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401k Leadership Team makes the Difference

401k Leadership Team makes the Difference

401k Leadership Teams can absolutely be the difference maker for a participant-funded retirement plan.  Having senior management support when communicating the importance of saving for retirement seems to have contributed to the success of the plan. After the conclusion of The Plan Sponsor University (TPSU) at the Nashville Loews Vanderbilt, TPSU Founder and CEO, Fred Barstein spoke with Verta Ross, a Benefits Specialist for a 1,300-employee organization.  Ms. Ross discussed the efforts of the organization. She describes how internal teams were structured to effectively communicate with all employees. She also stressed the benefit of packaging the retirement plan messages in short discussions with the support of the leadership organization leadership team.

Full Transcript Here

Speaker 1:
This is Fred Barstein with 401K TV in lovely Nashville where we completed one of our largest TPSU programs. I had almost 100 people here and I am here with Verta. Welcome, Verta.

Speaker 2:
Thank you.

Speaker 1:
Okay if we ask you a few questions?

Speaker 2:
Yes it is.

Speaker 1:
Okay before we do why don’t you tell our audience a little bit about yourself and the size of your organization.

Speaker 2:
Okay, my name is Verta and the size of my organization is 1300 employees.

Speaker 1:
Great. And what’s your role there, Verta?

Speaker 2:
And my role is a benefits specialist.

Speaker 1:
Very good. So one of the things you talked about which we think is so critical is you got buy-in from the leadership. What does that really mean? What does buy in mean?

Speaker 2:
Yes, so the buy-in from the leadership is very important because that meant that the leadership really cared about the people that worked in the organization. And wanting them to be more involved with 401K to increase the participation.

Speaker 1:
So how did that manifest itself? What did they do?

Speaker 2:
What we did, we did the auto-enrollment. And we re-enrolled people, gave them a timeline, we communicated and we also brought out the person that handles our account with the 401K to help us with our re-enrollment and education. So we increased the participation which helped us pass or nondiscrimination testing. And most of the people stayed on with the plan. We had very few people to wait.

Speaker 1:
And did you have team leaders that get involved with educating and what did you do?

Speaker 2:
So what we did, our team leaders had weekly meetings. So I would go and just present 401K in small tidbits. What’s an investment? What’s the [inaudible 00:01:50]? What’s the importance of the match. And so these team leaders went back to their clinics and encouraged people to enroll. And so some of our locations got 100% participation. And it ended up as a contest amongst locations.

Speaker 1:
Great. That’s great. That’s wonderful that you can do that. And that you have great leadership like that. So final question, a couple of things that you picked up here that you want to do when you get back to the office.

Speaker 2:
Yes, one of the main things that I was very impressed with was bringing in a peer amongst the colleagues to listen to the investment committee. And tell them from an employee standpoint if that is something that will work for them or not. I thought that was a very good recommendation. The other recommendation was having that education plan.

Speaker 1:
Policy statement.

Speaker 2:
Policy statement in there so that you know which way you’re going from a strategic aspect of educating your population in the future for 401K.

Speaker 1:
Good. Well, congratulations on your plan… sounds like it’s going well.

Speaker 2:
Thank you.

Speaker 1:
Thanks for participating and thank you for watching 401K TV.

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