Ian McKenna: Fully responsive websites are the way forward


Mobile devices represent a great opportunity to engage with staff to ensure they understand the full range and advantages employers spend on benefits.

Devices don’t just get used when people are mobile; for many users they are a far more comfortable and convenient way to access information than a laptop or desktop PC. Recently, fully responsive websites that adapt to the way information is displayed depending on the device have diminished the need to develop specific apps for individual mobile platforms.

Employee benefits providers have been quick to grasp this opportunity. For example, Standard Life’s retirement journey support content on its website has had 43,000 users since 6 April, with several thousand having used the site to transact online.

Friends Life, now part of Aviva, has also built content to support its e-community service, which is designed to provide relevant engaging content to members through the medium of choice: webinars, forums, posts, quizzes, emails and polls. This content can be delivered in a highly segmented manner aimed to support both the needs of the employee as well as the employer.

Friends Life describes one of the objectives of the service as being to enable the member to ‘have their pension in their pocket’, avoiding the need to keep hold of all their paper documentation.

Financial education is seen as a really important part of this service to help members understand their choices and benefits when it comes to pensions and saving for their retirement. The e-community also enables Friends Life to roll out relevant campaigns to target segments, for example particular age groups, and so on.

When it comes to actual apps for employee benefits, the BenPal app from JLT Employee Benefits is a simple tool that enables users to easily identify their projected income in retirement based on certain criteria. I know several other pensions advisers that use the tool themselves in their own client meetings.

Ian McKenna is director at Finance and Technology Research Centre