The Joseph Group

Educating Your Team – Is Your Team Engaged?

May 24, 2024


As a plan sponsor, running an effective 401(k) plan can be time consuming and take your focus away from your day-to-day responsibilities. With the stress of your everyday job sometimes pieces of a 401(k) plan can be pushed to the side. One part of an effective 401(k) plan that is often overlooked is education. Plan sponsors who are looking to obtain and keep top talent should be educating their team both on their 401(k) plan but also on a wide range of financial topics. While many recordkeepers offer online education to the team once they have established their accounts, group education (either in-person or via zoom) focusing on topics that are important to your team is more impactful.

A question you may be asking yourself is: how do you choose which topics work the best and what might resonate with your team? Well, for the Joseph Group clients we work with the plan sponsor to craft an education plan that best fits their team by providing a list of educational topics to choose from or creating new presentations specifically designed for the needs and desires of the team.

Here are three points to consider when designing an education plan for your team:

  • Employee demographics – The demographics of your team can be the first place to start when considering education. For a mostly young staff that may just be starting their career, education around 401(k) basics, budgeting, and investing may be the right direction. If you choose topics that are irrelevant to your demographics, then your team will either not show up or show up and tune out. You don’t want to waste your time or theirs so selecting the most suitable options for your company demographics makes the most sense. For example, you will very rarely see 20-year-olds attending Medicare or Social Security presentations. These retirement concepts, while extremely important, are 40+ years into the future and can even seem unattainable for a young workforce. While small pieces of them may be introduced to a younger team, a deep dive should be avoided.

While most teams have a wide variety of ages represented, a way to keep them engaged is by crafting an education plan to hit all age spectrums throughout the year and include some topics that are relevant to the entire team.

  • Simplicity and Repetition– Keep it simple and repeat the concepts. It can take repeating a topic 2-7 times before someone remembers and acts on the concept they are being taught. That is why overlapping topics and repeating concepts is never a bad idea. These topics are not ideas your team focuses on in their day-to-day life, so repeating the concepts helps remind them of the key takeaways and where they might personally need to take action.
  • Company Fit- Educating around the 401(k) plan and other financial concepts should not be a disruption to the company. Is there a time of year that makes the most sense to hold education sessions or is there a companywide initiative that you’re launching where incorporating a financial component may be seamless. For example, as Matt mentioned in the last Plan Sponsor Insights, financial wellness is often a topic that can engage employees at all ages and one that is gaining traction in conjunction with company wellness programs.

Regardless of age or industry one common question is “How much do I need to retire” and while the number for each person is different, there has been some buzz in the media about needing $1 Million plus to retire. When this question is raised oftentimes it is followed with the defeating thought of “I’m never going to be able to retire.” Having a robust education plan can allow employees to ask these questions and receive hope that retirement is possible. Hearing financial concepts that may seem unattainable to your employees may shut them down and cause them to give up and stop contributing to their 401(k). Robust education and engagement with your team can prevent this from happening.

Finally, in a post Covid environment we have seen many education sessions move online and while that might work, consider whether an in-person session (if feasible) or a mix of virtual and in-person education might be best for your team. Is your team accustomed to online meetings where they will stay focused and engage themselves in the presentation or do they need a live speaker to hold their attention and allow for group discussion to keep them engaged? Both options can be fantastic and allow your team to gain the insight needed to make strong financial decisions for themselves.

We would value the opportunity to look at your current education plan or to design an education plan with you for the first time. We have experience running company specific education and would love to help you make a lasting impact on your teams’ financial education.





Written by Kim Kline, CRPS™, Retirement Plan Services Representative. Kim can be reached kim.kline@josephgroup.com