COLLECTED WISDOM™ on Employee Education, Participation, and Communications
This archive contains not only the most current material on the topic, but also older items that are still relevant, provide background, perspective or are germane to the topic.
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Abstract: Selecting an education and/or advice provider is a fiduciary decision and should be made with all the care that any other fiduciary decision is made. By isolating the education process from the investment process, plan participants are receiving sound retirement education stripped of any sales motivation. It's up to the plan fiduciary to monitor the education program to ensure that it's not sales driven. Turning to an independent provider substantially reduces this risk.
Source: Plantemoran.com, March 2017
Abstract: There have been so many misconceptions that plan sponsors and advisors have had concerning ERISA 404(c) plans. They had this belief that if they just give a mutual fund lineup and some fund profiles to plan participants that they are exempt from liability. But, ERISA 404(c) protection is about following a process and fund profiles are just not enough education to give to plan participants. On the flipside, education to participants doesn't have to amount to an MBA education.
Source: Jdsupra.com, February 2017
Abstract: How do we get participants' attention to help them get on track toward retirement and then stay there amid all the noise? Vanguard has developed a three-pronged approach to driving positive participant actions: Create an individualized experience for each participant, provide a clear recommendation for increasing retirement readiness, and use proven communication techniques.
Source: Vanguardinstitutionalblog.com, January 2017
Abstract: Wells Fargo is broadening its retirement outreach with its new Retirement City game, a virtual world with quizzes and challenges to sharpen retirement knowledge. Participants choose from 40 avatars and enter a variety of challenges to move through the game's five levels of increasing difficulty, bringing them closer to retirement.
Source: Corporateinsight.com, January 2017
Abstract: Have you started planning your 2017 401k employee education sessions? Generally, most plan sponsors conduct employee education sessions during the early part of the new year to explain changes that went into effect on January 1. As you think about your 2017 education sessions, keep the following 401k education best practices in mind.
Source: Lawtonrpc.com, December 2016
Abstract: In this 10-minute video interview, David Brine, Communications Director, Washington State Department of Retirement Systems, discusses how to effectively communicate to plan members.
Source: Cammackretirement.com, August 2016
Abstract: A new study by Ramsey Solutions finds that employees with access to financial and retirement education have less stress, more savings and more confidence than those without access. Results show 40 percent of workers say their employers do not provide any type of retirement or financial education and seven out of 10 workers with zero retirement savings do not have access to retirement education from their employers.
Source: Daveramsey.com, July 2016
Abstract: A new report asserts that today's consumers do not want "communication," they want personal guidance. They want to do things when, where and how they prefer. They want things easy and convenient. And they want the whole experience to be enjoyable.
Source: Asppa.org, March 2016
Abstract: As 401k plans increase their reliance on auto plan design features, we are seeing participants' engagement and savings rates declining on average. The tactics many thought were going to boost retirement readiness appear to be having unintended consequences.
Source: Napa-net.org, March 2016
Abstract: Retirement plan sponsors spend a considerable amount of time crafting participant communication in an attempt to increase plan participants, maximize employee deferrals, increase investment diversification, or improve plan metrics. Article suggests two primary reasons most communication campaign fail to change participant behavior.
Source: Cammackretirement.com, March 2016
Abstract: The majority of employers struggle to get participants to open or read benefits material. To get retirement plan participants to read and act on benefits information, retirement plan providers should focus on the participant experience, just as marketers of some consumer brands have done, a new report said.
Source: Bna.com, March 2016
Abstract: Article outlines five steps you can take to help increase participation in the plans you manage, as well as improve the overall health of your plans.
Source: Thinkadvisor.com, January 2016
Abstract: Forget Millennials vs. Generation X. This 6-page survey reveals why these groups have more in common than you think, and where real differences present opportunities for engagement.
Source: Ssga.com, January 2016
Abstract: Investment knowledge and engagement levels are declining among many defined contribution plan participants. But more targeted outreach may help connect different "investor personas" to the guidance and confidence they need. Article identifies three distinct investor personas.
Source: Abglobal.com, December 2015
Abstract: When it comes to benefits information, the challenge has become how to provide the same tech-centric and customer-friendly user experience that millennials have come to expect as everyday consumers.
Source: Frenkelbenefits.com, November 2015
Abstract: Plan sponsors can put these five steps in place to help participants successfully navigate the path to retirement security.
Source: Jpmorganfunds.com,, September 2015
Abstract: To help your participants navigate the murky waters of consolidating old 401k accounts, consider conducting a roll-in campaign. Orchestrating such a campaign doesn't have to be an elaborate task. All you need is a good rollover form and a captive audience.
