6,786 log-ins to the participant website.
One tool helps employees track their retirement accounts
while also pulling data from outside savings accounts and other
investments into the system to give a clearer picture of the
participant’s progress. The system uses weather symbols to indicate retirement outlooks, with suns representing good ones and
clouds, room for improvement.
“The engagement is what I’m most excited about because a
lot of people are logging in and asking questions and looking for
ways to do better,” says Yezzi. “It’s been great to see that shift in
mentality to excitement and enthusiasm behind the plan.”
Pokorsky adds, “We also send out annual statements
showing on-track statuses in print. If participants are aware of
their account status, they’re more likely to take action. We have
seen a change. Now, more than 80% are showing a positive
retirement outlook through that tool.”
Automatic enrollment and escalation features have also improved
metrics in JX Enterprises’ 401(k) plan. In 2014, the company
introduced an auto-escalation program and, in January 2016,
increased the auto-enrollment deferral rate from 3% to 6%.
Also at that time, it initiated a re-enrollment program in which
anyone contributing less than 6% or not contributing at all was
automatically re-enrolled at that level. Further, the company
increased its share of the match from 3.0% to 3.5% and the cap
on its auto-escalation program from 6% to 10%.
To not leave its higher-compensated workers behind, the
firm sought a safe harbor. “By moving to a safe harbor program,
we were able to eliminate the need for ADP [actual deferral
percentage] testing that impacted our high-performing salespeople, who for years were prevented from maximizing their
401(k) contributions. With these changes, only one new hire
opted out of our 401(k) plan in 2016—every other one has
enrolled in the program,” Yezzi says.
Looking ahead, JX Enterprises especially intends to stay
true to one of the major initiatives it credits with driving its
success thus far: education.
“UBS provides input, options and training, and so does
Transamerica,” says Yezzi. “We work hand in hand with them to
drive education initiatives. We talk about where we need to focus.
This year, we’re asking, ‘How do we get more people to that
super-saver status?’ We want to get at least 20% in that status.
Our education program is going to focus on that. We bumped it
recently to 13.9%. We’re climbing. We’re getting there.”
JX also intends to focus on educating its employees on the
potential downside of taking loans from their retirement account.
“Moving forward, we’re going continue to find different
ways to help people avoid 401(k) loans,” says Yezzi. “That’s going
to be a big talking point when we have face-to-face sessions. We’re
going to try to convince people [borrowing against their account]
>$10MM – $50MM FINALISTS
Gonella Baking Co.
Freezing its defined benefit plan in 2011, Gonella Baking Co. started
a 401(k) now with over $12 million in assets, plus average participant savings of $30,000 and deferral rate of 6.8%. Gonella uses
best-practice plan design and offers unlimited access to advisers.
In 2013, HubSpot, a developer of products for inbound marketing,
had less than 35% participation in its plan, even as the company
underwent rapid expansion. When it learned it was overwhelming
participants with too much information, it took a new approach to
educating them and streamlined communication.
At Mercersburg Academy, a coed prep school, a 5% participation
deferral is all it takes for an 11% employer match. To encourage
further saving, the school moved to a recordkeeping platform with
low-fee fund options and advanced technological services.
Rotating Equipment Repair
At Rotating Equipment Repair (RER), many employees are blue-collar with a first language of Spanish. Yet the company, which
serves the high-energy pump market, has 94% participation and
an 8.7% average deferral. It uses stepped-up automatic design
features plus targeted education to attain plan success.
Wheelabrator Group, Inc.
Including a large percentage of blue-collar and native-Spanish-speaking participants, Wheelabrator Group’s plan had attained
impressive stats, until many fled it during the Great Recession. In
2014, the technological manufacturer re-enrolled nonparticipating
and low-saving workers, and has targeted plan education to
specific work-force needs.
Read the full finalist profiles on plansponsor.com/PSOY2017.
isn’t the best choice. We may put stricter limits on loans that we
allow. We certainly don’t want to restrict [them] completely, but
I think the more we can help people avoid those decisions, the
better off we are.”
The company will also focus on educating participants
about a Roth 401(k) option and driving engagement. “We do hire
a number of young people, and the Roth can offer huge benefits
for a younger person,” Yezzi says. —Javier Simon