The Best Outcomes

How retirement readiness is the new DC plan benchmark
Elaine Sarsynski

Elaine Sarsynski, Executive Vice ­President and Head of Retirement Services at MassMutual, spoke with PLANSPONSOR,  about focusing on participant outcomes in order to truly gauge success.

PS: What measures does MassMutual use to benchmark participant outcomes?

Sarsynski: We believe the MassMutual RetireSMART employee action program is the best offering in the retirement industry. Our overall PlanalyticsSM platform leverages big data, personas and customer preferences to provide individualized participant experiences that drive action toward retirement on an employee’s terms. We benchmark our consumer action practices against the practices of the best brands in the world, not just in the financial industry.

PS: What makes a participant program effective?

Sarsynski: MassMutual is uniquely positioned to help employees plan for a better retirement outcome. We are committed to—and have a history of—investing in an innovative consumer-centric infrastructure that combines the best in technology with uniquely designed personal interactions. This foundation enables MassMutual to offer each employee an individualized experience that empowers him or her to easily take action. Prescriptive guidance is delivered to plan participants across multiple media to maximize results. Further, we can prove we’re making a difference in the ability of employees to retire via our PlanSmart Analysis report. MassMutual has
industry-leading data capabilities and innovative technologies to capture each individual’s preferences. Data and the voice of the customer are the foundation and starting point for everything we do. As a result, we create
individualized experiences for each participant that include powerful offerings based on each individual’s circumstances to drive retirement on one’s own terms. We know of no other provider who is as focused on improving plan health while helping employees take the right actions to retire on their own terms.

PS: How can plans and participants measure retirement readiness?

Sarsynski: At MassMutual, we start with data, and MassMutual’s legacy is focused on continuous improvement and investment in the technology infrastructure necessary to capture, analyze and use data to the benefit of our customers. We analyze the market, gain feedback from our clients and leverage innovation from other industries to ensure we offer a best-in-class product. Our forward-thinking mentality drives us to continue to improve our offerings in order to better serve our participants and help them retire on their own terms. We are committed to helping all of our participants and plan sponsors with measuring and improving retirement readiness. Advisors also have the opportunity to utilize these tools to help sponsors and participants take appropriate steps to improve results. MassMutual has developed award winning RetireSMARTSM Ready Tools and our PlanSMART AnalysisSM report, key components of the RetireSMART program. These innovations drive participant action because they’re easy to understand and supported by powerful technology. What differentiates our approach is our ability to use actual data—not averages or assumptions—to appropriately measure and improve results. Without increasing plan expenses, MassMutual has developed significant action plans based on the data we gather.

PS: What is the role of plan design, specifically, as plan sponsors look to make sure their plans have that competitive advantage?

Sarsynski: Working with your advisor or plan provider, it’s very important to think about auto-enrollment, auto deferral increases, ensuring you have appropriate investments on your platform—target-date funds (TDFs), lifestyle funds, custom target-date funds—and you are considering the demographics of the plan. All of that is critical.

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