Source: Ssga.com, September 2015
Abstract: Retirement plan sponsors need a strategy for education, but should plan sponsors also adopt an education policy statement that outlines their goals and methods for educating retirement plan participants?
Source: Plansponsor.com, September 2015
Abstract: This publication serves as a handy checklist for plan sponsors to better understand the behaviors, attitudes and communication preferences each demographic group has when it comes to retirement planning. Suggested communication points are included that plan sponsors might incorporate into participant materials and meetings.
Source: Nagdca.org, August 2015
Abstract: An eleven page overview of how employers can design a retirement plan communication program that will help meet the needs of their employees.
Source: Surveygizmo.com, August 2015
Abstract: The time has come to adopt and implement proven features and solutions to help defined contribution plan participants achieve improved financial wellness and enjoy greater financial security in their retirement years. Paper outlines three strategies employers can adopt to accomplish this.
Source: Xerox.com, May 2015
Abstract: Research suggest that plan sponsors are grappling with a conflict between the belief that they provide valuable participant education and the recognition that too many employees are not making informed decisions about their retirement. A deeper understanding behind this disconnect may be the first step in developing a more effective participant education approach.
Source: Pnc.com, April 2015
Abstract: Retirement plan sponsors should revisit their communications strategies to keep up with participants' needs and advancing technology. With each effort to engage retirement plan participants, plan sponsors should ask, What is it we're trying to communicate; do we have a clear call to action; what do we want to measure; and to what end?
Source: Plansponsor.com, April 2015
Abstract: Study results of a comprehensive national survey revealing that while plan participants are satisfied with their 401ks, a lack of understanding of basic investment concepts likely contributes to lower plan engagement and less successful retirement outcomes. Reviews what's working and not working.
Source: 401khelpcenter.com, April 2015
Abstract: This article explores how financial wellness initiatives and automatic features may interact in DC plans and the potential for financial wellness initiatives to boost participants in plans with auto features.
Source: Iscebs.org, April 2015
Abstract: An advisor's bottom line or sales strategy should never be the driving force behind participant education; the needs of the participant should always take the main stage. Participant education should empower participants and give them the tools and information they need to successfully plan and save for retirement, but how?
Source: Ekonbenefits.com, March 2015
Abstract: The challenge in addressing the savings deficit is complicated by the fact that employee education and communications strategies used by plan sponsors and consultants in the past to draw employees into the plan are not likely to resonate with Gen X and Gen Y. This white paper identifies some distinguishing characteristics of Gen X and Gen Y and suggests strategies that plan sponsors may want to adopt to engage younger workers in retirement savings today so they can achieve retirement readiness in the years to come.
Source: Calamos.com, March 2015
Abstract: Retirement plan sponsors wanting to step up participant communications should make sure their providers are in tune with the latest trends.
Source: Planadviser.com, February 2015
Abstract: Employers have a critical role to play in helping women save for retirement, and research suggests women are open to receiving information from their employers and more likely to take advantage of investment tools, programs and education when they're offered.
Source: Benefitnews.com, January 2015
Abstract: Many experts believe that 401k employee education, in its current form, does not work. Writer believes that it is just a matter of time until all employee education migrates to the Internet and provides eight reasons.
Source: Benefitnews.com, January 2015
Abstract: DC plans are most successful when participants understand their choices and are empowered to take action. As a plan sponsor, you must transform complexity into simplicity, and fear into action. Yet, you are faced with many communications challenges; because participants crave simplicity, but DC plans are inherently complex. Though communication can be difficult, the benefits offered by a successful communication program outweigh the challenges.
Source: Nagdca.org, December 2014
Abstract: Four important trends are emerging as providers rise to meet the challenge of delivering more personalized, contextual and interactive communications to plan participants -- segmentation, channel optimization, data integration and management, and metrics.
Source: 401khelpcenter.com, November 2014
Abstract: Helping educate your employees about the benefits of a 401k plan, and in the process debunking common plan myths, can go a long way towards getting more employees to enroll. But there are other ways you can help increase participation too. Article takes a brief look at three of them.
Source: Mossadams.com, October 2014
Abstract: With a new survey finding only a third of employees happy with the level of benefits education provided by their employers, experts offer ways HR leaders can better inform their workforce about making the best benefits choices for their needs.
Source: Hreonline.com, September 2014
Abstract: Among approximately 75 large employers, nearly one-quarter (24%) are currently using a white label approach to naming defined contribution plan investment options, Aon Hewitt finds.
Source: Planadviser.com, September 2014
Abstract: The participation in social media and the use of mobile technology among 401k plan participants has increased exponentially. Although traditional benefits communication vehicles have not yet become obsolete, plan sponsors need to take a multi channel approach to benefit communications by factoring in social media and mobile technologies. Article provides some insight.
