Heinke Conrads at WTWThe study noted that the COVID-19 pandemic had exacerbated problems, causing uncertainty for employees who had been forced to work on short-term contracts or who had lost their jobs.For thsi reason, it is important for employers to motivate workers with additional support. “A good benefits programme and financial wellbeing solutions are important tools to keep commitment high,” Heinke Conrads, head of retirement for Germany and Austria at WTW, said.WTW’s research further showed that 42% of employees would receive digital help to manage their savings in order to improve their financial situation, while 38% required access to savings and investment models, with only 29% requesting the support of an advisor.Employees who rely on financial knowledge were more likely to feel therye were “on the right track” (62%). “Financial education is not yet common in Germany, but it is a good instrument to supporting employees, especially in times of crisis,” Conrads added.Looking for IPE’s latest magazine? Read the digital edition here. Seventy two percent of employees in Germany have called out for active support from their employers on the design of their occupational pension plans, according to a recent survey conducted by Willis Towers Watson (WTW).Workers have asked primarily for flexibility, with 66% wanting to be able to transfer occupational pension schemes if they change jobs, and just as many have requested flexible payment options for pensions.The survey showed that protection for disability and death are also becoming increasingly important for employees.According to the research, companies may opt to improve benefits, especially among employees who are financially under pressure. It showed that 41% of these employees would like to receive more benefits, in the form of, for example, company pensions or protection for disabilities and accidents, with 38% wanting an increase in wages. But occupational pension schemes continue to play a very important role for the respondents, with 46% considering these schemes a reason to be loyal to their employers, and 70% of those with an occupational pension plan being proud to work for their employers. The numbers reflect the situation prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.The economic uncertainty caused by the coronavirus crisis has unsettled employees, and the financial uncertainty has had an impact on health, family life and job performance. A solid occupational pension plan, however, can tick one major concern for German workers off the list, Wilhelm-Friedrich Puschinski, head of general consulting at WTW, told IPE.“Employees in Germany trust their employer to offer them a good solution with excellent value for money and without having an economic self-interest; they are willing to reward their employers for a needs-based design with better motivation and loyalty,” he added.The study revealed that occupational pension schemes are perceived as a source of stability for retirement. It showed that 85% of the employees with an occupational pension save part of their annual income for old-age provisions, while only 61% of those without such a scheme do the same.“Occupational pension plans in Germany offer the highest degree of security for employees”Wilhelm-Friedrich Puschinski, head of general consulting at WTW“Occupational pension plans in Germany offer the highest degree of security for employees, with all existing pension scheme employers guarantee a minimum benefit, even if the capital markets slip,” Puschinski said, adding that many employers have actively reduced the risks both for employers and employees over the last few years, whilst maintaining general benefit levels.“There are different layers of protection against insolvency of both providers and employers, and the strict labour law in Germany protects employees from disproportional benefit reductions,” he said.Looking ahead, 67% were expect to navigate in worse financial conditions than their parents at the age of retirement, while at the same time struggling to build-up savings. The study also showed that 44% would invest more in old-age provisions, but only around 42% achieve its savings targets, a result in line with a trend seen over the past years.It added that 36% of participants could only rely on their salary without savings – 21% of these said that financial problems would impact their professional performance, and 23% had suffered from stress, anxiety or depression in the past two years.