How to Help Employees Save For Retirement

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Retirement is supposed to be the time to work on your golf swing or in your garden, but many of today's seniors are opting to work at a job instead.

Retirement is supposed to be the time to work on your golf swing or in your garden, but many of today's seniors are opting to work at a job instead. Nineteen percent of Americans age 65 and up still punch the clock, a rate that hasn't been seen since 1962, according to InsuranceNewsNet. While some remain in the workforce because they enjoy it, many are forced to continue because they lack adequate retirement savings. In fact, 27 percent of workers age 55 and up say they have less than $1,000 in savings and investments, according to the Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI).

While it's not their responsibility, businesses can help employees boost their retirement savings. Here are six ways HR leaders can help employees enjoy retirement — however they choose to spend it.

1. Start With a Good Provider

Not all retirement savings plans are equal. When looking for a provider for your firm, choose one that offers an abundance of online tools for employees. Check their website for online retirement calculators, detailed investment options, easy-to-use forms and a robust FAQ section.

Choosing a provider that offers individual financial planning advice to employees is another great service to bring to your team. Nearly 6 out of 10 workers call themselves "do it for me" investors, preferring to leave investment strategies and decision-making to professionals, according to CNBC.

2. Use Automatic Enrollment

In the past, employees had to opt-in to retirement savings plans, an approach called "voluntary enrollment." Today, plans are increasingly adopting an automatic enrollment method, where new employees are enrolled unless they choose to opt out. This slight change can increase participation among new employees by 48 percent, according to Morningstar.

3. Make Contributions Easy And Trackable

Make sure your provider allows employees 24/7 access to their accounts. Seeing their savings grow can be motivating. You also want to use a plan that offers automated contributions, where the money comes out of their check each pay period. Approximately two-thirds of nonsaving workers say they would be likely to save for retirement if automatic paycheck deductions with the option of changing or stopping them were available, according to EBRI.

4. Match a Percentage of Contributions

Consider matching a percentage of an employee's contribution, even if it's just 1 percent. To an employee, it's free money, and that alone can boost participation. Seventy-three percent of American workers not currently saving for retirement say they would be at least somewhat likely to save for retirement if their employer matched their contributions, according to EBRI.

Contribution matches can be win-win scenarios. Businesses get potential tax advantages, and the benefit can help attract better job candidates. A retirement savings plan is one of the top five most sought-after benefits, according to Fast Company. Offering a matched contribution demonstrates that your firm cares about its employees, and that can lead to a more engaged workforce. Happy, engaged employees are more productive employees, according to Gallup.

5. Be Proactive With Communications

You want to motivate employees to take appropriate action, and this can take some nudging. Send regular emails to employees, hang posters in your break room and mention enrollment dates and sign-up information during meetings. These simple reminders may be all the encouragement an employee needs to get started with their retirement saving.

6. Get Leadership on Board

Employees often follow their manager's lead when it comes to making decisions. Ensure that your management team talks to employees about your retirement savings plan. If an employee sees that their boss is excited and engaged in the plan, they'll be more likely to follow suit.

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