The Maryland Supplemental Retirement Plans (MSRP) represents 457(b), 401(k), 403(b), 401(a) match, Roth 457(b), and Roth 401(k) plans. Not only must Agency Benefit Coordinators for MSRP understand the basics of how the various plans work and the benefits of each, they must also be advisors for of a wide range of other benefits for state employees, including health care, spending account for health or daycare expenses, annual leave, flex time and retirement, among others.
MSRP realized that Benefit Coordinators needed a quick, simple way to advocate for the retirement plans offered when they encountered new hires. They had a few goals to meet as they reached out to the more than 400 Benefit Coordinators across state agency locations:
Ensure Benefit Coordinators knew who to contact for what kind of service;
- Ensure Benefit Coordinators understood why plan participation was important and how to advocate for the plans by scheduling site visits and/or hosting educational workshops for their employees; and
- Capture information from new hires regarding whether or not they opt to contribute to a plan.
In the spring of 2014, MSRP launched the “Everything You Need, All In One Place” kit. The kit was made to simplify the process for Benefit Coordinators by including only the things needed for new hires—all in one place. Each kit contained Step-by-Step enrollment forms which were to be filled out by all new hires regardless of whether or not they were joining the plans, and welcome brochures that emphasized the need to prepare for the future with testimonials from actual members, and a coupon to schedule a workshop at their agency with free refreshments as an incentive, as well as personal letter from the Executive Director of MSRP and instructions for re-ordering supplies.
This kit simplified the plans’ support for the Benefit Coordinator and ensured they know that the staff at MSRP is available to answer questions and assist as needed. MSRP also spent time and resources to create higher-end branded items to remind Benefit Coordinators to utilize the kit and thank them for their assistance in plan administration; these items included an insulated cooler pack, tumbler, embossed notepad and flashlight.
Following the release of the kits, MSRP launched a quarterly newsletter for Benefit Coordinators. Each edition of the newsletter has information on re-ordering kits supplies, scheduling workshops, and visiting MSRP on social media. In the first year of the program, MSRP had collected information on 871 new hires, through the Step-by-Step forms, and boosted the assistance of Agency Benefit Coordinators in signing up new employees for retirement plan participation.