrolment solutions away on time and with higher than predicted member take up rates. What lessons have been learned which can be applied to the mass of smaller employer due to meet their staging dates later in 2013 or later?
1. Only fools rush in. Take time to review the whole process from end to end for existing and new employees. Discover where the gaps are
2. Auto-enrolment is not a pensions issue, it’s a company issue, cutting across HR, payroll, finance, IT and communications as well
3. Active project management is essential. All the different departments (see 2) need to know who is responsible for which part of the process
4. Allow enough time. If your staging date is in 2013 and you have not engaged with Auto Enrolment you need to get your skates on. If it’s in the first six months of 2014, start making plans NOW
5. Talk to your advisers early. There is a gap between the number of schemes and the amount of professional help in the market, finding the right help is essential
6. Clean your payroll data. The one sure thing (other than death and taxes) is that poor quality data will cause you problems in terms of the time needed to resolve, the costs and damage to the company reputation
7. Last and by no means least – keep an audit trail. Can you demonstrate to the Pensions Regulator what you have done and why you did it?
In a world where the costs of getting it wrong are potentially game changing, let’s learn and apply the lessons so far.