From finding seeds for plants that would grow in the desert to figuring out how to reach new employees when the retirement plan is given only one page in a new-hire packet, winners of the 2010 Eddy Awards found creative ways to overcome obstacles and educate their employees about investing.
The winners were announced March 8 during Pensions & Investments' 18th annual East Coast Defined Contribution conference, held this year in Miami.
A complete list of winners, along with judges' comments and other stories and materials connected to the Eddy Awards and the conference, can be found on our website at www.pionline.com/dceast2010.
Officials at MGM Mirage — which took first place in special projects for corporate plans with more than 5,000 employees — needed the seed packets to help execute a “go green” theme for its DC plan education campaign, said Cindy Moehring, executive director, corporate benefits, for the Las Vegas-based company.
The litmus test? “I planted them in the backyard. They're coming up every year,” Ms. Moehring said.
Plan officials had another obstacle, too: “It was a really tough campaign for us to do because of compliance,” she said. Plan officials had chosen the tag line, “Save, Invest, Grow.” The folks in the compliance department, however, wanted to change “grow” to “nurture” because there is no guarantee participants' investments and account balances would grow.
Ms. Moehring said “grow” stayed in, but “we had to put the little star by grow to refer to the disclaimer” footnote.
The Hartford, MGM's service provider, assisted with the campaign.
At M.A. Mortenson Co., Minneapolis, which won first place in other media, “I'm in finance, and HR is a whole world of its own,” said Annette Grabow. manager of retirement benefits. “They (human resources) create the new-hire packet. ... All I get is one single page out of a whole book.”
She made the most of that page by creating Cabin Fever, an interactive CD-based game that was attached to a bright, colorful piece of cardboard that contained plan highlights, that went into the new-hire booklet.
“I wanted to come up with something you couldn't miss or ignore. ... These are mostly young engineers, right out of college, on their first real job. You don't know what kind of financial knowledge (they have). It was meant to be fun and interactive.”
Ms. Grabow hired goBIG Strategic Communications, Boulder, Colo., to produce Cabin Fever. “We had a riot brainstorming and writing,” she said
More importantly, she said, the game was effective, noting 78% of new hires played the game and 10% enrolled before automatic enrollment kicked in.