Want to Improve Your Retirement Plan and Employee Outcomes? All You Need is Love. What do all great workplace retirement plans have in common? The answer may surprise you.
It’s love. Yes, love. Love is the common denominator for all companies that have great retirement plans. As CloverHill Capital CEO and 401(k) Strategist Adrian Kierans puts it in this video, which has received more than 8,000 views so far on LinkedIn: “All companies that I know of that have great 401(k) plans love their employees.”
There are no secrets, shortcuts or magic bullets that are going to transform your plan overnight. As the Beatles famously wrote, “All you need is love.”
So what does that “lead with love” mentality look like? As Kierans explains in his soft Irish brogue, employers who love their employees do the following:
- They treat their employees like extended family
- They understand that people are the lifeblood of their organization
- They see their employees not as a replaceable commodity, not as costs or overhead, but something to be invested in, something that creates revenue and growth and builds the company’s vision for the future
- They create a culture where employees feel fulfilled by their work and genuinely enjoy what they do every day
Kierans says that even with the best tactics, strategies and plan design features, employers who don’t approach their retirement plan offerings from a place of love are only going to get so far. “If you start from a place of love and wanting the best for your employees, achieving those desirable outcomes is going to be much more attainable,” he notes.
So what are some things you can do in your retirement plan to demonstrate your love for your employees and your desire to help them achieve better retirement outcomes? First, find out what they really want. Ask them what you can do better, and see if there are ways to improve the retirement plan to meet your employees’ needs without busting your organization’s budget. Perhaps you can host more frequent meetings to help employees understand different aspects of the plan; post more easy-to-understand, interactive information on your benefits portal; or schedule regular face-to-face one-on-ones or lunch-and-learns with your plan’s financial advisor, if you have one.
Here’s another idea: keep plan fees as low as possible while also delivering quality investments and advice. Higher fees can make a sizable dent in employees’ ability to save. However, there are many lower-cost options available on the market that deliver competitive returns, like index funds, for example. In addition, sit down with your current provider and ask them to explain their fees, so you can make sure you’re getting the best value for your plan dollars, and that your participants aren’t paying excessive fees. It’s part of your fiduciary responsibility to periodically review your plan offerings, investment lineup and fees, so you’ll be doing yourself a favor, too.
Finally, get as many employees as possible to participate in the plan. After all, they can’t benefit from the plan if they’re not in it. Use education to promote awareness of the plan and help employees understand how participating can help them save for retirement. In addition, if you don’t offer it already, consider adding automatic enrollment to your plan — studies show this makes it easier to help employees jumpstart their retirement savings. What’s more, according to the National Bureau of Economic Research, implementing auto-enrollment has been shown to increase retirement plan participation rates by 50%.
We have seen that employers who truly love their employees are willing to go the extra mile to make sure they are taken care of, both during and after their working years. The bottom line: You can choose to offer a top-notch retirement plan, and help your employees achieve better outcomes in their post-career years. All you need is love.
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