Nebraska Methodist Health System, Omaha, was another award winner in the special projects category, this one for not-for-profits.
Ryan Husing, director of employee benefits for the health system, said the plans education campaign was successful, generating a lot of interest from employees. The campaign was particularly challenging because of the difficulty in getting the word out to all employees, he said.
The challenge with our health-care organization is that our nurses on the floors dont always have access to email. We had to do the written communications and thats why we put the posters out and put out direct mailings, said Mr. Husing. We put information in our company newsletter. We used all kinds of avenues.
Using e-mail and postcards Nebraska Methodist did a six-month follow-up to the initial plan change.
We recently implemented auto enrollment for new hires in July 2007 and then came back in January 2008 and swept up all active employees. I thought the communications we put together with Wells Fargo were wonderful with e-mails and postcards, Mr. Husing added.
The results were astounding, he said.
The participation was 47% for the 403(b), now we are at 89%. The 401(k) plan was 40% participation and it went to 98%, he explained.
Trinity Health, Farmington Hills, Mich., executives also picked up an award for special projects in the non-profit category. The plan put together a video featuring the new plan mascot, Stickie, a stick figure.
Silvia Frank, manager of defined contribution for the $850 million 403(b) plan, who appeared in the video alongside Stickie, said she may have had the most fun out of everyone that entered the Eddys.
The video was really my passion. And it was fun, she said. We filmed it in a studio and it came together great.
Conversions can be tricky campaigns since plan executives want to make sure employees are informed of the changes without being overwhelmed.
Bonnie Webb, assistant vice president for Havertys Furniture, Atlanta, said executives for the 401(k) plan wanted a clear message and they are especially proud that the bilingual materials came together as well as they did. Charles Schwab Corporate Services, San Francisco, is the plans provider.
Havertys which won an award for corporate plans, featured a campaign built around the word HAVE, with postcards saying, HAVE a new plan and HAVE a more comfortable retirement.
We didnt want to scare employees with too much information. And we spent a lot of time making sure it was readable and relatable, said Ms. Webb.
Ms. Webb said having the bilingual materials available was a top priority.
We didnt want any employees left out. Making sure everyone was informed was something we were concerned about, said Ms. Webb.
FirstBank Holding Co., Lakewood, Colo., won an award for a conversion campaign that put emphasis on a pretty package. Merrill Lynch Retirement Group, Pennington, N.J., is the plans provider.
Donald Thuente, senior vice president and treasurer of FirstBank, said the artwork for the 401(k) campaign was very important.
Most of the photography work and background and ideas for the pictures came from The 401(k) Co., the plans provider, Mr. Thuente said. We tried to tailor it to Colorado. Our logo is the Colorado Bank for You. We made the campaign Retirement Plan for You.
The results were very successful, he said.
We had a very smooth conversion and participants understood about deferring money and selecting investments, he said. This whole experience took a lot of work and it was important to us that it was a success.
Eddy Award judges consisted of plan executives, consultants and members of P&Is editorial team.
Contact Jenna Gottlieb at [email protected]