At a TPSU program held at the University of Memphis, the benefits manager at a 5,000 employee company discusses how her company has successfully incorporated financial wellness into their health wellness program.
Over the past five years, the Memphis based manufacturing company has brought in healthcare providers to educate, inform and engage employees in their wellness program which has been a big hit. Leveraging this momentum, two years ago the benefits manager decided to incorporate financial wellness with the healthcare program focused on their 401k.
The financial wellness program included prizes and games about different aspects of financial literacy and saving for retirement. Their record keeper came out the first year to highlight the various features of the 401k plan – most employees were not aware of all the tools available to them.
After that first successful program, employees started asking for one-on-one meetings with their advisor which was incorporated into the next financial wellness meeting.
One of the problems with wellness programs is measuring effectiveness. The Memphis based employer decided to not only ask employees for feedback using an evaluation form but they also monitored the activity of the plan participants noticing not just greater traffic on the 401k website but also increased participation and deferral rates.
While the Ideal Plan which automatically enrolls employees into the company’s 401k plan at 6% as well as gradually escalates deferrals to 12% using a stretch match and target date funds is a sure fire way to make dramatic improvements in retirement readiness, it can lead to a lack of engagement. Employees engaged in their retirement planning as well as those that feel more financially secure managing debt will be more productive, focused workers ready to deal with the phase of retirement when engagement is critical – managing money when they retire – and will be more likely to retire when it’s best for them and the company.
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