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Retirement Plan Optimization Via Technology Enhancement

Retirement Plan Optimization Via Technology Enhancement

Retirement Plan Optimization comes in many different forms.  When retirement plan optimization is introduced in the form of technology, it is a welcome enhancement – especially when the Plan Sponsor has approximately 1,000 employees dispersed over 30 locations.  After a recent Plan Sponsor University (TPSU) Fiduciary Education Program at Fordham University Law School in New York, NY, Mr. Fred Barstein, Founder and CEO of TPSU interviewed Ms. Michelle Williams Manager of HRS and Benefits at a manufacturing firm.  Ms. Williams discussed the realized benefit of upgrading the firm’s payroll technology.  After the technology upgrade, the firm activated a robust auto-enrollment program, observed a more engaged workforce and retirement plan participation has noticeably increased.

Full Transcript Here

Hi, this is Fred Barstein with 401k TV, Fordham Law School. We just completed a TPSU program. I am here with Michelle. Welcome, Michelle.

Thank you.

Okay if I ask you a few questions?


Very good. Reluctantly.


So, why don’t you tell our audience a little bit about yourself and your organization?

I’m Michelle. I work for an organization that’s approaching 1,000 employees, and my role is … Sorry, my role is the senior manager of HRSM benefits.

Very good.


So, one of the things you talked about is you were able to use your HR system to improve engagement with participants, participants enrolling more.


So, tell us how that happened?

Well, we migrated to a new system and the goal of migrating was that the self-service function would be improved. Our old system was clunky and it wasn’t … And as it proved through this open enrollment, didn’t really engage the employees.


So once we did the open enrollment with the new system, we got a great increase in employees who enrolled in the 403b and who also asked questions.

It asked questions?

Well, no, they asked questions.


Because they’re enrolled and they want to know more about it.

And they [inaudible 00:01:35].

It’s also … That’s also education, but since they saw the option, which I’m assuming they didn’t really notice it before-


… they made the [crosstalk 00:01:46]-

But it probably doesn’t just focus on 401k. It’s all benefits.

It’s all benefits.

But 401k was highlighted.


Or 403b.

I guess they … I’m not sure why they never noticed it before, because it was there before in the old system, but they just made an increase in enrollment. I think it looked better.

Do you have any percentages, or do you know … Did you track?

Off the hand, no, I don’t have percentages, because we didn’t have … The old system, we weren’t able to have the old number-

Right. But you just noticed that?

Yes. It was significant.

And do you have remote employees, or do they all work in one location?

Oh, we have 30 locations.

Right. So that probably helped, too, right?


Having a really good system-


… to upgrade that. So, and how long have you had that system for?

A year.

A year. So you’ve noticed a big difference in that year?


Great. Final question, a couple things you picked up and you learned here at TPSU?

Oh, I learned a lot. Just a couple? Today, the highlight, the ideal plan, that was great.

Right. The auto plan, yeah.

Well, the ideal plan with the auto-enrollment and to … Six features. It’s really good for us to go back and review. I did like our improvement plan checklist that we have the 30 and 90 days because what encouraged us is that most of it, we hit when we moved to our new vendor. So we-


… are like, “Yay, we’re on track.” So this was great.

Very good. Well, thanks for your time today.

You’re welcome.

And thank you for watching 401k TV. Stay tuned.



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