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Industry Intel > Signature Awards > 2023 Signature Awards - Financial Wellness



2023 Signature Awards - Financial Wellness

Financial wellness programs work to address employees’ total financial circumstances, rather than focusing solely on retirement. These programs can help employees with cash management, debt reduction strategies, saving for college, home buying, and other financial life events that people face throughout their careers. This category seeks to highlight financial wellness programs offered by specific plan sponsors that achieved significant results.

1st Place – L’Oréal USA, Inc. (SalonCentric) with T. Rowe Price Retirement Plan Services

SalonCentric, headquartered in St. Petersburg, FL, is the premier distributor of salon professional products in the U.S. Created by L'Oréal USA in 2008, it operates in 48 states with 4,400 employees. A survey revealed that employees wanted additional financial wellness education.

The company chose to meet that need by finding ways to keep employees engaged through bimonthly touchpoints to motivate them to build their financial wellness. Custom branding was already in place and some new images were created. Employee quotes from the survey were utilized. Communication was achieved via emails, printed flyers, and QR codes. A goals checklist kept employees interested. On-demand webinars, videos, articles, infographics, podcasts, a student loan center, and calculators provided the financial information and tools employees sought. Topics covered were goal setting, budgets, emergency savings, debt management, managing health care costs including HSAs, and balancing current needs with longer-term financial goals.

Success was measured by the usage of digital resources. The average email open rate was 39 percent with the highest being 62.3 percent on emergency savings. Within sixty days of final communications, 8.1 percent of employees increased their deferral rate with a 4.4 percent average deferral increase. During 2022, 32 percent of employees engaged with tools on the website, an increase of 11 percent from the prior year. This campaign will be used as a benchmark for follow-up campaigns being developed. SalonCentric came out on top because they did a great job keeping the momentum going throughout the year, the communication pieces were clear and called for specific actions, and their website had excellent content with the needed tools and resources. Plus, using quotes from peers was a good way to increase trust in the information. Leveraging their culture as well as images of their employees helped SalonCentric stand out.

2nd Place – Medical College of Wisconsin with Transamerica

Medical College of Wisconsin is a mission-focused healthcare organization dedicated to building a healthier world through patient care, treatment, and teaching. It is the third-largest private medical school in the nation with over 7,000 employees. Due to mandatory employee and employer non-elective contributions with no option to opt-out it was a struggle to get employees to contribute to the voluntary plan. Therefore, the college wanted to encourage participants to take control of their future by adding security to their accounts, using electronic loan repayments and designating beneficiaries.

The college chose a superhero theme to make employees feel good about themselves, getting them to become their own account superhero when it comes to planning for retirement. The campaign showcased an “Account Security Superhero,” “Account Supersaver,” and more. Tools used were all digital, including emails, a web banner, email signatures, and their intranet with taglines like "Put on your cape" and "Powerful weapons to protect your account."

Email open rates averaged between 31 and 60 percent and produced an 84 percent increase in online account creation over the prior year. Two percent added more security features, 18 percent changed deferrals, and there was an increase in loan ACH payments. At the end of 2022 48 percent of the employees were making voluntary contributions. Their hero campaign was catchy and relatable with simple and engaging graphics, and metrics show their goals were met with employees taking the positive actions the company wanted to happen. The Medical College of Wisconsin is a superhero itself.

3rd Place – Muncie Power Products with OneAmerica

Muncie Power Products Inc. was founded in 1935 and is now a national manufacturer and distributor of trusted power take-offs, fluid power components, hydraulics, motors, and other engineered solutions. 

They take pride in their 418 employees and work to ensure their well-being, including financial wellness. The company received the highest rating by the Wellness Council of Indiana.

The objective with their 2022 communications was to increase the participation rate and deferrals of their workforce, which is 73 percent blue collar. They wanted to accomplish this by providing more financial wellness resources. The company felt the best way to choose resources for their employees was to survey them to determine what they wanted to learn and how they wanted to learn it. Because the workforce is mostly blue collar and liked communications on paper, printed flyers, brochures, budget and debt worksheets, information on the match, and understanding their statements were provided. The campaign used custom branding with a “Build Trust in Your Future” theme and images based on the company’s products.

The campaign was successful with the participation rate increasing from 55.9 percent to 96.7 percent and the average contribution rate increasing 3.75 percent to more than 6 percent. Muncie was a winner because all their materials were informative and called for action. The judges especially liked the understanding your statement piece and the budget tool.