401k Plan Engagement Strategy is a Must for a Successful 401k Plan
401k plan engagement strategy is very important to a successful 401k plan or 403b plan. Having a successful 401k plan engagement strategy contributes to a significant difference when working with the employee-base on their individual retirement savings accounts. Fred Barstein, Founder and CEO of The Plan Sponsor University (TPSU) interviewed an attendee from a TPSU Program held on the campus of University of Southern California. Jackie is Benefits Manager, Payroll Manager and Retirement Plan Administrator at her company which employs approximately 500 employees. The firm spends substantial time developing the 401k plan engagement strategy at both the employee level and at the senior management level.
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This is Fred Barstein with 401k TV at the University of Southern California where we just completed a TPSU program with Jackie. Welcome, Jackie.
Okay if we ask you a few questions?
Before we do, tell us a little bit about yourself and your role and the size of your company.
My name is Jackie, and my role at the company I work for is the benefit and payroll manager and the 401k plan administrator.
Great. How many employees do you have?
We have a little under 500 employees.
That’s great. One of the things you talked about is two things, really. How do you engage remote employees? And also how do you engage senior management? Tell us about your programs.
Well, it’s not a clear science, but we’ve been trying to perfect it as we go. There’s always communication from the employee from the date of hire. We have very, very vast demographic of employees. Some we do through communication of email. Others we do with our online company portal. Then, others we have enrollment material already presented at the time of new hire enrollment.
And you use Go To Meeting webinars.
We use Go To Meeting webinars that we conduct, and we use that like a benefit orientation but, in this instant, is just solely for our 401k plan. Then, we also do financial wellness throughout the year. We look at what current issues affect our employees. For example, our last series is we did basics of investing. We just informed the participants and the employees on the differences of the different investment options within our plan in our portfolio.
How do you know what’s interesting to them? Are you surveying them?
We’re surveying them, getting back feedback, just listening to the different issues that are going on with our employees. Our next series is going to be actually talking about estate planning. We’ve had a lot of employees where they’re stuck with elderly parents. Some parents are passing on, so it gets them to reflect about their current situation.
And you use all of these programs also to gauge senior management. Tell us how you do that.
Yes. We do. We bring senior management into educational programs. We invite them in as well as have them buy on into our 401k plan, let them know what our benefits are, and so that they can, in turn, not only use it for themselves but trickle down that education onto our employees. It’s not mandatory for them to do it, but most of our senior management is very good about buying in.
Good. Then, final question, couple of things you learned and want to take back.
There’s a lot of things that I learned today. I feel like you can always learn something new but definitely looking at the different types of our fund portfolio, making sure that we’re having a variety, which I believe we do, but just going back on some of the tips that we heard here today, looking at our current plan design. We are looking at an automatic enrollment so looking at some of the pros and cons and networking with other plan sponsors to get an idea of what works for them, what doesn’t work for them, and taking that back to see if it’s going to be a good fit for us.
Great. Well, thank you for your time today, Jackie.
Well, thank you.
And thank you for watching 401k TV. We appreciate it.