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Encouraging behaviour change

How do you get every employer in the country to do things differently? It’s a massive exercise in both communications and behaviour change. Here at The Team we use techniques developed by P.J. Fogg to help us, which focus on three design factors that are important to persuade behaviour change:

Pension advertisement on a building

Ability – Is it easy for people to do?
Motivation – Do people want to do it?
Triggers – What calls to action or triggers are there to remind people to do it?

Case study: Planning tool for workplace pensions

The Pension Regulator has a big job on its hands. New regulations on workplace pensions are currently being introduced affecting all businesses, of all sizes. It is the biggest change to pension regulation (probably) ever.

The Team was approached to come up with solutions to help communicate these changes to employees. By hosting workshops, we wanted to understand what these employees knew about ‘automatic enrolment’; did they understand it and what were their worries and fears?

A few different audiences (or personas) emerged, with each having different needs. Larger organisations had pension policies already in place and were relying on intermediaries to guide them through the changes. At the other end of the scale, smaller companies had never even had a pension policy so there were plenty of unknowns and lots of fear.

What united all groups was a desire for something that clearly outlined their targets.

To build on this we conducted co-design sessions with employers to understand what it might look like. One thing that all employers needed – irrespective of size – was the staging date. This was the date that employers needed to be ready and comply with the new regulation. What employees wanted was an understanding of what they needed to do before this date.

Create your plan

The easiest way to cater for all audiences was to create a plan tool. It needed to be easy to access and use, yet still be personalised for each employer. We didn’t want something that demanded a lot of data entry to set it up in the first place. What we settled on was a single piece of data that needed to be entered – the employer’s staging date.

Create Your Plan 2_large



Once a staging date had been entered, a bespoke plan was created for each employer which showed where they stood in relation to their staging date. By making certain information and key dates prominent, the tool motivates employees to take action. It makes it clear they are on a deadline and that time is running out.


For ease of use, the things the employee needs to do are grouped into three types:

1.    Things they should do now (if they haven’t already)
2.    Things to do between now and staging
3.    Things to do at staging and afterwards

Automatic enrolment 3_large


Preparing for automatic enrolment is complex, and in reality there are many things to do. To simplify things, we organised actions into a short list of activities that formed the basis of the plan. Not wanting to re-invent the wheel, and with tight timelines, we used Gant chart visualisation to illustrate activities and indicate how long they might take.

Each activity – like “Know your workforce” – was a call to action, with more detail and related guides and resources available. By bringing them all together in a single place, employees were given a single overview of what they needed to do and when.

Bar Chart 4_large


Since its initial launch, the tool has become central to the online activities of the pension regulator, replacing the four existing tools that presented a disconnected and incoherent user experience. You can see the tool in action on the Pension Regulator website.

Here at The Team we are strong advocates of the power of persuasive technology and enjoy designing things to encourage behaviour change. The Pension Regulator Tool is a clear example of this in practice.

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