Virtual Education models efficiently reach the masses. Participant education is vital to successfully achieving retirement outcomes. It turns out, virtual education and remote meetings actually reach more employees than in-person meetings. Those education models provide greater flexibility, accessibility, and convenience, according to a recent study from Transamerica. That’s good news given that a large portion of the American workforce has been operating in a remote or hybrid environment. Many employees have switched to remote learning since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020.
Historically, the retirement industry has relied on a combination of virtual and in-person meetings to engage employees and raise awareness about the plan. The virtual education model makes it easier and more convenient for plan sponsors and participants to attend these meetings. Employees also preferred being able to both meet with a plan consultant and get plan education on their own schedule.
Transamerica found that in 2020, there was a 25% year-over-year increase in employee education meetings. The research also revealed that virtual meetings had a positive impact on other plan metrics:
- Participants who met with a Transamerica retirement plan consultant had an average contribution rate that was 32% higher than those that did not.
- There was a 38% higher participation rate for retirement plans where employees met with a Transamerica retirement plan consultant versus those that did not.
In addition, Transamerica found that participant feedback concerning virtual meetings was positive:
- Ninety-eight percent (98%) said the sessions were “beneficial”, with most saying the sessions were “very beneficial” (88%).
- Ninety-eight percent (98%) of participants were satisfied with their interaction with the retirement plan consultant.
- Ninety-one percent (91%) were pleased with the ease of scheduling and accessibility to meetings with retirement plan consultants.
According to Phil Eckman, Chief Operating Officer of Workplace Solutions at Transamerica, “With more companies shifting to a permanent work-from-home or hybrid structure, these statistics show that virtual meetings with retirement plan consultants will be even more important and an effective means to give people the information they need to prepare for retirement.”
Mr. Eckman also aptly noted that there’s no telling what the world will look like in the pandemic’s wake. What is clear is that participants are hungry for retirement plan education, and they highly value the education. It is up to plan sponsors to collaborate with service providers to meet participants where they are and deliver the information in a way that’s convenient, flexible, and easy to understand. A virtual education model for plan participants appears to be a solid contributing factor to accomplishing plan goals.