Simple is Better in Terms of Plan Communication

May 7, 2007 ( - For plan sponsors not going the automatic enrollment route, an earnest effort at communicating plan features to participants simply can propel an increase in participation, a recent CitiStreet study suggests.

According to a press release, CitiStreet’s review of its own plan communications over the last 12 years showed that comprehensive plan information is valuable, but can be too overwhelming to participants at the outset and can lead to inaction and confusion.

CitiStreet found that a simple approach resulted in response rates that were significantly higher than traditional, information-rich approaches, with the response rate doubling when a plan communication piece was simplified from five reasons to participate in the plan to just two key points.

“In fact, we’ve found that removing investment decisionmaking up front and defaulting employees into an appropriate fund can improve enrollment rates significantly,” said Lisa Margeson, CitiStreet senior vice president of education and communications, in the news release. “Once enrolled, a second tier of communication begins to help participants, if desired, choose other investments that are the most appropriate and effective for their savings goals.”