Funny, down-to-earth and simple investment education was what Baker Hughes Inc., Houston, sought for its $400 million thrift plan.
The oil field services company has a diverse work force of 9,000; the challenge was to find an educational medium and message which could touch the whole employee population.
They picked David Chilton, "The Wealthy Barber" from public television. They used his two-part video, with Mr. Chilton taping customized messages at the beginning and end, including details about the plan's features and a personalized pitch to employees about the need to save.
Employees who previewed the video in target groups "loved it. They liked the fact that the videos were funny and that they didn't have some serious financial planning-type talking down to them in investment terms they didn't understand," said Jill Hardcastle, benefits administrator.
The videos were shown more than 100 times last year, supported by Mr. Chilton's book and a resource guide with a list of other sources to go to for more information, said Ms. Hardcastle.
Participation in the plan was already fairly high - 86%. Following the campaign, however, many works upped their contribution rates. Also asset class diversification improved, with more money going into equities and out of fixed income.
The annual fall education campaign will reinforce many of the tenets taught last year by Mr. Chilton. A quarterly newsletter based on many themes of the Wealthy Barber and a review by Mr. Chilton is being introduced as part of a print campaign.