Create a full-range of financial program for employees
I think first and foremost, around annual enrollment time, it's having an organizational meeting to go through the options that have been selected and that are available to the employees. Really just explaining, having a professional come in and explain exactly what you selected for your employees and where there's value for them and not. So understanding, should I select the long-term disability? Should I have supplemental disability insurance? And you want to make sure that it's answered by a professional, so that they can answer the nuanced questions versus your employees coming to you saying, hey, should I select my long-term disability insurance, and you don't know how to point them in the right direction.
So having a really well-coordinated and powerful in-depth annual enrollment meeting is extremely important. Understanding the 401k benefits, how much should I be putting in there? Am I appropriately invested? Having the 401k provider come in and really discuss what the fund lineup looks like, how is it right for me, and exploring those options.
I think having office hours. So for all of our clients that we do their employee benefits or we do their retirement plans, we come in at least once a year to provide a day of office hours for employees to come in and ask any question that they want about their financial situation.
So now we've transitioned, obviously, to virtual consultations. But I think employees feel really satisfied about the fact that they have a place to go to answer these questions that are burning in their mind that otherwise, they may have gone to HR for, who may not be qualified or may not even want to answer these questions.
And so just understanding and having a good game plan around office hours, I think, is a really quality benefit. And what we find often is that the more employees feel satisfied about their financial situation and empowered, the better they operate at work.
Make sure employees understand their benefits
My recommendation for all of my clients is to utilize the scale benefit that these companies are providing and making sure that they're collecting as much supplemental life, long-term disability, long-term care, and health insurance benefits, and really understanding what employers are providing their employees. I can't tell you how many times we look at clients' plans and they really are just not taking advantage of all of the wonderful benefits that a company is providing their employees. And that has to be really, really frustrating as an employer. And so when we go through these packages for clients, we really make sure that they're optimizing those first and foremost as that primary line of defense.
Offer targeted advice for a financially diverse workforce
Do multiple presentations, right? The presentation for your older demographic to help understand retirement planning strategies may be different than the college savings strategies for your 30-year-old employees or 40-year-old employee. So really just understanding the demographic. And don't be afraid to segment the mountain and have your resources present different topics at different times for those employees.
And then when you get into sophisticated plans, you can really put some things like a top hat retirement plan in for your key employees, your key executives, your high-income earners. There are some unique plan designs that you can have put in place. Again, I would leverage your retirement plan advisors for that.
Communicate openly and transparently
Communication, first and foremost, from employers to employees has been critical, right? Having employers really just let their employees know here's where we're at, here's how we're doing financially, here's what you should be thinking about, here's what we're thinking about.
Transparency is extremely valuable to your employees because they're worried. They want to know, am I going to have a job? Am I not going to have a job? Are they going to cut my benefits? Communication is critical. And people can deal with the facts. But I think it's the unknown that worries people.
So just having transparent conversations, first and foremost, was extremely valuable in 2020. And I think it's a lesson to keep going forward. As it relates to the financial aspect of it, again, we had clients reaching out to us saying, hey, can you talk to our staff about the CARES Act? Can you talk to our staff about should they keep putting money into their retirement plans?
And then there are some companies, frankly, that thrived during the pandemic. I mean, that also happened, right? So can you help our people understand how much they should be saving, because they're saving more than ever and they had never saved before, right? So where should they be putting those dollars?
So it's just having your relationships, provide that information to your employees as much as you can as a free added benefit is extremely valuable.