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Industry Intel > Signature Awards > 2023 Signature Awards - Plan Changes



2023 Signature Awards - Plan Changes

Change – even change for the good – can be difficult for workers to absorb and embrace. Plan Changes involve announcing and facilitating changes in a way that is easy to understand, educational, and engaging to employees. These communications will effectively explain how the change benefits the employee or effectively handle changes that may not be improvements to the participant.

1st Place – University of Pittsburgh with TIAA

The University of Pittsburgh, founded in 1787, is one of the oldest institutions of higher education in the United States with more than 26,000 employees. The University was adding a new target-date fund series with lifetime income as their QDIA and needed an engaging investment education strategy to inform employees who were auto-enrolled in their two 403(b) plans. Plus, they wanted to encourage voluntary enrollment of those who were not auto enrolled in the new series.

They used an announcement email, oversized postcard, transition guide brochure, other print materials, onsite meetings, a digital flyer on the microsite with meeting details, a transition section on the site, and a webinar. Only 67 of the 26,798 participants who were auto-enrolled opted out of the new investment and in the first 15 days 195 people subscribed to the new models themselves. With easy to understand, simply written materials that had clear direction for employees to act and understand why they needed to act, this campaign garnered an award. In addition, the graphics featuring university locations and an excellent tag line: “You are our greatest investment” enticed participants to take notice. The intuitiveness of communications and the multi-channel approach impressed the judges.

2nd Place – UPS with Voya Financial

UPS is a global logistics company with 85,000 employees in the U.S. The objective for the campaign was to educate employees about coming retirement plan changes including changes to the match and a pension freeze.

UPS was challenged by many new hires and long-tenured employees soon eligible for retirement. Initial communications were sent pre-pandemic, but the project had to be put on hold due to the increase in UPS’s business taking precedence. This created a challenge to get participants to focus on something that started years before. UPS used live webinars, a Brainshark of the live sessions, a special website for registration for the events, intranet content, emails, a 401(k) calculator, and personalized statements to communicate to employees.

This approach garnered 51,000 unique visitors to the UPS intranet in 2022 or 60 percent of the workforce. Ten percent of active employees attended webcasts and the Brainshark recording had 1,500 views. There was a high rate of calculations run and statements opened. Due to plentiful communications, a thorough campaign with a variety of ways the messages were delivered, and excellent participation, UPS was able to get employees’ attention on changes that impacted them.

3rd Place – Northern Arizona Healthcare with Transamerica

Northern Arizona Healthcare is the largest healthcare organization in a region encompassing over 50,000 square miles. Their team of 3,600 doctors, nurses, and other experts works together to keep people healthy. The campaign goal was to share the plan’s change to a safe harbor structure in an easy to understand way and to be a reference for participants in the future.

The communications included emails, a separate web page showcasing the change, newsletters, flyers with simple messages, and one-on-one meetings with consultants using an incentive to earn wellness points. The campaign’s theme was “Making your retirement click” encouraging people to use the special web page and click through to schedule an appointment with the counselor or to change deferrals.

The message got through and the email had a 53 percent open rate, more than double the benchmark. After sixty days there was a 46 percent action rate on deferral changes, with 56 percent of those participants choosing a rate of 5% or more making the plan’s average deferral rate 8.31 percent. Judges felt the campaign was intuitive and easy to understand with a clear and concise direction of what employees needed to do. The images represented the different worker populations and the employee profile shown was relatable to the population.