CAMPAIGN MONITOR AND THE EMAIL MARKETER: 10 Email Marketing Do’s and Don’ts

VIJAY SHAH

Today’s special feature is brought to you in collaboration with Campaign Monitor, a global niche agency offering email marketing services to over 250,000 businesses including big names like HuffPost, UNICEF and Zumba. They specialise in building memorable and fun email campaigns to promote company products and engage and retain customer bases. This year alone, Campaign Monitor’s customers have sent over four million emails with the help of the company’s customisable services.

As email marketing becomes more nuanced and creative, marketers looking to build their organisation’s revenue know that they have to master the science behind successful campaigns. It takes just seconds for a potential customer to read an email in an inbox heaving with missives, and milliseconds to press delete. So an email that makes that customer stop and click the link has to make an impact. While you can now generate emails with all kinds of eye-catching headlines, banners and cool graphics, including embedded videos and GIFs, for a superlative visual and technological experience, behind the ‘bells and whistles’ you have got to take care of the basics. Today’s customer wants to be valued and understood by the companies they interface with, with dedicated and personalised experiences, and email marketing is the perfect opportunity to show them they matter.

As any marketer worth their salt can tell you, email market campaigns have long been a proven method of driving forward results and increasing company revenues. Sending out emails themselves is easy-peasy, but the groundwork to set up the foundations of a successful campaign is where the real hustle begins.

Alongside Campaign Monitor, we bring you a handy infographic covering the top 10 dos and don’ts of putting together a great email campaign, with that all-important need for customer engagement and retention. Print it out, frame it and mount it on your office wall, because it has all the secrets you need to know to make your campaign deliver after you hit the Send key.

10 Email Marketing Do’s and Don’ts - Infographic by Campaign Monitor

Source: 10 Email Marketing Do’s and Don’ts by Campaign Monitor

DISCLAIMER: This was a paid piece written as a commission on behalf of Campaign Monitor.

campaignmonitor.com

SOURCES/IMAGE CREDIT:

Helen Chuchak/Anagram Interactive.

“Infographics – 10 Email Marketing Do’s and Don’ts” – Campaign Monitor https://www.campaignmonitor.com/resources/infographics/10-email-marketing-dos-and-donts/

“Three products. One family.” – Campaign Monitor https://www.campaignmonitor.com/company/

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GCC BUSINESS: Saudi sovereign fund welcomes new special advisor

Riyadh – VIJAY SHAH via SAEED AZHAR and Reuters


A sovereign fund in Saudi Arabia has appointed a new special advisor formerly associated with the chemicals manufacturer Dow, and who was a chief executive officer there, the Business News desk at news agency Reuters reported this morning.

The state fund, run by the royal government of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, appointed Andrew Liveris, who was previously U.S. firm Dow’s chairman and CEO, today in an announcement. In English the fund trades under the name Public Investment Fund (PIF) and manages more than USD 250 billion (GBP 192.8 billion) in state assets. The fund plans to more than double its portfolio to USD 400 billion (GBP 309 billion) by the year 2020, Reuters reported. The PIF is run by the Saudi Council of Economic and Development Affairs on behalf of the kingdom, and in July 2018, bought a 5% minority stake in American electric car maker Tesla.

Liveris’s new role will see him work with the PIF on essential and significant matters, as well as help PIF strengthen its collection of assets and give input on the contribution of PIF companies to Saudi Arabia’s ambitious economic plan, Vision 2030.

Liveris is an Australian national, currently residing in Midland, in Michigan state of the U.S. He served at Dow for fourteen years before retiring in April this year.

