MN Employer Initiative Targets Retirement Savings

April 24, 2008 ( - More than 20 Minnesota employers in the Itasca Project's new Financially Fit Minnesota program have pledged in a statewide initiative to help their employees with retirement savings and the use of direct deposit for pay.

The program provides a Web site as a resource for employers who wish to joint the effort – . The Web site includes information on employee trends in saving for retirement and an Employer Toolkit to help companies take action to increase retirement savings and direct deposit participation among employees.

The Employer Toolkit consists of:

  • Assessment Planning – outlines a process to assess current employee participation rates and identify opportunities to increase them. Worksheets and examples are provided.
  • Best Practices – a collection of tips for retirement plan design that will increase employee participation and savings, such as automatic enrollment and immediate eligibility.
  • Resources – provides links to articles and organizations focused on financial literacy, direct deposit, and retirement savings, and offers promotion materials, including brochures, posters, and fact sheets for employer use.

Case Studies and Committments

The Web site also contains case studies of employers who improved their employees’ financial well-being. Among the committments made are:

  • Mortenson Construction , PLANSPONSOR’s Corporate Plan Sponsor of the Year (see Building a Better Future ), which has a goal to attain 100% participation in their 401(k) plan from salaried team members companywide by targeting approximately 20% of team members who are currently not participating. The company also plans to encourage team members to receive the maximum benefit from the 401(k) plan by increasing the deferral rate to 10%.
  • Allina Hospitals & Clinics has a goal to maintain 90 percent or higher participation of match-eligible employees in their retirement savings plan, while increasing the average employee deferral percentage. The company also plans to make comprehensive financial education available to all employees.
  • Best Buy has committed to auto-enroll all new and current employees in their 401(k) programs, which will affect 1,200 employees.
  • Deluxe Corp. has a goal to increase enrollment in the company’s 401(k) program by 200 participants and increase deferral percentage in 401(k) impacting 175 participants
  • Fairview Health Services has a goal to increase participation by 3% in its retirement savings plan impacting approximately 1,000 employees. The company plans to accomplish this through financial education campaigns.
  • Jefferson Lines has a goal to increase participation in their 401(k) program by 50% and to increase participation in the company’s flexible spending plans.
  • Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal has a goal to increase 401(k) participation by 10% and increase the percentage of contributions in 401(k) plans for current contributors by at least 2%.
  • Pentair is launching an automatic enrollment process and supporting communication campaign for employees who have previously elected not to participate in the company's 401(k) program.
  • SUPERVALU this year launched a new, automatic enrollment 401(k) plan and is aiming to increase plan participation of existing employees by five percent over the next year.
    Target has a goal to increase participation in the 401(k) plan, focusing on team member groups with low enrollment.
  • Thrivent Financial for Lutherans has a goal to increase the number of employees participating in the 401(k) plan and increase the average deferral percentage of 401(k) plan participants. The company will increase the visibility of retirement programs within its new employee orientation process and help streamline their 401(k) enrollment process for new hires.
  • Travelers has a goal to increase 401(k) participation rates and increase 401(k) deferral rates, especially for employees that do not receive the full match. The company has an overall goal to improve employee understanding of total compensation, retirement planning, financial planning and asset allocation.
  • of has a goal to increase participation in their optional retirement plans by 5 percent by the end of 2009.
  • U.S. Bancorp has a goal to increase employee education for the company's 401(k) program -- especially among groups of employees who tend to have lower 401(k) participation rates -- by holding educational seminars and conducting marketing campaigns such as mailings and informational postings in key employee areas.
  • Weber Shandwick has goals to increase participation in the company's 401(k) program by 15 percent, focusing particularly on younger employees, and to increase per-paycheck contributions across the office. Weber Shandwick will launch quarterly educational sessions, distribute informational materials and appoint 401(k) advocates to encourage participation among employees.
  • Wells Fargo has a goal to increase 401(k) participation among their Minnesota employees by more than 5%. The company has planned a targeted marketing campaign to increase 401(k) enrollment particularly for non-exempt employees.

Financially Fit Minnesota employers are:

  • Allina Hospitals & Clinics,
  • Best Buy,
  • Deluxe Corp.,
  • Fairview Health Services,
  • HealthPartners,
  • Jefferson Lines,
  • Met Council,
  • Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal,
  • Mortenson Construction,
  • Pentair,
  • Target,
  • Thor Construction,
  • Thrivent Financial for Lutherans,
  • Regions Hospital,
  • Travelers,
  • University of Minnesota,
  • U.S. Bancorp,
  • Weber Shandwick,
  • Wells Fargo and
  • Xcel Energy.

The initiative has the support of Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak and St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman.