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Embracing inclusivity in pensions administration: a necessity, not an option

Breaking down barriers: a guide to cultivating inclusivity in pension scheme administration.

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Author: Conor Ashby, Scheme Services Manager
13 June 2023

Embracing inclusivity in pensions administration: a necessity, not an option

As society evolves, the necessity for inclusivity within every aspect of our lives becomes ever more apparent. Occupational pension schemes are no exception. The task at hand requires pension schemes to reconsider their processes, policies, and interactions to accommodate the diverse needs of members.

Towards inclusive language

Language is a powerful tool. It shapes our thoughts, perceptions, and can even influence how we perceive ourselves and others. That’s why the first point of re-evaluation must be how we address members. Traditional honorifics like Mr., Mrs., or Miss may no longer suit the diverse identities of our members.

Choosing neutral language in correspondence can make a significant difference. Using a member’s full name, for example, instead of an honorific and surname, could be a progressive first step. This simple shift has the potential to demonstrate respect for all members, regardless of their gender identity.

Prioritising personal interaction

Personal interactions, particularly on helplines, are often the most direct contact a member will have with their pension scheme. A positive, respectful interaction can be a determining factor in their overall experience. It’s not only about what we say but how we say it. Empathy, respect, and understanding must be the cornerstone of all communications. Administrators should be trained on these principles, ensuring every member feels valued and understood.

Accommodating identity changes

Administrative procedures should be streamlined and made as accessible as possible to accommodate members who wish to update their records to reflect gender identity changes. Privacy and dignity should be paramount in these procedures, ensuring a smooth, respectful process that doesn’t burden the individual.

Training and understanding

A shift towards inclusivity requires an understanding of the issues at hand, not just at the administrative level, but also at the trustee board level. Comprehensive training programmes focusing on diversity and inclusion are instrumental. These programmes should seek to enhance understanding of the unique challenges that diverse individuals face and the role pension schemes can play in mitigating these challenges.

Remember, an inclusive pension scheme doesn’t only benefit specific groups. It enriches the experience for all members and future-proofs the scheme in a changing societal landscape. At Trafalgar House, we’ve always prided ourselves on being progressive in our thinking and approach. We care about our members and believe that true inclusivity is not an optional extra, but a fundamental requirement.

We can work together to administer pension schemes that respect and appreciate diversity and make everyone feel at home. By fostering inclusivity, we can ensure every member, regardless of their identity, experiences a first-class, caring, and respectful service – because that is what they deserve.


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