2023 Signature Awards - Conversions
Changing providers can be a long and complex process, and good communications to participants are integral to a successful transition. This category highlights comprehensive campaigns that address the many issues employees need to know regarding a new provider, such as deadlines, blackout periods, investment mapping, changing plan provisions, new enrollment processes, and new employee internet-, telephone- and mobile device-based tools.
1st Place – Acrisure with Principal Financial Group
Acrisure specializes in intelligence-driven financial services, providing a broad array of products including insurance, real estate services, cyber services, and asset and wealth management. They have 8,000 employees in more than 1,000 locations, but the company continually acquires new business creating a need for timely communications to new employees.
The goals of the communications surrounding the conversion of the Acrisure 401(k) plan to the new recordkeeper were to encourage employees to set up and secure access to their accounts, increase beneficiary designations, and encourage account and investment reviews while aiming for deferral increases. To accomplish these many goals, Principal created the new Acrisure website. Emails and print communications were sent by both Acrisure and Principal. FAQs were created for use by internal HR staff and handouts were developed for use in new hire orientations. Joint virtual participant meetings with Acrisure and Principal staff were held.
The results show it was a successful conversion with 70 percent of participants setting up two-factor authentication in the first three weeks. Sixty-three percent of employees logged in to their accounts, 58 percent named beneficiaries, and 47 percent made a deferral election. The average deferral rate increased by 1.6 percent. Fewer than one percent of employees opted-out of making contributions.
Acrisure won because the communications were brief and concise but with strong calls to action. By partnering with local HR in the delivery of the communications, the desired goals were more than met. Working together Acrisure and Principal not only had a successful plan conversion they also set up Acrisure to effectively onboard future new employees.
2nd Place – Duquesne University with TIAA
Duquesne University is a private Catholic research university in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and has 2,087 employees. As with many higher education institutions, Duquesne employees range from full-time professors to adjunct faculty, staff, and facilities and maintenance crews. The university was highly committed to ensuring the information regarding the plan changes and transition to TIAA as sole recordkeeper of the 403(b) and other retirement plans was made available to all employees. In addition to ensuring a smooth transition, the university wanted to streamline and simplify plan administration and reduce plan costs, move to a single provider, and terminate a 401(a) plan.
The campaign theme of “PREPARE for anything” was used in emails, print communications, and digital guides. In-person meetings were held along with a live and recorded webinar and one-on-one counseling sessions. Websites were updated with new information. As with all conversions, a lot of information had to be conveyed and participants encouraged to pay attention. Duquesne University’s communications used simple language and campus images to relate to their employees.
This approach resulted in a 90 percent overall meeting attendance rate and 97 one-on-one sessions. Participants with good plan behaviors increased from 22.6 percent to 34.9 percent. Participants who took recommendations for exposure to lifetime income increased from 52.1 percent to 86.6 percent and those who chose risk-based allocations went from 65 percent to 70.4 percent.
Duquesne University is a winner because the campaign was well-aligned with the university’s culture and the transition summary was comprehensive and a great reference tool for later consideration. In addition, the theme sent the right message to guide people to review and take action in their accounts. Based on all the results Duquesne University’s participants are well on their way to being prepared for whatever life brings them.
3rd Place – Nestlé with Financial Finesse
Nestlé has more than 30,000 employees across 31 states. They acquired the Bountiful Company in 2021 and wanted to integrate the new employees into the existing Nestlé retirement plan and other benefits by January 1, 2023. They wanted to get as many people as possible participating and deferring enough to get the full match. Nestlé also wanted to use simple, motivating communications and quick education sessions to make getting answers to questions easy.
A campaign with the theme “Learn. Decide. Take Action!” was created and in a three week period had to reach more than 3,500 employees in 13 locations working three shifts. Twenty-one webcasts and 52 workshops were held in all locations with Spanish language support. A Q&A session during and after, plus a call center, were used for employee questions. Both print mailings and email were sent and signage was displayed at all acquired locations. The new employees took notice and 96 percent enrolled with 93 percent of them deferring enough to get the full match. With these fabulous results it is clear that despite a complicated logistics delivery challenge Nestlé knew their audience and provided the experience that ultimately drove their success.