A new report has revealed many employers view auto-enrolment as the biggest challenge their organisation will face over the coming years.
Auto-Enrolment: Expectations versus Reality, commissioned by Buzzacott Employee Solutions and Meridian West, states that four in ten employers have such a view of auto-enrolment, HR Magazine reports.
Those who have been through the process found it more arduous than expected, the study reveals, with 34 per cent saying it is more time-consuming than they thought it would be.
A different attitude prevails among those who have yet to reach their staging date, however, with 97 per cent confident they will be able to make the changes in good time.
Companies that are yet to reach their staging date need to "take a holistic approach" to auto-enrolment if they want to make it work, according to Amanda Francis, a managing partner at Buzzacott.
Timing is a crucial factor in the successful roll-out of auto-enrolment, the report suggests. Some 77 per cent of companies which have passed their staging date started planning less than 12 months in advance – but many wish they had done so sooner.
According to Richard Phelps, head of Barclays Corporate & Employer Solutions, many small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are underestimating the scale of the auto-enrolment task
"It is thought that to date only two per cent of UK companies have successfully completed the auto-enrolment process," he said.
"We are at a critical point as SMEs now start reaching their staging dates in large numbers. Reports suggest that many companies are unaware of their statutory obligations."
Barclays and Standard Life are offering support for smaller companies who are yet to reach their staging date, with the next deadline set for July 1st.
The Pensions Regulator recommends employers allow at least 12 months before their staging date to prepare for auto-enrolment.
There is a guide available on the regulator's website to ensure companies are well-prepared for the changes and there is also a tool available for creating an auto-enrolment action plan.