2021 NAGDCA Members’ Choice Award

Voting closed EOD Monday, November 8.

The newly created Members’ Choice award allows NAGDCA government members to select the plan they feel deserves special recognition for its outstanding project or campaign from 2020. The top ten overall scoring Leadership Award winners are eligible for the award, and all government members have the opportunity to vote for their favorite campaign or project. The plan that receives the most votes will be recognized as the first-ever Members’ Choice Award winner. The winning plan earns bragging rights and receives complimentary annual NAGDCA membership.

The winner of the 2021 award was announced live during the Award Winners Showcase webinar on November 10click here to view the recording.

2021 Award Winner

The County of Los Angeles and industry partner, Empower Retirement, selected as winner of the 2021 Members’ Choice Award

The 2021 NAGDCA Members’ Choice Award was presented to the County of Los Angeles and its industry partner Empower Retirement during the 2021 Award Winner Showcase webinar on November 10.  The award acknowledges the plan for its 2020 communication and education campaign “Ready, Set, Communicate!” The County was also awarded with 2021 Leadership Recognition Awards in the COVID-19 Response and Participant Education & Communication categories.

While many employers scaled back operations at the onset of the pandemic and struggled to define a “new normal,” the County recognized that this could be  detrimental to the retirement progress employees had made to date. Instead of settling for complacency, the County decided to double down on its participant communication strategy and outreach.

In March 2020, the County responded to pandemic-imposed constraints adopting a Ready, Set, Communicate! approach to communication and education. This meant pivoting to a virtual engagement model with the goals of protecting the health and safety of participants and Plan representatives, increasing the frequency and scope of communications, communicating in a more efficient and targeted way and helping participants improve retirement outcomes.

Click here to learn more about the award-winning campaign. 

Thanks to the combined efforts of a committed team at the County and Empower, we helped participants do significantly more than get through the lockdown. We vastly increased and enhanced their options for education and support, dramatically improved their outcomes and garnered an immense response to our all-virtual strategy.

Kim Burch-Garcia, Executive Director-Deferred Compensation Plan, City of Los Angeles

2021 Members’ Choice Award Nominees

NRSM 2020 – LA’s the Place!

On October 1, 2020, the City of Los Angeles Deferred Compensation Plan (DCP) staff, in partnership with their Third- Party Administrator (TPA), Voya, launched their annual campaign for National Retirement Security Month (NRSM). The primary objective of the campaign was to encourage participation and increased savings and promote greater awareness of the services and features offered by the DCP. The City’s NRSM campaign was entitled, “LA’s The Place!” The LA’s The Place! quiz used a gamified tour of City of Los Angeles landmarks to simultaneously promote participation, increased saving, and greater awareness of DCP services and features (including our blogs as well as virtual group and individual meetings). An interactive quiz was accompanied by a weekly raffle of prizes. This fun, engaging approach garnered our highest ever campaign participation – more than doubling our campaign participation numbers from last year’s campaign!

Click here for more details

Virtual Road Trip to Retirement

In October 2020, the Massachusetts 457 Deferred Compensation SMART Plan sought to educate participants about the benefits of the SMART Plan via weekly messaging throughout National Retirement Security Month (NRSM). Our Virtual Road Trip campaign informed participants of the journey of saving for retirement, focused on closing the retirement income gap, increasing contributions, and personalizing the retirement experience with local plan advisor virtual meetings. Our month-long campaign saw demonstrated participant engagement, with open and click rates exceeding industry averages, as well as increased actionable items by participants to improve retirement outcomes. Overall, the campaign yielded 472 one-on-one meetings with Retirement Plan Advisors, 1,148 participants increasing deferral, and over 9.6% of all participants updating and reviewing their beneficiaries.

Click here for more details

Ready, Set, Communicate!

In March 2020, the County responded to pandemic-imposed constraints adopting a Ready, Set, Communicate! approach to communication and education. This meant pivoting to a virtual engagement model with the goals of protecting the health and safety of participants and Plan representatives, increasing the frequency and scope of communications, communicating in a more efficient and targeted way and helping participants improve retirement outcomes.

Click here for more details

DC Virtual Investment Fair

District’s Office of Finance and Treasury and its Department of Human Resources hosted a virtual financial wellness investment fair to coincide with National Retirement Security Month.

