Communications Conundrum? Try Video. A majority of retirement plan sponsors recognize how an effective education and communications program can help positively impact workers’ savings behaviors and improve retirement outcomes. And many sponsors are taking it upon themselves to build their own communication strategies from the ground up to help boost financial wellness and retirement plan engagement. However, in an increasingly tech-centric world where time and attention spans are shorter than ever, sponsors may be asking, what strategies are best to reach participants where they’re most likely to make an impression?
Ideally, a well-rounded communications program would include a combination of media: print (i.e., newsletters, checklists and mailers), face-to-face (i.e., education and enrollment meetings), email/web/video (aka digital), and increasingly, social media (i.e., Facebook and Twitter). Mobile apps might potentially be part of the mix, too, depending on the technological capabilities of the plan and its service providers.
As part of a balanced, consistent, ongoing communications program, all of these media have their place, and combined, have the potential to move the needle when it comes to bolstering plan participation, improving investment decisions and asset allocation strategies, and bringing about better retirement outcomes — the ultimate goal.
However, we are increasingly seeing video emerge as the frontrunner for delivering the benefits message to employees in a way that they actually pay attention to and understand. In fact, 75% of people are more likely to watch a video than read, according to tech market research firm Forrester Research.
Studies show that the majority of employees are confused about their benefits — more than half say they don’t understand them, and only 25% think their employers do a good job of communicating benefits. It goes without saying, there’s room for improvement.
Video helps cut through the confusion because it offers a short and sweet way to get the message across. And brevity is indeed the key to success. Additional research shows that the “sweet spot” for length of a video is about 3-4 minutes.
Further, video relies primarily on graphics and visuals to convey the main ideas — a big plus when it comes to increasing comprehension among adult workers. In fact, visually intensive and appealing communications presented in any medium are more likely to garner attention because they’re easier to read and understand. Video’s concise and visual nature means it’s likely to be more memorable, too, another aspect that can help make complex benefits decisions easier for employees.
Moreover, most Americans carry a portable video player in their back pocket these days — the smartphone. According to Statista, there were 152.1 million mobile phone video viewers in the U.S. in 2016, and as of Q4 2016, mobile devices accounted for 54% of all digital video plays worldwide.
That’s a lot of opportunity to reach today’s workers via video on their mobile devices, especially younger generations. Ninety-four percent of Millennial retirement savers say they want mobile access to their retirement accounts, a recent study from online personal wealth management firm Personal Capital found. By extension, it would stand to reason that Millennials would also want to consume retirement planning- and benefits-oriented videos on their mobile devices as well.
With so much of today’s workforce constantly on the go, it seems logical to try to reach them with important information — like details about their retirement benefits — wherever they are. As such, workers of all generations can benefit from readily available video presentations available on their mobile devices when and where they want to consume them.
So for retirement plan sponsors who are stumped for creative and innovative ways to get the message to employees about their retirement plan benefits, video may be just the tool you can use to take your communications program to the next level. Of course, there are considerations — does your organization have the space, talent and technology to pull off a video production? — but there are myriad apps, software and resources out there to help you get the job done. One low-budget solution is to film on a smartphone, and most personal computers today come equipped with video editing software.
In any case, video can help round out a well-planned and executed participant communications strategy. It’s a “hip” way to engage your workforce and help boost their retirement readiness while they watch, listen and learn.
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