Throughout the year, there are times when there will be an influx of employees nearing retirement. We understand that as a public sector employer, you’re likely helping these long-time employees navigate the transition from active worker to retiree. Oftentimes, employees are searching for need-to-know information about their retirement benefits, assessing whether or not they’re ready to retire and, if they are, what to do next.
As your plan administrator, we’re here to offer a few tips on how to help your employees—and yourselves—navigate this busy time of year.
Retirement Benefit Education
Naturally, employees nearing retirement feel uneasy about what their transition entails. Their anxieties are understandable—these life-changing choices can feel incredibly overwhelming. But with proper education about their benefits, employees will begin to feel more financially secure in their next stage of life.
MidAmerica is familiar with these concerns, which is why we have created a library of resources available to your employees on myMidAmerica.com. There, they can explore the Education Toolbox, which can be accessed by selecting Resources from home page. If they are a current plan participant, they can also gain access to their secure portal where they will find plan specific information and benefit management functionality. Of course, not every employee will be proactive in using these resources, so we highly recommend sending periodic reminders to them about these materials. Additionally, MidAmerica Account Managers are always available to discuss any questions or concerns you have regarding the current benefit plan(s) in place.
Assess Your Employees’ Retirement Readiness
Knowing when you are financially ready for retirement is not as clear-cut as it used to be. Because of this, employees count on their employers for guidance as they make this life-changing transition. As an employer, it’s important to understand where your more tenured associates stand with regards to their readiness.
In the past, public sector employers might have gauged the success of a voluntary retirement plan based on participation and contribution levels. While those statistics remain important, retirement readiness is affected by other behaviors as well, such as employees’ ability to set specific goals, make informed investment decisions and fully understand the retirement benefits you offer. A key concern for employees considering retirement is how they’re going to pay for health insurance once they leave the workforce. Clearly communicating how to maximize their benefits and how to cover common costs with their retirement funds will help employees make an informed decision (and feel confident about it).
Plan Succession Across All Departments
A succession plan that outlines each position’s key roles and responsibilities can help employers create opportunities to find excellent replacements for retiring workers. Historically, succession plans have been utilized for higher-level employees, but it is recommended that you pay attention to whether the majority of a department is closing in on retirement and manage accordingly. Employers should manage across generations, so that aging employees understand that it is part of their role to train the younger generation. For younger workers, set clear expectations around learning from more experienced staff in order to set the next generation up for quick success.
Customize your communications… And keep communicating!
Retirement planning looks very different for every individual. This is important to consider when crafting communications for employees. When communicating to participants about their retirement planning, it’s crucial to tailor the message so that it is well received and feels relevant to the audience.
A one-time message is unlikely to motivate employees to take control of their retirement planning. Consider sending multiple communications throughout the year to keep the topic top of mind and increase the likelihood of identifying which employees might need assistance with their planning.
How MidAmerica Can Help
Helping employees with their retirement planning is no small task, but it is a crucial element in ensuring long-term success for both the organization and the employee. The good news is you don’t have to do it alone! At MidAmerica, we have many resources available to you, like the Education Toolbox. We continue to develop these resources, so check back often! Beyond that, a dedicated Account Manager can discuss your unique retirement season challenges and develop a game plan to solve them.
MidAmerica is here to assist in caring for your employees and their livelihood, resulting in a more enjoyable transition into retirement for both you and your retirees.