SOURCES:

HEM Newsbreakers, HEM News Agency, Twitter, Twitter Inc. https://twitter.com/halfeatenmind/lists/hem-newsbreakers

Reuters Business, Twitter, Twitter Inc. https://twitter.com/ReutersBiz

“Saudi sovereign fund appoints ex-CEO of Dow Chemical as special adviser” – Saeed Azhar & Alison Williams, Reuters – Business News/Thomson Reuters (2 September 2018) https://www.reuters.com/article/us-saudi-pif/saudi-sovereign-fund-appoints-ex-ceo-of-dow-chemical-as-special-adviser-idUSKCN1LI0BF?feedType=RSS&feedName=businessNews&utm_source=Twitter&utm_medium=Social&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+reuters%2FbusinessNews+%28Business+News%29

ONLINE AND BORED?: Some fun sites to pass the time

Right now, I am off work for three weeks because of annual leave and the Christmas and New Year break, so I spend some time on the Internet. Every once in a while, the dark brooding spectre of boredom casts its long shadow upon me, and I found myself in front of the laptop, fingers twitching. I literally cannot think of anything to do. When boredom strikes, and I do not want to leave the laptop’s side, I fill up the dead time by Googling something, binge-watching YouTube videos, browsing the Facebook newsfeed or checking out some graphic design.

Until today that is… a journalist with the website Citispotter has been kind enough to dig up some impressive sites that are the perfect medicine for when boredom strikes. Give the cat videos a rest and have a look at these fun websites which will change your outlook on life, keep your fingers occupied and make boredom yesterday’s news.

 

Silk – Interactive Generative Art weavesilk.com

This is a website where you can generate your own art of fiery wisps of smoke like something out of a progressive rock video or something. Release your inner punk artist and make pretty thangs!. You can also save and share your designs. Silk is also available for download on iPads and iPhones.

Simon Game freesimon.org

The online version of the cult 1980s memory game invented by Baer, Morrison and Cope. You have a round device with buttons that plays a sequence which you have to repeat. Good brain exercise!

Online Eye Test – PersonalEYES personaleyes.com.au/online-eye-test

It is always important to have regular eye tests at the opticians, but what if you are stuck at home, you are not going out and the opticians are closed. Well’ you can try an online eye test like the one linked above and see if your peepers are up to scratch. Ideally it’s best to use a desktop computer so you can keep the approved distance from the screen.

FamilySearch familysearch.org

Run by the Mormons (Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) from their headquarters in Utah, USA. FamilySearch is the world’s largest genealogical portal, where you might be able to find details of your ancestors and long-lost relatives. Who knows, you may have royal blood?

Prey preyproject.com

This is very handy if you want to keep a close eye on your electronic goods. Oriented towards safeguarding our iPhones/iPads/Mac Airbooks, Prey lets you track and find your devices with a single account, should they get stolen or lost. Around 8.5 million devices are protected by Prey. The tracker can even take a secret picture of the thief if they start using your device as well as gathering data useful for the police or the courts.

Documentary Heaven documentaryheaven.com

Do you love to sit back with a hot chocolate and David Attenborough or Bear Grylls on the box. Now you can watch documentaries on your PC for free with Documentary Heaven. Current must-watch highlights include docs on the Cassini spacecraft, former EastEnders actor Ross Kemp exploring the Libyan migrant crisis and a report on torture in American prisons.

Codecademy codecademy.com

A personal favourite of this article’s author, Codecademy is a free online coding school where you can learn HTML5, CSS, JavaScript and other computing doohickeys at your own pace. The courses are broken down into easy to digest lessons with lots of interactivity and guidance. There are also fun side projects and quizzes to test your new skills. Coding has been described as the literacy of the future, so this could be a game-changer for your future career.

Rainy Mood rainymood.com

If you are not only bored but unable to sleep, then this might be right down your street, or bedroom. Rainy Mood plays different kinds of sounds associated with rain, making it also ideal for people relaxing and studying. Just don’t fall asleep on your device and wreck it by drooling over it.

calibre – E-book management calibre-ebook.com

This is a handy utility for people who love to read but are crap at organising. Download Calibre and it will organise your e-books into virtual libraries. Not only that, but apparently you can use it to create your own books and sync your collection with your other devices.

Duolingo duolingo.com

A renowned website where you can learn major world languages for free with assessments to reinforce your learning. The lessons are fun and gamified and you can learn at your own pace and even in your lunch breaks.

Freerice freerice.com

Not only do you get to end your boredom, but you can also help end world hunger with Freerice. Play its multiple-choice quizzes and every time you win a quiz, 10 grains of rice are donated to the World Food Programme. Created by John Breen in 2007, Freerice makes altruism fun.

