Shirley Zabiegala, director of savings and retirement for Nestle USA Inc., won an Excellence & Innovation Award for redesigning a financial wellness program that caters to different participants' interests and skills.
The program's called the Smart$aving Academy. It mimics a college curriculum with a mixture of webcasts and workshops that focus on fundamental retirement-planning issues as well as more detailed strategies for employees approaching retirement.
In keeping with the college theme, the finance classes are: “Retirement 101: Intro to the Smart$aving 401(k); “Investing 201: SMART Investing beyond the Basics;” and “Finance 301: Advanced Financial Planning.”
The goal for Ms. Zabiegala, based in Solon, Ohio, was establishing a customized financial wellness program rather than a one-size-fits-all program, using multiple data metrics for the three 401(k) plans under the umbrella of the company's Smart$aving Program. The plans, with combined assets of about $4.3 billion, serve approximately 46,000 participants.
In fact, SMART is an acronym that illustrates Nestle's effort to achieve Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Realistic and Trackable goals for 401(k) plan participants. Nestle worked with Financial Finesse, a provider of workplace financial wellness and retirement education programs, to design the Smart$aving Academy.
Ms. Zabiegala declined to comment.
One judge praised her effort for offering “a holistic approach to financial wellness, tailored to various employee groups' needs.”
The Smart$aving Academy “has good intentions to help participants get to a better financial state,” another judge wrote. “Segmenting and targeting the classes seemed effective, particularly given the diverse population.”
The Smart$aving Academy features an online financial assessment, which enables participants to identify opportunities for improvement and create an individualized plan; a webcast or workshop to learn about their retirement plans and important financial topics; and a one-on-one retirement session to receive financial guidance.
“The commitment to employee financial wellness at Nestle is ahead of the pack,” wrote one judge.