July 2, 2020 – TIAA Clients win three Plan Sponsor Council of America (PSCA) 2020 Signature awards. TIAA, with Howard University, won first place in the "Large Company Plan Changes" category. The Company also received awards with the University of Kentucky for excellence in "Events and Workshops", and with California Technology Institute (Caltech) for the category of "Investment Education".
The PSCA's annual Signature Awards recognize exemplary retirement plan education and communications that go above and beyond to educate, assist, and, where necessary, calm fears. These programs are even more critical today as participants consider their options in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
"We're proud of the recognition we've received in partnership with Howard University, the University of Kentucky and Caltech," said Doug Chittenden, EVP and head of Institutional Relationships at TIAA. "The awards exemplify our commitment to provide plan sponsors with best in class support for their participants and demonstrate our long-standing belief that ongoing communication, education and guidance are instrumental to creating positive outcomes."
"Plan Changes - Large Company" – 1st Place – Howard University wanted to create a seamless and straightforward transition for its participants during the consolidation of its retirement programs with TIAA as a sole-recordkeeper. It was important for Howard to simplify many of the new plan's technical changes and reduce confusion so that participants would take better advantage of the available plan features and improve their retirement readiness.
Working closely with Howard University, TIAA developed a multi-tiered strategy that took into consideration the university's unique brand and culture and accounted for the unpredictable work schedules of Howard’s hospital employees. The comprehensive strategy included easy to understand transition communications; multi-channel access to participant educational materials; one-on-one advice sessions with TIAA Financial Consultants; and extensive on-campus and online seminars.
TIAA was able to engage the diverse participant base as demonstrated by strong on-site participant event attendance, increased plan participation and a 22 percent increase in Howard University and Hospital employees meeting with TIAA Financial Consultants in person during the transition period, among other success metrics.
"Events and Workshops" – 2nd Place – The University of Kentucky's goal was to educate and communicate to all of its faculty and staff the importance of saving for retirement. It was important to develop and launch targeted programs that would resonate with each employee, regardless of their life stage.
TIAA used the University of Kentucky's enrollment fairs in the spring as opportunities to increase participation in the voluntary plan. The strategy was to create custom marketing materials for each of the enrollment fairs and provide giveaways such as custom-branded Starbucks cards which led to a large presence at each event. The strong use of the TIAA brand was also an effective reminder of TIAA's on-site presence and partnership with the University of Kentucky.
TIAA also implemented innovative approaches such as utilizing "geo-targeting" at all of the University of Kentucky locations, which meant that individuals within 3 miles of campus that opened a website, would get a custom message or ad on their phone. Other approaches included scheduling Financial Consultant meetings on mobile devices through the use of a QR code on educational materials and the use of online gaming quizzes to help employees better understand saving and investing concepts.
By meeting benefits-fair attendance goals, TIAA was able to achieve the University of Kentucky's goals of increasing participation in the voluntary plan and strengthening the partnership with TIAA, while also increasing employees' awareness of TIAA's capabilities and offerings.
"Investment Education" – 2nd Place – Caltech wanted to improve participants' understanding of their retirement plan investment menu to better prepare participants for a secure retirement. Specifically, Caltech was looking to better educate participants about how fixed and variable annuities work and how they can help generate lifetime income.
A multi-touch investment education campaign was used to help improve participant comfort levels with the overall investment menu and annuities. The campaign kick-off featured a seminar focused on creating a paycheck in retirement led by a dynamic TIAA annuity expert. Participants could either attend in-person or dial-in for the event. Caltech participants also received an annuity option mailer that encouraged participants to schedule a personalized appointment with a TIAA financial consultant. In addition, participants received an email driving them to a variety of engaging online resources that provided more in-depth information about lifetime income options and allowed participants to model lifetime income investment options.
The campaign proved highly successful in engaging with and educating Caltech participants about lifetime income. There was also an uptick of more than 15% in one-on-one meetings with TIAA financial consultants compared to the same period in the prior year.