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Tricia Miyoshi, Package Pavement

Leaving no stone unturned, she made sure participants received all their answers

Tricia Miyoshi used mandatory meetings to get the retirement message across to participants.

Leaving nothing to chance, Tricia Miyoshi has made annual financial education sessions mandatory for employees at Package Pavement Co. Inc., Stormville, N.Y., where she is the human resources manager.

"We tell the managers (at the four company sites throughout New York) that all employees must attend," she said. "It helps employees better understand" the company's $29 million 401(k) plan, which covers 160 employees.

Employees are encouraged to ask questions of company officials, and they're not shy about asking, said Ms. Miyoshi, adding that executives of the family-owned business have an open-door policy.

The education sessions also allow for employees to have one-on-one meetings with plan officials to discuss retirement savings issues. "Some people don't understand how the (corporate) match works," she said. "Others need more information on target-date funds."

Ms. Miyoshi said the education efforts are important even though the 401(k) plan has a 100% participation rate, thanks in part to an automatic-enrollment deferral of 3% of salary. There's also auto escalation at 1% of salary per year.

The combined auto features are capped at 10% of annual pay, and employees can opt out.

The average annual deferral is 8% of salary. The company match is dollar for dollar up to 3% of salary, then 50 cents on the dollar from 4% to 8% for a maximum match of 6% of salary.

"Our employees have improved their retirement readiness and their understanding through education," she said.

The annual education sessions are targeted by age and career stage — new hires, mid-career participants and employees 50 and older. The sessions are also conducted in Spanish, the primary language for about 25% of the company's workforce.

This year, Package Pavement began offering additional financial education via webinars through its adviser, Cafaro Greenleaf, on subjects including Medicare, long-term care insurance and debt management.

Also, this year Package Pavement began offering voluntary semiannual education sessions, whose topics so far covered a guaranteed income option and strategies for building a comprehensive retirement plan, Ms. Miyoshi said.

"It was good to see targeted approaches to retirement savings," wrote one of the judges, commending Ms. Miyoshi for an Excellence Award.

"The effort put into this program clearly shows how dedicated the organization is to their employees' well-being," another judge wrote.