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5 Tips to Help Run an Effective Plan Enrollment Meeting

5 Tips to Help Run an Effective Plan Enrollment Meeting

| September 06, 2017
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Avoid inundating participants and potential enrollees with irrelevant topics and information overload. You only have a short time to make key points so be efficient in your messaging and stick to the task at hand.

1. Start with understanding what they want out of the meeting

I always suggest sending out a signup email prior to the meeting. This is a great medium to ask simple questions like, "What are your 3 main retirement concerns that you would like addressed in this meeting?" or "What topics would you like explained in greater detail during this presentation?" It’s also a good idea to encourage attendees to follow up with you on any further questions that they would like explained in greater detail after the meeting. Typically, you will have a room full of varying demographics – rising millennials, people who are in their peak income earning years, and pre-retirees. Recognizing unique needs while speaking to a group is a fine art but one that is necessary for an effective plan enrollment meeting.

2. View the meeting from the perspective of the employee

What do I as the employee, really want out of my retirement plan? You want to realize that employees today are younger and less financially savvy than the average investor. So, view the meeting from the perspective of your employee, all of them. What's important to them typically? What do they expect from the meeting? Preview a series of items at the meeting and be sure to give them all a voice and opportunity to ask questions, whether it be at that group meeting or perhaps in a follow-up meeting.

3. Do not overwhelm them with facts and figures

The majorly of participants do not want to be weighed down with numbers and analysis. They want information that is relevant and easily digestible. It's what they expect and need but typically it's not what they get. For example, many Millennials can't afford the high limits that a 401(k) or 403(b) provides, it will just turn them off. If you say that $18,000 is the maximum or that they need to save 10%-15% of their income today they will most likely choose to disengage. Use numbers sparingly and effectively. Don't use terms like "alpha," "beta" or "complicated investment analysis". Explore more basic topics like “How do mutual funds work?” If they want more clarification be simple in your explanation at the meeting.

4. Acknowledge differences in generations

Millennials are typically concerned with control, contributing, and portability. They want to know how transferrable their earnings are and how to best choose a budgeted amount for their plan.

Retirees are interested in making sure that they're maximizing their contribution limits. They are typically concerned with understanding the planned tools and fees in their plan. They also want help rounding out their account such as verifying beneficiaries and making sure that their asset allocation is appropriate for their future retirement. Important items that should be covered for all demographics are vesting and how matching works, these are things that everyone should take advantage of.

5. Embrace the power of one-on-ones

In order to turn it up a notch and really make an impact on your employees be sure to focus on adding one-on-one meetings for all participants. Not everyone will sign up but typically if you set up one-on-one meetings after a group meeting a majority will take interest and see a greater value add to educating themselves in retirement. A twenty-minute sit down meeting with each employee is typically a good start. During that meeting, follow up on questions around their previously stated needs. Make it a point to review their account by signing on to the record keeper website. And of course, let each participant and potential enrollee know that you're there for any future questions if they need to ask at a later time.

This information is not intended as authoritative guidance or tax or legal advice.


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