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on August 20, 2020 Internal Communications

Messaging Ideas to help Employees to Understand Their 401(k)

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Over 100 million Americans have a 401(k) plan, and there is a good chance that your workplace offers this important financial benefit to your employees. Financial uncertainty brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in more employees taking an active role in planning for and protecting their financial future. Educating your employees about their 401(k) shouldn’t just be highlighted during times of market turbulence but be part of a year-round benefits communication campaign strategy.

Empowering your employees to become informed financial consumers isn’t an easy task. Information coming from different directions and sources makes it even more difficult to educate your employees on the practical steps they can take to improve their financial wellbeing. We have created a list of messaging strategies to enable you to stay more connected with your employees and empower them with valuable financial wellness resources.

 

Create Personalized Messages for Different Age Groups

Employee populations are diverse so make sure your messaging strategy aligns with the different employee life cycles present in your company. There's likely a mixture of your age categories including Gen Z, Millennials, Generation X, and Baby Boomers. This makes it difficult to create engagement driven messages about the value of 401(k) programs because it’s highly dependent where each employee falls in their career path. This paired with the impact of numerous behavioral biases and overall employee inertia makes 401(k) education and engagement a continuous challenge.

One way to improve is to create unique messages to send out to employees belonging to different age demographics. For example you might send younger employees topics around debt reduction or smart contribution rates, while employees later in their career might need messages about will preparation and estate planning or fixed-income products to focus on in their portfolio as they near retirement age.

 

Provide In-Depth Answers to Questions using Frequent Surveys

Strive to be constantly aware and connected to the issues your employees are curious about. For example, check in with employees using frequent pulse surveys about lingering 401(k) or other financial wellbeing questions they might have that are causing stress and anxiety.

After collecting the results, compile questions and prepare an in-depth answers for the most pressing questions. Instead of trying to cover several questions in a single email message and only providing surface-level answers, pick a limited set and plan a series of messages spread over a period of days or weeks with in-depth answers. Be an advocate for your employees, request content and resources from your Retirement Plan Administrator. Resources could include things like: Savings calculator tools, audio links, webinars and live-chat with registered advisors if available under your plan.

Another way to tackle employees’ questions is to set up an FAQ forum within an easily accessible app specifically for questions about 401(k) plans or other financial wellbeing topics. This allows employees to find answers in a self-service model before reaching out for more help.

Send out Reminders to Increase Savings Rates throughout the Year

401(k) education isn't something that should take place for a month or two then put off for the remainder of the year. Continue to send out messages year-round, including reminders about increasing savings rates, especially during rapidly changing times. 

These can be sent as push-notifications, emails, posts on company social media feeds, or updates in an employee app. Make sure to include easy to calculate savings information about how consistent contributions and setting achievable goals can end up greatly benefit retirement savings over time. 

By following these messaging ideas, you should be able to properly educate your employees about their 401(k)s. In order to get help improving your internal communication about other topics, make sure to enlist out services at backstitch.

Patrick Fields

Sales Executive

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