Hilton made extensive use of detailed data from its record keeper, T. Rowe Price Group Inc., to get a better understanding of participants' needs and retirement savings practices, allowing the company to tailor its communications.
Hilton was able to analyze who wasn't saving, who was saving at rates below the company match and who was saving at or above the company match. The company also looked at different age groups' savings behavior.
"This is a comprehensive financial wellness program targeting a diverse group of employees," one judge wrote. "It is thoughtful."
Financial education sessions that provided information to employees of different ages and at different stages in their careers was the goal of Package Pavement. These sessions were mandatory because benefits officials believe these efforts help people better understand retirement savings and strategies. Employees had the opportunity to meet one-on-one with benefits officials to learn, for example, more details about the company match or how target-date funds work. The sessions also were conducted in Spanish because it is the primary language for 25% of the workforce.
"What impressed me was the ability to overcome logistical problems to get to all employees, and to make it more personalized by age and by overcoming language barriers," one judge wrote.
Synopsys decided to play a game with serious intent, creating an eight-question interactive quiz to encourage employees — many of whom are engineers — to better understand the mechanics and strategy of retirement savings. Among employees who took the quiz — some took it more than once to score 100% — Synopsys recorded an increase in asset allocation changes and an increase in deferrals compared to a pre-quiz reporting period. Although the quiz is part of the company website, Synopsys will offer it again next year with a new education campaign.
"Quizzes have been around, but this takes a fresh approach ... in that they made it fun, easy (and) digestible," wrote one judge, complimenting the results.
International Paper added a long bond investment option as well as a service from a third party to help participants review opportunities for purchasing annuities outside of its two 401(k) plans. The goal of the former, which could offer higher payouts, is part of the effort to keep participants in the plan; the latter is to give participants some comfort in choosing screened annuity providers.
"I love how this helps participants close to and at retirement, while also preserving assets in the plan to keep/further lower administrative costs for all," one judge wrote.
Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and Los Alamos National Laboratory both used "financial fitness boot camps" to enhance participants' education not only about retirement savings but also about daily financial issues — such as debt management — that could affect their approach to saving for retirement.
The boot camps offered information targeted to different types of employees — early career, midcareer and late career. And both institutions will offer another boot camp next year.
The boot camps are "a very good initiative and could lead to favorable outcomes for their participants," one judge wrote.