When Rachel Glick became benefits manager at Hunter Industries in San Marcos, Calif., six years ago, the sprinkler manufacturer's 401(k) plan had only about 65% participation.
These days, close to 88% of its eligible workers participate in the $15 million plan, Ms. Glick said.
Hunter's secret weapon: investment education and communication geared to Hispanics.
Simply translating the materials into Spanish was not enough, Ms. Glick said. Company officials needed to create a campaign aimed, for instance, at immigrant workers from countries without private pension systems.
So, together with Oscar Destruge, director of the Hispanic services division of Hunter's bundled provider -- Diversified Investment Advisors Inc., Purchase, N.Y. -- Ms. Glick worked to change the company's approach.
"We tried to break down the intimidation and make them aware of what a pension plan is and why it is important," Ms. Glick said.
Meetings in the manufacturing area's lunchroom are conducted in Spanish. And the materials have been rewritten to reflect the concerns of the Hispanic community, Mr. Destruge said.
For example, Hispanics rely mainly on Social Security to provide for them in retirement, he said.Much of the Hispanic population also tends to rely on family members to support them in their retirement years, Mr. Destruge said.
Many Hispanics send money to family members abroad and they feel that they don't have anything extra to set aside for retirement, he added.
"Things posed to them as a carrot, such as golfing or a yacht, are not necessarily an inducement to save for retirement," Mr. Destruge said.
The program seems to be working: Close to 78% of those who attended the enrollment meetings said they planned to join the 401(k) plan.