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Summer Enrollment Campaign

Knowing State of Texas employees will only have about 50% of their pre-retirement income from their ERS retirement (defined benefit plan), Employees Retirement System of Texas (ERS) wanted to educate and inform eligible state employees and current participants about the benefits of the Texa$averSM 401(k) / 457 Program during their summer enrollment period. To achieve this goal, they required a format for delivering critical messages in a way that was accessible, entertaining and easy to understand – all while social distancing.

To meet these criteria, ERS partnered with Empower Retirement to create the Your Blockbuster Retirement campaign which utilized multifaceted, targeted and plan-wide campaign tactics created to support the idea that saving for retirement doesn’t have to be intimidating. Planning and saving for retirement could be something as simple and enjoyable, like going to a drive-in movie (while social distancing)! The campaign shared with the targeted audience that with a good retirement “script” and “supporting cast,” participants could be the star of their own retirement picture! This cohesive eligible state employee and participant outreach initiative was launched during ERS’s summer enrollment period (June 18 – August 31, 2020) and encouraged employees to maximize the use of investment resources available for retirement savings.

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Social Distancing – But Not Alone

This isn’t a story about technology. It’s a story of how a group of people rallied together when technology was all that was left of what used to be. Through technology, MSRP engaged members on a more personal level resulting in higher average annual contributions: enrollment $4,264 (45% increase over previous year) and increases $1,742 (40% increase over previous year). With our online events and virtual consultations, our members were socially distant – but not alone. Six key components included Benefit Coordinator Academies, Website Covid Hub, Online Appointment Scheduling, Webinar Series, Virtual Savings Symposium event, and our 3D Virtual Benefit Fair event. We had great engagement and success with each of these components. Retirement Specialists engaged with 30% less employees than before the pandemic but spent an average of 20 minutes more per person. The resulting interactions were more in-depth and meaningful, prompting members to save even more per person than they have in the past.

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MTA Financial Wellness Challenge 2020

As a global pandemic set in, MTA essential workers experienced a drastic change in the way they worked and lived. Additionally, COVID-19 caused many to think about their expectations and to reflect on their Financial Future. Using the Fall’s National Retirement Security Month (NRSM) as a platform to educate, enroll and engage employees, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA), partnering with Prudential Retirement, developed and rolled out a creatively themed virtual “Financial Wellness Challenge 2020”. Since NRSM is a dedicated time to focus on improving employee retirement outcomes, this was an ideal platform for the employees at North America’s largest transportation network, that carried a population of 15.3 million people across a 5,000-square-mile travel area surrounding New York City through Long Island, southeastern New York State, and Connecticut.

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Automatic Increase Holiday Savings Campaign

The State of Missouri Deferred Compensation Plan and the plan’s recordkeeper, MissionSquare Retirement (formerly ICMA-RC), created a holiday-themed savings campaign targeting state participants in the 457(b) plan. While the primary goal of the campaign was to increase savings within the MO Deferred Comp Plan through use and awareness of the automatic increase tool, the campaign also helped drive online engagement and self-service account management.
Communications educated participants on the benefits of auto-increases, including the potential boost to account balances over time. As a result, 1.4% of targeted 457 participants chose to use the auto-increase tool and improved their retirement outlook, .6% of participants returned the postcard tear-off mailers, and 2.4% of participants logged in to their online account and selected to save with the automatic increase tool.

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COVID-19 2020 Education & Communications

This initiative showcased how Prudential and NYC Health + Hospitals were able to come together to work with the 40,000 healthcare workers personally affected by this pandemic to ease their concerns of the volatile market and their retirement plans. This included educating participants regarding retirement readiness and promoting better financial wellness during the unprecedented times of COVID-19. Some of the positive outcomes of this partnership included: virtual meetings, an online appointment scheduling feature called Time Trade, Docu-sign capabilities, utilizing the custom website as a resource, thank-you videos to the Healthcare workers and the promotion of National Nurses Week.

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Island $avings Plan Virtual Benefits Fair

At the height of the Governor’s announcement on the stay-at-home orders for State of Hawaii workers, planning of the spring Employees’ Benefits Fair had started the month prior and was already underway. With the unexpected pandemic event evolving, an alternative solution was needed. The idea of planning a virtual venue to transform the live Island $avings Plan Fair became exciting. During this time of social isolation, the vision, working with Prudential Retirement, was to be able to bring all employees, across the island chain, together for this statewide event. This new concept would allow the Plan to continue educating and bringing Plan-related updates and information to employees and to break through the barriers of the physical distancing mandates and travel restrictions.

Click here for more details