Half of Employers Offering Retirement Investment Training

October 20, 2008 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - Nearly half of those in a recent survey offer employees training on investing for retirement, and nearly eight in 10 of those offering such training say it is effective.

A news release about the surveyby Hay Group, WorldatWork, and Loyola University Chicago said the key problem is that only 29% of employees participate in such retirement saving training.

“In order to engage employees in managing their benefits, organizations need to take the time to understand the needs and characteristics of the audience and tailor key messages to the diverse interests and motivations of the employee population,” the researchers wrote, according to the announcement.

The study also found that even though eight in 10 companies enjoy a variety of benefits from a rewards program, only a third believe they effectively communicate their reward strategy to their employees. The 80% of respondents who recognized benefits said a rewards program can have an effective or very effective impact on the organization’s performance, employee satisfaction, retention, and employee engagement.

“When times are tough economically, it is more important than ever for companies to clearly communicate their commitment to employees,” said Rich Sperling, a senior consultant with Hay Group, in the news release. “Employers can leverage a variety of financial and non-financial rewards to engage employees during tough times when budgets are tight, but communicating and reinforcing those messages through a variety of channels is critical.”

Other findings from the study include:

  • Few companies formally evaluate the effectiveness of their rewards communications. In fact, 39% of respondents conduct no evaluation. Only 10% pilot test their programs before implementation.
  • Marketing strategies and tools are highly effective in communicating rewards, but aren’t often used. Only 25% of respondents target communication to specific employee groups, but of those that did, 74% said it was an effective or very effective strategy.
  • Total reward statements were identified as one of the most effective methods for communicating about benefits and the philosophy and strategy of reward programs, but they were the least prevalent method used for either, with 68% and 69% of companies providing these statements, respectively.

The study surveyed approximately 400 compensation and HR professionals in the U.S. from a cross section of industries.