Source: 401khelpcenter.com, August 2014
Abstract: As a plan sponsor and fiduciary, part of your responsibility is to help your participants make better choices when it comes to their plan investments. This article reviews some of the benefits of preventing participant mistakes, what the most common mistakes are, and some possible solutions.
Source: 401khelpcenter.com, July 2014
Abstract: Does educating participants on savings behaviors and investments have an actual, measurable effect that can drive better retirement outcomes? Does it encourage employees in a sponsored retirement plan to save more, and does it help them learn more about investments and other aspects of the plan, or is it a waste of time? A survey of advisers and providers shows lack of consensus in the industry on these questions and others surrounding employee financial education efforts.
Source: Planadviser.com, July 2014
Abstract: Financial knowledge is critical to ones retirement security, finds a new study showing that 401k plan participants who scored higher on a test of their financial knowledge earned an additional 1.3 percentage points of investment returns annually on their retirement accounts.
Source: Nber.org, July 2014
Abstract: Studies have linked the perception of workplace benefits with satisfaction and retention. But "without solid communication efforts, employees may not understand or value even the best and most generous benefits plans," said Mary Schafer, vice president of benefits and talent outsourcing at payroll provider ADP. The best messaging is "short and sweet, using simple and memorable language," she noted. "Don't get caught up in alphabet soup. That gets confusing fast" to employees.
Source: Shrm.org, July 2014
Abstract: If you want your retirement plan to be great, you need to work at it. Identify needs and develop a thoughtful communications program to address them. Seek feedback from employees, measure improvements, and keep at it. Don't be afraid to seek professional help, as specialized skill sets can make a big difference in effectiveness.
Source: Plansponsor.com, June 2014
Abstract: In the past, plan sponsors placed most of their attention on plan level details, including investment options, fees and other features. Now, sponsors are growing more concerned about participant engagement as it pertains to their own retirement planning. But, how does one achieve increased engagement? It is one thing to hold live orientations during open enrollment, but holding them often enough that they actually drive engagement can be cost prohibitive and negatively impact productivity within the workplace. Enter the digital participant experience.
Source: Plansponsor.com, June 2014
Abstract: The 401k education can act has an additional foundation to help ease the nerves in volatile markets and to reinforce the need for continued savings. A broad financial education program can also get at the root of the problem of why your employees likely are not saving adequately for their retirement.
Source: 401kadvisor.us, June 2014
Abstract: Workplace retirement plan education has resonated more with the already engaged than the average employee. It is time for employers to do the hard work of educating the most difficult to teach segments of their population. This next level of retirement planning education will take some HR retirement plan professionals out of their comfort zone because it requires that they too increase their knowledge about retirement planning.
Source: Shrm.org, May 2014
Abstract: You go to get the oil changed in your car. You wait a few minutes, and finally the guy with the name patch on his shirt saunters up and throws a grease-covered manual at you and says, "Here. Do it yourself." That's a bit like what's happening to plan participants these days. Here's your 401k and individual retirement account, a few pie charts, a menu of investments and good luck to you. Author suggests financial education is simply not working. Here's why, and how we can fix it.
Source: Usnews.com, April 2014
Abstract: It is more important than ever that employers not only provide programs that support employees' health and financial security, but also invest in educating people and supporting them to make good decisions. Benefits account for almost 30% of total compensation spending. An effective communication program helps your company make the most of its investment.
Source: Benzcommunications.com, April 2014
Abstract: Participants are eager for guidance on saving and investing for retirement and 67% of them expect their employer to play a role in providing it. Although many sponsors offer formal advice programs, other outreach efforts can be even more powerful, particularly when they take into account both how and where participants like to receive information. Plan sponsors and others are exploring communications strategies and channels to engage participants more fully.
Source: Ssga.com, January 2014
Abstract: How can plan sponsors do a better job of reaching employees, communicating the advantages of a DC plan or any employee benefits program? Knowing how employees think about their benefits and what triggers them to learn more is crucial to effective communication. Recognizing what vocabulary employees understand and how they organize their thinking is critically important. This paper explores how to better engage participants through communication and education and create more positive retirement savings outcomes.
Source: Dciia.org, December 2013
Abstract: How Americans feel about the process of saving for retirement has a direct effect on their actions and success as savers. That is one of the key findings of BlackRock's annual Retirement Survey, released today, which revealed that the most successful retirement savers have certain psychological and emotional attitudes related to the actual process of saving that drive them to put more money away for retirement.
