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Industry Intel > Signature Awards > 2023 Signature Awards - Promoting Participation



2023 Signature Awards - Promoting Participation

This category includes education campaigns and communications that promote employee participation – to save, or to save more, for retirement. Entries were both complete campaigns or singular one-time communications efforts focused on overall participation, increasing savings rates, or both.

1st Place – Muncie Power Products with OneAmerica

Muncie Power Products Inc., a manufacturer and distributor of trusted power take-offs, fluid power components, hydraulics, motors, and other engineered solutions, has 418 employees. Their goal in 2022 was to increase the participation rate of their employees from less than 60 percent to more than 90 percent.

To accomplish this, they chose to provide more financial wellness resources, first surveying employees to find out what they wanted to learn and how they wanted to learn it. Print communications were used including flyers, brochures, budget and debt worksheets, information on the match, and understanding their statements. Digital components were pdfs embedded in email, information in the company’s mobile app, special websites with clickable widgets, and an investor scorecard. The campaign used custom branding with a “Build Trust in Your Future” theme and images based on the company’s products.

The campaign was highly 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 Power Products was a winner because they conducted extensive employee surveys and had customized resources which were company themed for familiarity. In addition, they did a very good job of targeting the message to the population and gave employees the tools to be able to use the plan in the best way. This proves that Muncie Power Products knew what their participants wanted and delivered what was needed.

2nd Place – Ryan Specialty

Ryan Specialty is a provider of specialty products and solutions for insurance brokers, agents and carriers, providing distribution, underwriting, product development, administration and risk management services by acting as a wholesale broker and a managing underwriter. They have 4,000 employees in 150 locations. 

Due to low email open rates, the company wanted to create better engagement with employees by turning education communication into feedback communication. It was decided to tie in 401(k) Day with the goal of increasing participation and savings rates, especially by using auto-escalation. Employee feedback was solicited using emails and incentivized with a “Why you save for your future” contest and prizes. The company leveraged PSCA’s 2022 401(k) Day campaign.

Results indicated that 64 percent of those slated for auto-escalation chose to go over the plan’s automatic maximum and 20 percent opened emails. There were 250 contest entries, the website had a 75 percent increase in sign-ins from the prior month, and there were 105 new users. Ryan Specialty achieved the win because of their targeted campaign strategically planned with 401(k) Day. They used gamification for a fun factor to encourage participation and they set up future success by emphasizing the auto-escalation feature.

3rd Place (Tie) – Highgate Hotels with Principal Financial Group

Highgate Hotels is a premier real estate investment and hospitality management company with more than 8,700 employees in 430 locations. Their objective was to drive participant engagement and increase participation at over 300 newly acquired hotel properties with the challenges of people who have no email and the high cost of using direct mail.

The company leveraged its HR directors and general managers to create 401(k) champions to bring information to their employees, recognizing high performers. Participants received flyers, videos explaining how to enroll, information in weekly huddle meetings, digital displays, mobile access, and online tools.

Participation increased 5.5 percent in the selected groups with overall plan participation increasing 3 percent. Online and mobile usage was up 52 percent and there was a 470 percent increase in the number of employees making a deferral election. This campaign won because simple and informative material was provided, the champion recognition incentivized support and participation at the leadership level, and they had very good results indicating the campaign was successful.

Uline with Principal Financial Group

Uline is a B-to-B distributor of office, warehouse, and general business and maintenance supplies with 8,000 employees. In 2022 the company wanted to increase deferral rates and plan participation. 

To accomplish these goals, a personalized monthly 6 inch by 9 inch mailer was sent during each employee’s birthday month with a "We want all your birthdays to be great!" message. The envelope indicated it was a special birthday message to encourage the recipient to open it. Inside was information showing the significance of a one percent rate increase via account value projections over time. The weekly impact to their paycheck was also highlighted to help illustrate the impact of a rate increase on their current paycheck.

The birthday card definitely had impact with an action rate of 7.19 percent for 2022, and the average deferral rate increased by 4 percent. In fact, many participants have come to watch for this communication, and then increase their rate every year when it arrives. Judges felt that mailing a birthday card enticed people to open it. The use of projections showing the impact of a contribution increase encouraged small increases over time. Uline’s creative birthday idea with its catchy tag line, provided as a personal communication, helped earn them an award.