Celebrate Employee Appreciation Day with Retirement Planning Support

Today is Employee Appreciation Day, the national holiday where employers recognize and celebrate the hard work of their team members. Perhaps you’ve hidden away a trunk full of donuts, planned a surprise party, or scheduled lunch on the company. But do you know what employees appreciate more than donuts? Benefits that support their goals for life. For your employees, that might mean competitive pay, comprehensive health benefits, flexible scheduling, with retirement planning benefits.

That last one—retirement planning—is something we know a lot about. In our work helping employees plan for a secure future after retirement, we find that many people can be confused or even scared by the concept. More than just offering a 401(k) plan, if you want to give your employees a retirement benefit they’ll really appreciate, make sure your plan service providers offer employees education. Financial wellness education can empower your employees to truly benefit from the 401(k) plan and help them set and reach their retirement goals.

Education: Helping Employees Understand Retirement Planning

According to a recent survey we conducted on retirement readiness, we found that only 29% of those employees we polled felt comfortable investing in their 401(k) plans with the resources they have. That means some employees who are saving into your 401(k) plan may not be saving as much as they need to in order to reach their retirement goals, they could just be saving the minimum needed to earn the company match. We also find that other employees may avoid participating in your plan altogether, unsure about how much money they will need in retirement, or if they can ever save enough, or if their investment decisions will work.

Your employees may not be retirement planning experts, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you should have to be, either. As an employer, you can call upon your 401(k) service provider to not only administer your plan, but to also provide your employees with the tools and resources they need as they begin planning for retirement. Make sure your provider offers things like online calculators, educational resources, and even one-on-one access to financial advisers so that your employees can better understand their unique situation, and the steps it will take to reach a comfortable retirement.

Choice: Giving Employees Options to Reach their Retirement Goals

In addition to educational resources, your 401(k) service provider should also make sure your employees have options when it comes to investing and engaging with your plan. Some employees may be confident in their investing skills; for them, a good lineup of fund options may give them the freedom they want. Others may be ready to save and invest, but aren’t sure exactly what investment choices to make; such employees may benefit more from investment solutions like a target date fund, which helps employees’ investments evolve as they draw closer to retirement.

Even on a more general plan management level, you can consult with your provider to include features in your plan that will make it easier for employees to engage. Ask your provider to review employee participation rates in your plan, and see what steps you can take to help more employees grow their retirement savings. You may consider adding an auto-enrollment feature, so employees automatically start saving or increase their savings over time, even if they don’t take the proactive step of enrolling. You can also mix up enrollment waiting periods or vestment schedules to encourage more employees to participate as effectively as possible.

Employee appreciation goes beyond just one day. With your words, actions, and the benefits you provide throughout the year, you have the power to make your employees feel appreciated and valued as a member of your team. When it comes to 401(k) plans specifically, you can show you care by pairing your benefits with solid financial and retirement education, and choices employees want. In fact, in our same retirement readiness survey, we found that 77% of employees say they prefer working for a company that offers 401(k) support above and beyond a 401(k) plan alone.

This year, kick start your employee appreciation efforts with expanded support from your 401(k) service provider.­­

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Fisher Investments 401(k) Solutions is committed to bringing unparalleled support to small and mid-size businesses and their employees through 401(k) retirement plan services.

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