Plan sponsors play a critical role in getting Gen Z employees off to a great start on both retirement savings and overall financial wellness. Toward that end, being a trusted source of information, and sharing that information in ways that are relevant to younger workers, are the keys. Success requires putting social media strategies front and center.
Reliable and Relatable
Gen Z employees bring a great deal of tech-savvy to the workplace and can typically surf the web speedily to access information that interests them. Nonetheless, given their newness to the full time work world and financial independence, they are eager for reliable and relatable information—and are naturally inclined to seek both from employer sponsored plans. As Plan Sponsor reports:
“Although Gen Z is thought of as kind of the most tech-advanced generation … they’re still very new to the workforce. I think that’s important to remember,” says Julia Stati, a customer engagement specialist at Sentinel Group….Plan sponsors are uniquely positioned to be that trusted information source for younger investors. Reaching this generation starts by delivering short, concise, easy-to-understand messages, including videos, infographics and blog posts. Young workers are also looking for more than retirement-savings topics and are seeking to learn personal-finance basics, such as dealing with student debt, using credit cards wisely and juggling competing savings goals. Customization is key to delivering this information, and recordkeepers can work with employers to tailor subject matter important to their participants, using milestone events such as birthdays or hiring dates to nudge good investing behavior.
Given the reliance of Gen Z on social media in their personal lives, it’s not surprising that Gen Z employees also tend to look to social media for financial guidance. Convenience and accessibility are high priorities for Gen Z. Accordingly, investment firms are rethinking how they provide financial education. For example: “Fidelity is seeing engagement grow quickly on platforms such as TikTok and Instagram, especially short videos and one-page infographics. Bite-sized content can open the door for further engagement if users are interested in learning more.” Communications experts emphasize the importance of thinking in terms of “bites, snacks, and meals” to engage and then further arm young employees with information. Gone are the big old blocks (or pages!) of content attempting to share comprehensive information in one long source. As Tori Dunlap, founder of Her First $100k, puts it, once young employees find a reliable source, “They will follow that person to do deeper research,” and:“That’s where the blog content comes up. That’s where a course, or something that’s more educational beyond a 60-second video,” fits in….People aren’t turning to financial advisers; they’re turning to the internet.”
As plan sponsors seek out new ways to provide financial information to employees of each generation, it’s important to remember their own fiduciary obligations and risks. As the IRS explains, selecting and monitoring individuals or companies providing services, including communication and education, are fiduciary responsibilities associated with plan sponsorship. That’s why it is best practice (and very wise) for sponsors to revisit risk management plans, ensuring all necessary coverage is in place and up to date. Colonial Surety is here to help. Just select an affordable, package and receive a three point coverage solution in minutes, which includes:
- The ERISA bond requiredto protect the assets of the retirement plan from theft.
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Good To Do
When it comes to arming Gen Z employees with financial wellness information, experts advise not overwhelming them with content all at once. Though they are interested in a variety of financial intel, including retirement planning, managing credit cards and paying off student debt, they want the information one step at a time, as Plan Sponsor points out:
New investors seek consumer information to learn at their own pace, often preferring to start in smaller chunks. As plan sponsors think about creating information, they should consider tactics and the specific problem they’re trying to address to make it easier for plan participants to gain knowledge. Participants “want it more to be self-service, like, ‘I’m at Point 0. Tell me about Step 1. Don’t tell me about Steps 1 through 10 at once…’”
The tone of communications is also very important and in order to be a reliable source of information for younger employees financial literacy communications need to avoid coming across as condescending. For example, Dunlap advises: “Don’t patronize them, don’t talk down to them….Give them a lot of grace. If they’re coming to you at all, they’ve already overcome this huge emotional feeling of shame…It’s really important, especially for people under 40, to feel safe, to feel heard and to know that they’re going to get quality information in a way will not make them feel terrible.”
Across the country, plan sponsors are working hard to engage a greater diversity of employees in maximizing the benefits offered by company sponsored retirement plans. While doing so, it’s important for plan sponsors to protect their own savings too. Even with great diligence, mistakes happen and under the high standards of ERISA law, an error, oversight or misunderstanding can result in a costly fiduciary breach allegation for sponsors. With a fiduciary protection package from Colonial, for a few dollars a day, you’ll have coverage for defense costs and penalty limits up to $1,000,000 if faced with alleged or actual breaches of duty in connection with the employee retirement plan. Cyber Liability coverage is included at no extra cost, providing additional protection against regulatory actions related to data and privacy, as well as expert response services.
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