SOURCES:

HEM News Agency, Twitter, Twitter Inc. https://twitter.com/halfeatenmind

“17 Interesting Things You Can Do On Internet When You Are Getting Bored” – Samia Subhan Qureshi, Citispotter (19 November 2016) http://citispotter.com/17-interesting-things-you-can-do-on-internet-when-you-are-getting-bored/?utm_source=0fbf7af4023e137b83d442372117db9c

IMAGE CREDIT:

“Free stock photo of computer, desk, electronics” – Burst, Pexels https://www.pexels.com/photo/computer-desk-electronics-indoors-374074/

 

EXCEL CAREERS FAIR: Arrives at Newham’s ExCel centre

London – VIJAY SHAH via TOM HORTON and Newham Recorder

The UK’s largest careers fair has made its way to the ExCel centre in Newham, east London this weekend, attracting around 30,000 visitors to the Custom House area in search of new and exciting employment opportunities, local newspaper the Newham Recorder reported on Thursday.

 

Skills London 2017 is geared towards young people between the ages of 15 and 24, and is hosted by London First and Prospects, and is supported by the office of the Mayor of London and the National Careers Service. The event will feature a selection of interactive activities and inspirational careers options for youngsters looking for their future career choice or to enter a new line of work.

The event is open to students, teachers, career advisors and jobseekers, with an astonishing 40,000 jobs on offer from 200 exhibitors from the fields of education, leading employers, training courses and job experts. Companies such as Google, Heathrow Airport and the supermarket chain Tesco and others will be on hand to offer careers advice and guidance.

Skills London is now in its tenth year and has been lauded for its high levels of interactivity and engagement with its target audience in a fun and inspiring atmosphere. Speaking to the Recorder on the fair, Jasmine Whitbread, the chief executive of London First, said: “London’s leading employers are stepping up to help young people make the most of their potential.”

The staging of the event in one of London’s lowest ranking areas for youth employment is also a sign of the recovery of the British economy after the 2008 financial crash which saw young people bear the brunt of job losses and a decline in opportunities.

Skills London 2017 takes place over 24-25 November from 9.30am to 4.00pm. Entry is free.

SOURCES:

Newham Recorder, Facebook, Facebook Inc. https://www.facebook.com/Newham.Recorder/

“UK’s largest careers fair expected to bring 30,000 to the ExCel over the next two days” – Tom Horton, Newham Recorder/Archant (23 November 2017) http://www.newhamrecorder.co.uk/news/uk-s-largest-careers-fair-expected-to-bring-30-000-to-the-excel-over-the-next-two-days-1-5293496

“Skills London 2017 – ExCeL London 24 & 25 November 2017” – skills London 2017/Skills London http://www.skillslondon.co.uk/Home.aspx

“About”- skills London 2017/Skills London http://www.skillslondon.co.uk/About.aspx

IMAGE CREDIT:

“Youth on the Move – Skills London” – DG EMPL, Flickr (22 November 2014) https://www.flickr.com/photos/socialeurope/15861149125

 

PUBLIC SPEAKING: Ways to overcome the jitters

There comes a point in most people’s lives where they will have to do a bit of public speaking, Whether you end up being the best man toasting the groom during a wedding, or having to do a ‘make-or-break’ presentation for your university degree, public speaking is like jury duty, it is hard to get out of. For many of us, the very thought of standing in front of people, talking and showing things, is enough to leave us in a cold sweat. Paranoid fears of messing everything up or making a verbal faux-pas and embarrassing yourself in front of a whole bunch of people paralyse you, and in a slightly ironic self-fulfilling prophecy, those jitters and fears end up making you screw up the big talk. Big time.

For many people, it is preferable to be buried alive than to get up on stage, but public speaking, such as presentations of quarterly results, speaking at conferences and of course, those cringeworthy wedding speeches, are an important part of becoming successful in both our professional and personal lives. You only have to think of great figureheads such as Martin Luther King, Nelson Mandela, Margaret Thatcher and Malala Yousafzai to understand that many of these people get their message across because they are great orators.

