You are out: you are going to change your terms of employment. Of course you want to involve your employees in this as much as possible. But how do you do that? Clim Parren, Chief People Officer, and Saskia van der Mei-Ram, Compensation & Benefits Lead, both working at Aegon, will update you.
Look before you start
Pack quickly. It’s so attractive sometimes. But caution is advised if you want to adjust your terms of employment. “A certain change may be a good fit for one company, but not at all for another,” says Clim. “So always start with your company’s values and strategy. And ask yourself the simple question: does this fit with who we are and want to be? That way you can better decide which things you do and don’t implement.”
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Provide sufficient support
Support is especially important in the case of a substantial change. Clim mentions the example of unlimited leave. Aegon had agreed in the collective labor agreement to conduct a pilot in this area, provided that there was enough support for it. “This was a trend at some other large companies and we saw some employees get really excited about it. But a support survey among employees showed that there was still insufficient enthusiasm for a pilot unlimited leave. So we canceled this one.”
Saskia: “A new collective labor agreement is in any case a good time to talk to your employees. That can be done in many ways. From a simple poll to an extensive survey, walk-in sessions and round table discussions. We notice that such a broad approach through co-creation in which employees, but also the Central Works Council participate in discussions about employment conditions, also helps at the table at the trade unions.”
According to Clim, it is logical that you cannot meet everyone’s wishes. “You can’t please everyone, but you can give everyone the opportunity to provide input. This ensures that employees are satisfied and involved.”
Communicate clearly what the reason is
Aegon recently concluded a new pension scheme for its own employees. Clim: “The old pension scheme would result in a significant increase in costs. So we had to look for an alternative that would keep the costs manageable for Aegon as an employer. We simply told that story honestly, but also immediately sent the message: we are actively involving you in the new pension scheme. It is your terms of employment!”
Talk to employees
“We also started a survey for the new pension scheme,” says Clim. “It showed, for example, that our employees attach great importance to a well-arranged partner’s pension.“We organized physical employee meetings at all our locations, in Dutch and English. And we held an online webinar. That way we could hear what colleagues really find important.”
Know what’s going on
The new pension scheme meant a switch from an average pay scheme (DB) to a defined contribution scheme (DC). That generated quite a bit of resistance. With a DC scheme it is not certain how much pension you will receive later. Investments are made and the risk lies with the employee.
Saskia: “It was important to have a good discussion about this with the COR, the trade unions and our own staff. We have explained the advantages and disadvantages of the DC scheme. Because yes, the new regulation would indeed offer less certainty. On the other hand, the whole of the Netherlands will soon switch to this system. And we believe that as a pension provider we should play a pioneering role.”
All the details were under a magnifying glass. After all, many colleagues work at Aegon with pension and investment knowledge. “It helped that we were able to show that the pension of most employees remains at a good level,” says Saskia. “Also because we have invested extra money in the premium table. In addition, the new scheme contains all kinds of options that the old scheme did not have. This way, employees can invest extra pension themselves if they want to.”
Icing on the cake
Aegon offered all employees the opportunity to enter into a personal pension interview. A conversation about the how and what of the new scheme. But also about the financial situation of employees. “We outsourced those conversations to an external party,” says Saskia. “As such, the advice was 100 percent independent.”
This is an article from our “Forward-Looking Employability” series, powered by Aegon. As an employer, you want to arrange things well for your employees. Aegon and Business Insider are happy to help you with that. By pointing out obstacles and opportunities in good time. And by offering the right products and services, such as an Aegon Cappital pension plan.
About Aegon Cappital
Aegon Cappital is Aegon’s premium pension institution (PPI). We have been active in the pension market since 2012. Aegon Cappital helps you and your employees think ahead when it comes to retirement. We now do this for more than 5,600 satisfied employers and more than 270,000 employees. Also a pension provider who thinks ahead with you? Look at www.aegoncappital.nl..