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June 09, 2016

Engage Employees with Actions

Have you ever considered how some long-standing idioms and sayings can apply to retirement plan engagement and participation? For instance, think about: Seeing is Believing; Lead by Example; and Actions Speak Louder Than Words.

Encouragement, education and recommendations by plan advisors, providers, sponsors and human resource managers are all great ways to increase retirement plan participation. However, an often untapped, difference-maker is the action of supervisors and managers.

When a leadership team actively supports and engages in a retirement plan, employees see words in action and they may then place more favorable weight on training and participation recommendations. So, how do you effectively harness the power of your leadership team? Try the following tools and best practices:

Train your leaders – Make sure your management team understands the basic elements of your retirement plan. They don’t have to be experts, but they should understand the primary options and be able to explain features like auto enrollment and auto escalation.

Keep them in the loop – Retirement plans evolve to reflect changing company needs and governing regulations. Prior to holding rank-and-file training meetings, sit down first with your managers and supervisors to explain the updates, the benefits, and why the changes were made. For instance, altering your matching contribution schedule to encourage greater retirement plan participation can sometimes come across as a negative change if it isn’t properly explained. Don’t leave your managers in an awkward spot; make sure they understand any plan strategy changes.

Share Your Outlook – Take the time to explain why you believe retirement readiness is an important benefit, and how it helps the company as both a recruitment and retention tool. Just as employees want a personal touch from their managers, so too does your leadership team.

Support and Encourage Meeting Participation – Supervisors and managers can quickly convey the importance of a participant meeting by the way they handle meeting attendance. If they act like meetings are a burden, employees will pick up on the negative connotations. Likewise, if a manager makes meeting participation fun and encourages employee attendance then workers know the subject is worthwhile and important.

Communicate on all Levels – In addition to using various print and electronic methods for retirement plan communication, be sure to tap into the personal touch at the leadership level. Your managers should share benefit training information dates and times, plus the value of attendance, with employees whenever possible.

Actions truly do speak louder than words for many employees. Take a look at the picture you and your leadership team present and make sure the behavior actively embraces the importance of retirement plan participation.

The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended as authoritative guidance or tax or legal advice. You should consult with your attorney or advisor for guidance on your specific situation.

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