Source: 401khelpcenter.com, November 2013
Abstract: There's a new policy statement debate that sounds strikingly similar to the IPS debate. It's consistent with the current evolution going on in the 401k arena -- and it might just give employees a better chance to meet their retirement goals. It's called the Education Policy Statement (EPS).
Source: Fiduciarynews.com, October 2013
Abstract: A 401k plan Education Policy Statement contains high level objectives and describes potential methodology for achieving those objectives. It is intended to assist the plan sponsor with implementing, monitoring and evaluating a proactive participant education program.
Source: Abgil.com, October 2013
Abstract: Retirement education in the workplace is entering a new stage where smart automatic features play a prominent role and where every aspect of communications is being transformed by the web and mobile devices. As a result, retirement education is becoming more focused on helping workers take action and make wise decisions at key points in their lives.
Source: Vanguard.com, September 2013
Abstract: Educating employees about opportunities through an employer-sponsored retirement plan still proves a difficult task. Chad Ryan, director of retirement plans for PepsiCo, has taken a committed and data-driven approach to helping PepsiCo's 100,000 U.S. employees retire securely.
Source: Benefitnews.com, September 2013
Abstract: According to the survey from Towers Watson, 56 percent of employers currently use various social media tools as part of their internal communication initiatives to build community. Social media tools can be effective in creating a sense of community and employee engagement, but an employer's efforts must be tailored to the particular needs of the organization.
Source: Bna.com, June 2013
Abstract: Employers have more influence than they probably realize in creating a secure financial future for their employees. Here are five key ways an employer can help foster a community of savers for retirement in their company.
Source: 401khelpcenter.com, May 2013
Abstract: 401ks aren't perfect; but not broken. It's the 401k operators -- employees -- who lack the understanding and motivation to use them successfully. Unless 401k education is fixed, 401k's will continue to provide too little retirement income to too many Americans. 401k education started wrong and changed little in 30 years. We need adult-education experts to help fix it.
Source: Dennisackley.com, April 2013
Abstract: Any employee benefit program will better meet its objectives if an employer communicates about it effectively. And perhaps no other employee benefit plan requires as much careful attention to employee communication as a 401k. The need to communicate effectively with employees regarding 401k plans is heightened by the fact that employees may react negatively to plan limitations and restrictions. So what can employers do to improve their benefits communication?
Source: Thompson.com, April 2013
Abstract: Are you having as hard of a time as we do in finding independent retirement education and communication firms? To solve the problem, we have put together this follow directory. Download it at no cost and if you know of a firm we missed, let us know about them.
Source: 401khelpcenter.com, March 2013.
Abstract: Beyond the general education about how to much to save and how to invest, retirement plan participants have issues at different life stages that need to be addressed -- there are many issues that are not "one size fits all."
Source: Planadviser.com, March 2013
Abstract: Since retirement plans are designed to give participants a vehicle that helps them save and prepare for retirement, they need to be accompanied by an education plan that compels them to take action and make decisions -- not collect dust. This article provides some participant education best practices.
Source: Principal.com, January 2013
Abstract: Workers under age 35 have the lowest 401k participation of any age group. Failing to save for retirement at a young age means missing out on compounded investment earnings that can substantially ease the burden of building a nest egg. This brief reflects preliminary results from research positing that young adults' distance to retirement may discourage them from saving, and it tests what types of communication tactics might be most effective in promoting saving.
Source: Center for Retirement Research, March 2012
Abstract: For too many investors, though, it's only when they're older and "experienced" do they finally understand the missed opportunity of taking correct action in their younger years. If lack of experience is the disease, then a good 401k education program is the cure.
Source: Benefitspro.com, March 2012
Abstract: The key to disciplined 401k education is education for both the employees and the plan sponsors. Unfortunately, education, despite its importance, often falls to a lower priority status in the busy-ness of business and life. Article presents four key components of a successful 401k plan education program.
Source: Fiduciarynews.com, February 2012
Abstract: Proactive strategies boost 401k participation by nonnative speakers. Midsize employers have found ways to increase their 401k plan participation rates among employees who speak English as a second language.
Source: Businessinsurance.com, January 2012.
Abstract: It is the age old issue of how to increase employee participation in your 401k plan. We know how crucial it is to the overall success of the plan -- particularly to the highly compensated employee group. High participation also helps in creating a positive attitude towards the company and helps greatly in employee retention. So, how can you increase participation in your plan? Located on: 401khelpcenter.com.
Abstract: Most 401k plan participants want and need better investment education. Nearly all plan sponsors provide investment information of some form, but one tool that is often not promoted is the Internet. The Internet contains a wealth of free, useful and informative data related to 401k investing. Sure, there is a lot of junk also, but you can help your employees avoid these areas by directing them to high quality sites. Located on: 401khelpcenter.com.
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