Do Your Employees Value Your Company’s Group Retirement Plan?

Sometimes group benefits and retirement plans can get ignored by employees, even though they can make up a substantial part of their total compensation. Here are some ideas to help your employees see the value they’re getting for your investment in them.

Out Of Sight, Out Of Mind

The storage unit, the shelves in the garage, that old t-shirt and employee benefits. What could all of these things possibly have in common?They’re all things that once they’re out of sight, they’re out of mind.I remember my first job in finance was at a major national bank. I was only 22 years old and I knew absolutely nothing. Looking back, how I was ever allowed in front of a client is beyond any reasoning.Thankfully a kind older lady who had worked at the bank for many years took me aside and strongly encouraged me to set up up my group retirement savings account … before I was allowed to leave her office.She explained how if I put $1 into the plan, the bank would automatically put in $1 and over time that would add up to a lot of money for me. I didn’t really understand how the plan worked, and even working at a financial institution there was very little help in getting it all set up. However, I got it done and stuck to my contributions through thick and thin.Even though I worked at that same financial institution for many years, I never heard much about my retirement savings plan except for an annual statement. I looked at it once a year and after a few years I noticed that it was getting sizeable.By the time I left the bank 10 years later, I had amassed a small fortune in my retirement account and it was all thanks to someone who took the time to pull me aside and “force me” to do the paperwork.So, out of sight and out of mind worked well for my savings rate, but it did absolutely nothing to help me appreciate what the plan was doing for me or what services were available.On top of that, I found out years later that there was actually a full compliment of investment, retirement and benefit services available to all employees. The communication from both the company and the benefits supplier was just so poor that no one in a branch of 45 people knew what was available or how everything worked … and we were all supposedly financial experts!I’m sure this wasn’t the outcome that was envisioned when the bank set out to create the employee benefit and savings plan. And I’m certain that’s not your intention either.So how do you help your employees understand the value of their total compensation package and all the services that are available to them? After all, it certainly comes at a price!

The Missing Link

It’s all about communication and service.Research shows that employees who regularly use financial tools experience a greater sense of wellbeing and consistently improve their financial situations.Repeat users of financial tools are also more confident investors who are twice as likely to be on track for retirement and half as likely to suffer from unmanageable stress.How great would it be if your employees were getting these financial tools and the associated benefits from you, their employer? How much more would they value working for your company for many years? I bet it would be a lot.Most group benefit and retirement plans offer many of these kinds of financial tools and advice, but the communication from the plan provider is just so poor that it’s difficult for employees to understand exactly what they can access and what the benefits are.Here are 2 easy ways to bridge this communication gap:1 – Start or use your monthly company newsletterThis might sound more difficult at first than it is in practice. Simply ask your plan provider to give you something every month about the benefits and services that are available to your employees. Then, just forward that to your all-employee internal email list with a short note from you or your HR department highlighting 1 thing from the plan provider. That’s 12 touches over the year and frequently enough that your employees won’t forget about the plan.2 – Ask your plan broker or consultant to be more involvedWith modern technology, it’s easier than ever for modern plan consultants to directly assist both owners and employees with communicating the benefits of their plans in addition to offering education and support. Ask your plan broker or consultant how they can help you support your employees and their financial wellbeing.

Next Steps …

Having valuable group benefits and retirement plans that your employees don’t use or appreciate is kind of like having an expensive gym membership that someone else pays for. You might remember every so often that it’s there, but if it’s out of sight you’re never going to go. And even if you do decide to go, you’ve never seen a schedule and don’t know where the gym is!At Canada’s Best Pension Plan, we help business owners help their employees value group benefits and savings plans. It’s part of our mission to help 1,000,000 Canadians retire better.Click here for a complimentary review of your group savings plan to see if Canada’s Best Pension Plan can help your employees on the path to financial success.

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