The Best plans out there will FAIL unless the employees know and understand their benefits..
There are countless different ways to communicate the message of a firms great retirement plan. Our job is to find the best one(s) and deliver the message. The success of a 401(k) plan can and should be measured, in large part, by employee participation in the program. We have found that participation is a function of both employee understanding of the plan as well as basic concepts of investment planning. In order to maximize such understanding, CCRS will develop a customized communications campaign to convey key information and educate employees on the principles of retirement savings and investment.
CCRS employs a variety of tools to educate employees on how their 401(k) plan plays a key role in their retirement planning strategy. Together, we can design a communications campaign combining plan announcements, tent cards, posters, plan guides and audio visual tools. We normally recommend an on-site employee enrollment meeting conducted by a CCRS Education Specialist, during which a thorough presentation of the new plan, personal retirement planning software and available investment funds will be made. During this meeting, questions will be answered and employees will have the opportunity to interact with the individuals who developed the program.
The Keys to a successful retirement plan as stated by Fiduciary News:
Consistent and Regular – This means the terminology used in all plan literature is consistent with the terminology used in the education program. If the plan’s education program talks about goals in terms of the modern investment objectives, then the plan’s web-site cannot continue to refer to the traditional investment objectives. (If you’re unfamiliar with the difference between the two, read “401k Plan Sponsors: Is Your Investment Policy Statement Still Using Outdated Language?” FiduciaryNews.com, May 17, 2011.) Similarly, an education program should be a regularly event and scheduled at a convenient time for employees.
Tied to Investment Policy Statement – An IPS that can’t be understandably articulated to employees through education is not worth its salt. Likewise, a well-drafted IPS that isn’t understandably articulated to employees through education is not worth its salt. The IPS drives the investment philosophy of the plan and should also provide a handy blueprint for a successful education program. (For those interested in learning more, read “How Should a 401k Plan Sponsor Construct an Appropriate Investment Policy Statement?” FiduciaryNews.com, June 7, 2011.)
Covers both Administration and Investments – Sure, the quarterback gets to do all the commercials, but he wouldn’t be where he is if it weren’t for his linemen. Similarly, everyone always wants to talk about investments, but the problems 401k plan participants face aren’t due to a lack of good long-term investments, they’re mainly due to inadequate savings. The mechanics of savings begins with understanding the administrative functions of the plan and carries through how participants determine their broad investment strategy.
Customized to the Plan’s Employees – Many investment professionals once thought the need to understand plan demographics disappeared as we migrated from pension and traditional profit sharing plans to participant directed 401k plans. That can’t be farther from the truth. Not only do we need an array of investment options geared to people of different ages and different economic backgrounds, but the plan’s education program needs to address the different learning styles of the different generations.