 

A Peruvian non-verbal language analyst and biology expert in human behaviour and neurocommunication, Miguel Figueroa, had published a book “Rompe el miedo y habla en público”, whose English title translates as Breaking Fear and Speaking in Public, late last year, in which he advises on ways to vanquish the trauma associated with public speaking, especially for first-timers. In a special tete-a-tete with Spanish-language online magazine GrandesMedios.com, Figueroa suggests techniques you can adopt to master the fear of speaking to an audience, as well as improving your expression skills.

  1. Bare your sole.

When sitting down for interview or presenting at conferences, for example, you may notice people touching or holding their feet. That is because, in an unconscious way, we instinctively protect the soles of our feet, due to their perceived vulnerability. According to Figueroa, placing the bottom of your feet and holding your feet can help relax you and dissipate any nerves. This is due to a ‘hormonal chain reaction’ that encourages relaxing mindsets, according to Figueroa.

2. Sit down and stay down!

While it is not always possible at all public speaking occasions, taking a seat can help you feel more comfortable and less ‘exposed’. Sitting helps provide mental and physical stability and, according to Figueroa, imparts a sense of confidence and authority of the speaker in the audience’s eyes, like a monarch proclaiming to their court from the throne.

3. Go walkabout and let your feet do the talking

Figueroa advises that public speakers should move around on their feet. At first this may seem strange advice. Surely, you might be thinking, trotting around the stage is the surest sign of nervousness. But Figueroa says that it is in the way you walk. You should take measured steps, first placing your heel on the ground, then bringing the arch down, followed by the toes. By doing this, you will avoid the quick rushed steps associated with someone who is frightened out of their wits, helping you feel more in control of the situation and again, upping the confidence levels, in both your and your audience’s perception.

4. Put your feet up!

Another foot technique to help you relax. Figueroa advises that a few minutes before you go out there and wow them with your wise words, you should find somewhere a bit private where there is a table or desk and literally put your feet up. Doing this will tell our brains that we are relaxed and calm, helping quell the  flight-or-flight feelings currently whizzing through our minds. This tip is especially useful for people attending interviews or auditions, who can do this in the waiting room or lobby before they go. However, do not do this in a public area and especially not in front of your audience. I do not have to tell you that it is the height of bad manners.

5. Do a little striptease

No, we are not advising you to do a sweaty nerve-wracked Full Monty in front of your audience, but Figueroa explains that hiding your hands when speaking is not a good idea as it tells your audience that you are nervous or insecure. To maintain your look of confidence, the best thing to do if you are wearing a long-sleeved garment, is to simply roll up your sleeves, ideally to your elbow.

6. Pose like an Egyptian

The ancient Egyptians saw the pyramid as an important cornerstone in their respect for the dead. It is this humble shape that can also help you bury the feelings of awkwardness in your public speaking. Figueroa suggests placing your hands together with palms slanted towards each other, fingertips touching so that your hands make a sort of pyramid. This hand position suggests balance and intelligence, and is an ideal gesture for saying concrete things, giving messages in depth and when concluding a speech or a negotiation dialogue.

7. Stretch Armstrong

Extending out our hand and fingers, such as when you move your hands when talking, has the advantage of telling you brain that you are in tiger mode, ready to pounce and actively engage the audience. In the audience’s eyes, constant and passionate movement of the hands suggests you want to get their attention and have important mission critical things to say. It also conveys confidence and engagement. A familiar gesture used by expert public speakers is the ‘what to do?’ position.

8. Barriers up!

The last technique Figueroa suggests is to use an object that will act as a barrier and help keep fear away. By holding an object, such as a pointer or a pen, the object serves as a ‘safety placebo’ which will trick the brain into thinking that everything is safe and calm. It is a comforting crutch on a psychological level, and is something that is a legacy of our childhoods from when we would take a stuffed toy to bed before sleep to keep away the big bad monsters in the dark. The barrier can also act as a distraction from negative thoughts or worries, and can be useful for the practicalities of pointing out things to an audience in a presentation.

