Caltech won first place in the ongoing investment education category for not-for-profit organizations with more than 5,000 employees, and it tied for first in the not-for-profit special projects category. TIAA was the service provider for both entries. (The University of California was the other first-place winner in the special projects category; its service provider was Fidelity Investments).
For ongoing education, Caltech built upon its “The Science of Benefits” theme to appeal to its scientist/engineer employees using color photos from Caltech labs and offering brochures designed with headlines that mimic the periodic table. Thus, OT represented online tools, EP stood for estate planning and, of course, SB identified science of benefits for Caltech's 403(b) and 457 plans.
“We wanted to draw attention,” said Ofelia Velazquez-Perez, senior lead, employee and organizational development and special projects, explaining why Caltech switched to a more colorful approach from campaigns with black and white stock photos. “We went with images that resonated.”
Caltech also offered a series of workshops, including “Managing Your Retirement Plan Shouldn't Be Rocket Science.”
Caltech's special projects entry featured videos of participants talking about their plans for the future, augmented by a graphic artist who drew pictures of participants as they were talking. Caltech used some of the videos in its retirement planning education efforts for the theme, “Picture Your Financial Future.”
Because the word “retirement” doesn't register with everyone, especially younger workers, “we asked about their financial future,” Ms. Velazquez-Perez said. “I still see some of the caricatures on bulletin boards on campus.”
The Employees Retirement System of Texas won two awards — first and third place — in the same category, special projects for public plans with more than 5,000 employees. Empower was the service provider for both.
United Parcel Service Inc., Atlanta, had to adjust its communication approach about its retirement system to the young workers of Coyote Logistics after that company was acquired by UPS.
“We are more conservative; they are more informal,” said Robert Wright, defined contribution manager. Because the average age of Coyote employees is 28, “we tried to do it (education) in their language and use their terminology.”
UPS even referred to them as Coyotes because that's what they called themselves at the independent company. Coyotes were encouraged to enroll in the UPS plan through a special microsite. “We wanted to give them information so they could get in right away,” Mr. Wright said.
Although the acquisition closed in August 2015, UPS allowed the Coyote plan to remain separate for a while. In May 2016, UPS began communicating with Coyote employees to prepare them for joining the UPS system in July.
Mr. Wright's efforts won first place for corporate plans in the plan transitions category. Voya Financial was the service provider.
The Employees Retirement System of Texas, which won a first-place and third-place award in the same category — special projects for public plans with more than 5,000 employees. Empower was the service provider for both.
In first place, the Texa$aver 401(k) and 457 plans used a DIY — Decide to Invest in Yourself — theme equating retirement planning to home improvements. Print, web-based and benefits-fair communications counseled participants to perform their retirement chores as small projects.
Illustrations of paint cans were a recurring component of the campaign, reinforcing the goal of a retirement makeover, said Nora Alvarado, manager of health and welfare administration and deferred compensation. “We wanted to be more colorful: How do you paint your retirement picture?” she said.
Its third-place winning entry was called “Stay in the Family,” encouraging participants nearing retirement to keep their money in the plans when they retire instead of rolling it into an individual retirement account. “We wanted to create and reinforce relationships before people retire,” Ms. Alvarado said.