Simplifying Enrollment

Q&A webinars or sessions can help solidify your participants’ confidence in their retirement decisions.

It’s complicated. That’s  the one thing most plan participants say when asked about their benefits plans.

Sitting in an employee benefits enrollment meeting, for many participants, is a lesson in patience. Defined benefits. Rollovers. Income needed at retirement. There is plenty of information, but it comes at them at once. Advisors, used to the terminology and inner workings of retirement benefits, may not realize the information they’re imparting is not comprehended fully by their audience.

Yet the information is necessary, and advisors are doing their best while staying within legal guidelines. So how can a retirement advisor make the process easier to understand for the plan participants?

Pre-session questionnaire. A simple four- to five-question poll of the employees can uncover exactly the areas of concern they have, which can help you focus your content to their needs. From there, you can build a communications package that includes targeted sessions, emailed newsletters, and informational handouts.

Targeted sessions. Advisors can hold more than one session with employees, and can use the time to focus on those areas of concern that were identified in the questionnaire process. The majority of the employees may want to know about investment mix, for example. By making it relevant to employees’ immediate needs, advisors can improve participants’ engagement.

Information sheets. People respond best to bulleted information in layman’s terms. For each area of a retirement benefit plan, advisors can provide one-page, bulleted information sheets that explain easily the option, including what intended outcome may work best for that particular option. For example, a participant who is a millennial may benefit from understanding how aggressive, more risky investments could help or hinder their portfolio, while participants closer to retirement may have questions about what their investment strategy should be.

Examples. Working with examples of fictional people can help show scenarios for each option. Showing examples within each age group – 20s to 34 year olds, 35-45 year olds, and 50+ year olds – can help participants understand better the impact of their strategies on their overall investment goals.

Online resource center. For some employees, doing it themselves is preferred. Retirement advisors can create a resource center that offers more guidance, worksheets, glossaries, and more to help employees understand their options and help them set their goals and develop investment strategies.

Q&A webinars or sessions. Scheduled a few days before enrollment, these sessions can help solidify your participants’ confidence in their retirement decisions, or help them uncover additional questions or concerns. Plus, the time spent with the employees creates a stronger trust relationship with you, their retirement advisor.

The more comfortable employees are in the process, the easier it is to gain their participation, particularly over the long term. Retirement advisors who take the added steps to create a more inviting atmosphere for participation empowers employees. Simple really is better.

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