SOURCES:

HEM News Agency, Twitter, Twitter Inc. https://twitter.com/halfeatenmind

Trinadores, Twitter, Twitter Inc. https://twitter.com/Trinadores

“8 técnicas para superar el miedo a hablar en público” –  GrandesMedios.com/Grandes Medios (18 November 2016) https://www.grandesmedios.com/tecnicas-hablar-en-publico/

IMAGE CREDIT:

“Speaking Out – Public speaking made easy” – Christian Heilmann, Flickr (10 February 2010)  https://www.flickr.com/photos/codepo8/4348899776

GOOGLE SEO: What are the SEO trends in 2017?

London, UNITED KINGDOM
MEHFUZ HUSSAIN (writer) with VIJAY SHAH (editor)

 

This article was written by Mehfuz Hussain, a digital marketing specialist based in London with expertise in online marketing concepts and Google Analytics.

Search Engine Optimisation has seen many changes in 2016 thanks to Google. From the launch of its ambitious AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages) Project in February 2016, Google has shaken up the way traditional SEO worked. Understandably, Google knows well that the best way to dominate the industry is to be aware of how search engines are changing, and strategising SEO and content techniques accordingly. The world of SEO continues to evolve at high speed. While some SEO techniques have been a staple for several years, there will be many new ones that you will have to pay attention to. Here are some of the game-changing trends to help you stay ahead this year.

 

Photo credit: BigOakInc.com

 

1. Mobile-first Approach by Businesses

With ongoing improvements in the mobile computing field, browsing on mobiles has become equivalent to desktop browsing if not more In many countries, mobile browsing is more popular and dominant than via traditional desktops and laptops. In the last few years, the plethora of new smartphones with internet capabilities has changed the way search engine look at them. Remember Mobilegeddon?

A few months ago, Google said, “To improve the mobile search experience, after January 10, 2017, pages where content is not easily accessible to a user on the transition from the mobile search results may not rank as highly.” This influenced their latest search algorithm which prioritised ‘responsive’ websites at the cost of older, mobile-unfriendly sites.

So, in 2017, your top priority is to separate your desktop and mobile measurement plans to account for the fundamental differences between mobile and desktop behaviour.

 

2. Machine Learning, Artificial Intelligence, and Google Rank Brain

There is no doubt, Google’s main focus in 2017 is on Artificial Intelligence. If you followed the Google I/O event 2016, most announcements were related to AI. Google also said that the speech recognition errors have reduced from 25 to 8 percent. It’s been officially named Google’s third-most important ranking factor. Voice search will grow even more in 2017, with better voice recognition and understanding.

 

3. Infographics

Infographics make complex information eye-catching, shareable and easily digestible. An image coupled with information tends to stay in the minds of readers. Such content generates more social shares and also generates leads. Of course, your content should also be suitable enough to add Infographics to it, and they can really make it pop.

 

4. AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages) takes centre stage

A great way to ensure better user experience is switching over to Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP). More brands are using this option as Google also has begun to favour the use of AMP. It contains three sections – AMP HTML, AMP JS, and Google AMP Cache. Accelerated Mobile Page (AMP) allows websites to make pages equipped for loading right away onto mobile screens. Interestingly, sites that have switched over to AMP are given more visibility with a special icon in Google searches.

 

 

5. Branding gets personal

There is no denying the power of personal branding. If used strategically, it can be a powerful tool in ensuring the success of SEO campaigns. Even social media platforms like Facebook refine their algorithms to favour individual posts over branded posts. Also, once you have a personal brand in place, it gets much easier to boost user trust and engagement. This, in turn, will up the traffic to your site.

 

6. HTTPS Everywhere

Google has inducted https as a ranking factor in its algorithm. Since then many companies hurriedly made the transition from HTTP to HTTPS in order to protect their own and their users’ privacy. It helps even more if there is money transactions happening on the website (e-commerce) and gives consumers extra confidence about their privacy. Let’s expect more websites switching to HTTPS than ever before in the history of the Web.

 

7. Focus on Content Curation

Though many people do not realise it, content marketing and SEO needs to work together for better results and visibility. Include all types of content in the mix: press releases and newsletters as well as articles and blog posts. A good content mix will help you increase backlinks on authority websites and establish you as an expert in your field. This strategy will help you boost your business to the top of Google’s SERPs.

