Participants' testimonials plus man-made and natural features of defined contribution plans' home bases played a prominent role in the 21st annual Eddy Awards, sponsored by Pensions & Investments.
Thirty-nine education campaigns were honored March 2 at P&I"s Defined Contribution East Coast Conference in Miami.
A complete list of winners, along with judges' comments and other materials about the awards, can be found at www.pionline.com/2015-Eddy.
The City & County of San Francisco Deferred Compensation Plan managed to incorporate many of those elements in its entry that won first place in the conversions category for public plans.
Using the theme “Gateway to your future,” the education campaign announcing a move to Prudential Retirement Services as record keeper used print materials featuring photos of the city skyline at night, Victorian houses, some San Francisco Bay coastline and, of course, the Golden Gate Bridge.
The most poignant presentation, said Julia Durand, former deferred compensation director of the San Francisco Employees Retirement System, was a pair of videos telling stories about employees who were retiring. These videos, prepared by Prudential, “reached out to people and were very inspirational to all of us,” she said in an interview. Ms. Durand was director of the plan during the conversion campaign.
Ms. Durand said the plan's communication strategy was to deliver the information “in bite-size pieces” because this approach is easier for employees to understand.
“We wanted to change the conversation” about the plan and its features, said Ms. Durand. Previously, the approach was “very technical and clinical.”
To help explain its move to a new record keeper, Chicago-based Wirtz Corp. used a video that included interviews with employees of several of its holdings, including the Chicago Blackhawks of the National Hockey League, a real estate company and wholesale beverage distribution business.
“We are diverse, and we wanted to show people who were representative of the organization,” said William Davis, vice president and general manager of Wirtz Insurance Co. The Wirtz Corp. and Affiliated Companies Retirement Program represent eight plans.
The campaign's video also included a purple cartoon 401(k) beast to encourage people to talk about the Wirtz retirement plan and the new record keeper, Mass Mutual Retirement Services.
“We put the character in to give them something to remember,” said Mr. Davis, adding that Wirtz plan officials used the video at the beginning of conducting employee meetings throughout the country to explain the changes.
In its printed materials, Wirtz used images from its various businesses — there's a Chicago Blackhawk player hoisting the 2013 Stanley Cup — “so employees would get a feeling for our corporate identity,” he said. Wirtz Corp. won first place in the conversions category for corporate plans with 1,000 to 5,000 employees.