In her doctoral research, Louise Nell MA (Language and communication) examined the ways in which pension consumers are informed by pension organisations and how this information distribution can be improved. She finds an excess of information and advices more coherence between different communication channels. Hierarchical structuring of information also seems promising for optimising pension communication for both high and low literate pension plan members.
PhD thesis defence Louise Nell on optimising pension communication
Pension communication legislation
Nell's research shows that in legally required pension communication, such as Mijnpensioenoverzicht.nl or Pension 1-2-3, cohesion is missing: information is overlapping, and it is not always clear what information is to be found where. This leads to an information overload.
Communication professionals often find the pension communication legislation difficult to interpret and to comply with. Out of discontent with the legally required media, many pension organisations decide to provide their own media in addition, based on the belief that these are more suitable for pension consumers, but this comes at the expense of the findability of the information, their feelings of self-efficacy, and motivation. Nell argues to consider pension communication environments to a much greater extent as interconnected, with a well thought out media strategy and optimised legally required media.
A central premise within the optimisation of the legally required media under the 2015 Pension Act was hierarchical structuring, which was applied to both the Pension 1-2-3 medium – the document all new pension consumers receive – and the digital platform My pension overview. The research results show that this type of structuring does not affect the findability of information in Pension 1-2-3, but has a small effect on the findability of the information in My pension overview.
These differences are likely to be caused by hierarchical structuring and the application of design principles that reduce cognitive load. A second finding is that literacy demands on users in both studies seem to decrease as the medium is more hierarchically structured. These results are promising, because they offer practical clues to significantly improve pension communication for both high and low literate pension plan members.