Paper Addresses How to Improve Retirement Plan Enrollment

July 9, 2012 ( – Diversified has released a white paper about improving retirement plan enrollment.

“10-Minute Enrollment: Scaling Back Meeting Content to Drive Higher Enrollment Rates” focuses on how simplifying the retirement savings plan enrollment process can help increase participation rates.  

Traditional enrollment meetings are typically scheduled in 45- to 60-minute blocks, with time allotted to suitably review an employer’s retirement savings plan, including eligibility rules, employer match formulas, loan availability—even distribution options.  During this comprehensive review of plan benefits, enrollment can become a secondary focus, and as a result, the objective of enrolling employees is not always achieved, Diversified contends.  

“We’ve witnessed firsthand the higher success rates that occur when enrollment meetings are shortened to 10 minutes—focused only on why employees should be in the plan, not on a comprehensive review of plan benefits,” ” said Patricia Advaney, senior vice president, participant solutions at Diversified, and the author of the white paper.“Subsequent targeted communications can address the retirement savings needs of specific employee segments, and are most effective when they get the right message to the right person at the right time.”

Suggestions from the paper include:  

  • Keep easy-enroll cards within reach at all times – A return to paper might be “old school,” but easy-enroll cards can get the job done quickly and efficiently.  Consider keeping a supply of cards in the cafeteria kiosk, the HR waiting area, and in the offices of all those who provide retirement plan information and education.  These cards allow participants to take action immediately as opposed to enrolling online at a later time.  Employees should be required to complete an easy-enroll card even if they decide not to enroll, as sometimes having to document that they declined a benefit is enough to get them to reconsider. 
  • Create a sense of urgency – Asking employees, “Who is responsible for your retirement?,” positioning  matching contributions as an integral part of an overall compensation package, and educating employees on the average deferral rate in their plan are all effective steps for creating a sense of urgency that can help spur enrollment. 
  • Follow up with education – Education remains a critical component of retirement planning.  If possible, new enrollees should have an opportunity for one-on-one sessions—onsite, online or over the phone— that can be used to focus on fine-tuning the employee’s retirement strategy. 
  • Measure success – Enrollment success can be measured in three stages by the following goals: get 70% of new employees to enroll at the initial enrollment meeting, get 50% of the remaining 30% to enroll when they become match-eligible, and get 50% of the remaining 15% to enroll if/when they receive an automatic employer contribution.  This equates to more than a 92% enrollment rate over time – a goal that’s within reach of those implementing a 10-minute enrollment process.
To request a copy of “10-Minute Enrollment: Scaling Back Meeting Content to Drive Higher Enrollment Rates,” e-mail