For the last several months, employers and employees have been navigating new work environments to deal with the uncharted territory in which we now all find ourselves. This "new normal" creates challenges that many of us have not faced before, and the day-to-day processes previously in place had to be modified to allow us to continue to perform our duties.
For employers who have a need to ensure their employees are provided with benefits and pertinent information, there has been a shift from large group settings to virtual meetings to provide information and answer questions on a one-on-one basis. This has created an additional strain on staff resources and allows for less opportunity to present employees with supplemental benefits information such as the benefit of participating in the 403(b) or 457(b) plan.
Over the last year, employers across the country saw an increase in employees starting new plan contributions as well as increasing contributions to their existing supplemental retirement plans. While this is a positive trend, educating employees of plan options remains a challenge due to accessible resources to help them understand their options.
The investment providers that offer these services to your employees have begun to modify how they do business to assist you. In the past, a financial advisor would often coordinate with the employer to schedule an in-person visit with new and existing clients. With the change to the new virtual environment, many investment providers have shifted to online settings, allowing them to meet with individuals and groups to educate and assist with questions and transactions. Additionally, investment providers have increased the number of online resources that are available for employees to utilize.
Being open to present these alternative methods of education and/or assistance to your employees may provide opportunities they might not otherwise have. If the investment providers that are a part of your plan have not contacted you, consider reaching out to inquire about how they can assist your employees with their virtual tools.
Rhonda Wood is Regional Vice President at TSA Consulting Group, Inc, an OASBO Benchmark Program Provider.