 

2017 will see a massive hike in Internet usage. People are more concerned about the content they read. Now is the right time to prepare a well-developed strategy to survive in the market and beat the competition. As an SEO marketer, you have to be prepared for changes. Keep an close eye on SEO trends in 2017. All the best everyone!

 

IMAGE CREDITS:
“Google SEO Magnifying Glass” – BigOakFlickr, Flickr (1 July 2016) https://www.flickr.com/photos/31682982@N03/27940989741
“Free illustration: Seo, Web Page, Responsive – Free Image on Pixabay – 2016484” – Templune, pixabay https://pixabay.com/en/seo-web-page-responsive-web-design-2016484/

QUOTE MOMENT: Don’t let words control you

 

Don’t let the nasty utterances of other people bring you down and cause you to lash out in anger. Let their comments and attitudes flow over you like water over a stone. Remember the old adage – “Sticks and stones may break  my bones, but words can never hurt me”. Be impervious to people who talk rubbish, don’t give them the reaction they want, and you will come out looking the stronger and better person.

SOURCE/IMAGE CREDITS:
Forgive me Allah, Facebook, Facebook Inc. https://www.facebook.com/LordForgiveMe/
Alia Hellz Bachell.

BAFTA: Guru LIVE sessions this bank holiday weekend

gb

London, UNITED KINGDOM
VIJAY SHAH via BAFTA

The British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) is organising a special series of sessions to offer the latest tips and advice for people working in the industries of film, television and game design this month. The academy, well-known for its yearly televised BAFTA Awards honouring the best in British television, has unveiled ‘Guru LIVE’. This is three days of talks and discussion panels with leading lights in the media industry.

The event, which takes place in London over the May Bank Holiday weekend from April 30th to May 2nd, will see attendees receive advice and insights in their chosen industry from BAFTA Award winners, nominees and the Academy’s industrial partners.

BAFTA have also released a YouTube trailer to encourage people starting out in the creative industries to come and bring their ideas and how to get a foot in the door.

Tickets cost only £6 per session, making Guru LIVE ideal for students on a tight budget.

BAFTA is a independent charity that support and nurtures film and TV talent and production in the U.K.,  by identifying and rewarding excellence, inspiring practitioners and benefiting the public. It offers training and networking opportunities via workshops, masterclasses, scholarships, lectures and mentoring schemes, connecting with audiences of all ages and backgrounds across the U.K. and abroad in Los Angeles and New York, U.S.A.

SOURCES:
HEM Businesses, The Half-Eaten Mind, Twitter, Twitter Inc. https://twitter.com/halfeatenmind/lists/hem-businesses
Film London, Twitter, Twitter Inc. https://twitter.com/Film_London
BAFTA Guru, Twitter, Twitter Inc. https://twitter.com/BAFTAGuru
“Guru LIVE” – Guru, British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) http://guru.bafta.org/live
“About” – British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) http://www.bafta.org/about
VIDEO CREDIT:
“Kick-start your career in film, TV or games with Guru Live!” – BAFTA Guru, YouTube GB (1 March 2016) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FooLCR4nxSw

CANADA SAVING TIME: Clocks go forward this weekend

Montreal, CANADA
VIJAY SHAH via Montreal Gazette and ReportCA.net

Residents in most parts of Canada are being notified that they will need to change their clocks an hour forward as much of the country switches from standard time to daylight saving time this weekend, meaning they will technically lose an hour of sleep, the Montreal Gazette reports via ReportCA.net.

The time change kicked in on yesterday night towards this morning and those who have not yet made the change are being encouraged to reset their watches and clocks to avoid arriving an hour late for work tomorrow, the Gazette advises.

 

While most Canadian provinces such as Quebec, Alberta and British Columbia, which operate on different timezones anyway, will observe daylight savings time, this does not apply to every part of Canada. The province of Sasketchewan remains on Central Standard Time year-round. Other regions that will not be changing their clocks are a part of north-east British Columbia, as well as that province’s East Kootenay region; three villages in the Central Time Zone covering north-west Ontario, the eastern tip of Quebec and Southampton Island in the northern Arctic province of Nunavut.

Everyone outside those areas will be observing DST until it finishes on November 6, 2016, in which case they will return their clocks an hour back to winter time.

The Montreal Gazette is also warning drivers to take extra care on roads over fears that the lost hour of sleep will impair their motoring ability on Canada’s highways. The newspaper cited a 1996 study in the New England Journal of Medicine that showed car accidents shot up by 8 per cent on the first Monday after the clocks change.

SOURCES:
HEM News Agency, The Half-Eaten Mind, Twitter, Twitter Inc. https://twitter.com/halfeatenmind/lists/hem-news-agency
Report 24 Canada, Twitter, Twitter Inc. https://twitter.com/Report24CA
“Don”t forget to set clocks ahead an hour tonight and drive carefully Monday” – Montreal Gazette via ReportCA.net – Canada (13 March 2016) http://reportca.net/2016/03/dont-forget-to-set-clocks-ahead-an-hour-tonight-and-drive-carefully-monday/
IMAGE CREDIT:
Getty Images via Zemanta.

WORKPLACE PENSIONS: Advice and information from the DWP

Since October 2012, all British workplaces have been required to offer a ‘workplace pension’ to all their permanent employees. The rule was first applied to large companies, but now all employers, even those run by one person with one staff member, must have pension provisions in place by law. Until then, employers varied wildly in their pensions packages or whether they even offered them.

The UK’s Department for Work and Pensions, in collaboration with the Pensions Regulator have a useful website which aims to demystify the regulations surrounding compulsory pension schemes, a scheme known officially as ‘Automatic Enrollment’. As millions of people now have workplace pensions that both they and their employer pay into, the website explains to businesses how this will affect them, their businesses and their clients’ businesses.

Even if a company has only a single employee, that employee still needs to have a pension to help secure their staff’s income post-retirement. This includes cleaners, nannies, PAs and other personal care assistants. Employers are defined by the DWP as those who pay wages and deduct tax and National Insurance contributions from their salaries. If a company employs agency staff however, then responsibility for automatic enrolment lies with the agency, not the company using the workers. So far, around 79,000 employers have already signed up.

So far, 5.4 million employees have already been automatically enrolled, where they will see their pensions topped up by the employer and get these contributions paid into their pension pot tax free. The employee also benefits as this means they can start saving for retirement early. The earlier someone starts putting money aside for their later years, the better financial circumstances they will have when that time comes. Until AE was phased in, many employees had no pension plan put in place, which would have meant them relying on the basic State Pension. Many companies simply did not offer pensions, and many workers had not given any thought to what would happen once they no longer need to work. Employees who have retirement plans already in place or who do not plan to retire in the UK, for example, can opt out of the pension scheme if they wish. Under the scheme, employees can only be enrolled if they are not now with a pension, are aged between 22 and the ‘state pension age’ (65 for men and women currently) and work in Britain on a salary of £10,000 or more a year.

Using the catchy hashtag #DontIgnoreIt, the DWP and the Pensions Regulator are promoting the site with the help of a brightly coloured and furry mascot named Workie, a ‘larger-than-life’ character created to help remind employers of their pension responsibilities. The site also features a video starring millionaire businessman and panel member of the Dragon’s Den show Theo Paphitis, explaining the benefits of workplace pensions for employees.

The website is available at: www.workplacepensions.gov.uk

SOURCES:
“HEM Businesses” – The Half-Eaten Mind, Twitter, Twitter Inc. https://twitter.com/halfeatenmind/lists/hem-businesses
DWP, Twitter, Twitter Inc. https://twitter.com/DWP
“Workplace Pensions” – Department for Work and Pensions and Pensions Regulator http://www.workplacepensions.gov.uk/?utm_source=Social%20media&utm_medium=Twitter&utm_campaign=TPRAEE102015
“Employers” – Department for Work and Pensions and Pensions Regulator http://www.workplacepensions.gov.uk/employer/
“Employees” – Department for Work and Pensions and Pensions Regulator http://www.workplacepensions.gov.uk/employee/
IMAGE CREDIT:
Getty Images via Zemanta.