Once you have great benefits in place, you want them to *actually* get used. Here's how to get your team excited about — and enrolled in — their GRSP.
Illustration by Marta Ryczko

6 Ways to Increase Enrollment in Your Group Retirement Plan

Wealthsimple Work provides employers with a modern financial wellness benefit for employees.

Is your organization having a tough time attracting and retaining top talent?

You’re not alone. 

  • Statistics Canada recorded nearly 750,000 vacant positions across all sectors in the second quarter of 2021.

  • A Business Development Bank of Canada study found that 55% of Canadian entrepreneurs are struggling to hire the workers they need — and 26% report having trouble retaining their current employees.

  • A WTW talent attraction and retention survey revealed that 70% of employers expect to continue to have difficulty attracting talent in 2022; 61% are prepared to be challenged by retaining employees this year.

While we can blame an aging population and the ongoing pandemic (and the Great Resignation it's helped spark), the challenge forward is clear: to compete for top talent, you’ve got to bring more than basic compensation to the table. 

Many organizations are getting creative by offering their valuable employees innovative perks, including a Group Retirement Savings Plan (GRSP). A convenient way to save for retirement, especially when an employer matches contributions, a GRSP is a compelling benefit for many employees. 

However, the employer’s job isn’t over once the GRSP program has been rolled out. There’s a lot of work involved in getting a new plan up and running, so you want to make sure you’re getting a good ROI for your efforts. To see the real impact of offering this benefit, a significant number of employees need to opt into the program — and ideally be able to easily see how their savings are stacking up over time. 

It’s important to have an ongoing strategy to ensure your employees are enrolled and getting as much value out of the GRSP as possible. In this article, we’ll go over exactly why your enrollment rate is so important and share some strategies for boosting that rate and increasing overall engagement.

Why increasing enrollment in your GRSP is important

If your organization is serious about creating a better employment experience for employees, it’s critical to ensure they receive (and understand) the complete value of your total rewards package. You don’t want your top in-house talent to leave retirement savings on the table, especially if you offer matching contributions.

Why?

Here are three good reasons:

  1. A top reason employers add a group retirement plan is to help support the financial wellness of employees, which can improve satisfaction, productivity and more. If a higher portion of your workforce is enrolled, the more likely you are to see those improvements.

  2. Employees who enroll and see their wealth grow can turn into ambassadors of the group retirement program for new and prospective hires. The more ambassadors you have, the more helpful they can be for increasing attraction.

  3. Enrollment can also serve as a telling metric of retention — if an employee isn’t enrolled in the GRSP, they may be a flight risk. When employees opt in, it shows commitment.

Why you should set a target enrollment rate

Like most things in business, you’re more likely to achieve meaningful success if you set an enrollment target. Wealthsimple Customer Success Associate Emily Brust says an organization that provides matching contributions should aim for 80% to 90% engagement. Employers who offer non-matching programs are typically satisfied with enrollment rates of 70%. 

“Engagement tends to be a little lower, around 60%, for non-matching programs,” she says. “It’s hard to quantify the same benefit if the employer isn’t offering an additional incentive on their end.”

Whether your organization is matching or not, it’s helpful to name a GRSP champion within your organization who will not only help administer the program but will also work toward achieving a high enrollment rate. An HR specialist is usually a good role since a GRSP program could be considered beneficial for employee engagement. 

“Increased enrollment may be an interesting metric of engagement for a passionate HR executive who is looking to achieve some very specific goals within the company,” Emily says.

6 tips for increasing enrollment

Whether you’ve recently launched a brand new program or you’re looking to get more employers interested in an existing GRSP, it’s important to remember that communicating the value of the plan is not a “one and done” proposition. 

It’s helpful for an organization’s GRSP champion to create a communications strategy around ensuring employees are making the most of their GRSP. This may be part of a broader employee engagement strategy or something that stands on its own. Emily says this doesn’t have to be a complex undertaking; it could be as simple as setting calendar reminders to prompt employees to set up, check growth, and tweak their contributions.

“It’s important to take ongoing action to promote ongoing engagement,” says Emily. 

Looking for ways to keep the GRSP top of mind? Here are six things you can do.

1. Send out reminders via Slack / email / internal messaging system

Your GRSP communications strategy could revolve almost exclusively around messages or push notifications through a variety of channels that you know employees engage with. How often you send reminders may depend on your internal communications culture, but Emily recommends sending out one at least once every quarter. 

If a large cohort of new employees join the company at any given time, it may be helpful to create a 6-week communications strategy to remind them to enroll as soon as possible. “You could create a template for these messages to go out once a week, especially if you have a matching program, so they don’t miss out on free money the employer is offering,” says Emily. 

Like all employee communications, the reminders should be short, simple, and include a call to action with a link where they can sign up for or sign into their GRSP account.

When it comes to content, consider sharing information like:

  • If your plan has matching contributions in the range of 3% to 6%, remind employees how much they stand to gain every year by doing some math for them. (e.g. With a 5% match, someone who earns $100,000/year will receive $5,000 in employer contributions to their RRSP, in addition to their own contributions of the same amount. That’s $50,000 over 5 years — and that’s not including compound earnings!

  • If your plan does not include employer-matched contributions, you could share the same math as above but point out that an employee setting aside 3% to 6% of their pay cheque could yield meaningful results.

  • Information on how to maximize their personal contributions by setting up automatic deductions from their pay cheque so saving isn’t optional or noticeable.

  • Special features of the plan, e.g. Wealthsimple’s GRSPs offer values-based investment opportunities with socially responsible, Halal, and crypto investment options.

  • Reminders to check in on the performance of their plan. If your GRSP program provider has an especially intuitive online interface, this can actually be fun!

  • If your GRSP program includes access to portfolio managers, it may be helpful to remind employees to check in with a financial advisor to ensure their portfolio is aligned with their current financial goals. 

  • Information about how they can borrow from their GRSP balance for the Home Buyer’s Plan (up to $35,000 each year toward buying or building a home for themselves or a disabled relative) and the Lifelong Learning Plan (up to $20,000 with a maximum of $10,000 each year to cover the cost of full-time or part-time education or training). 

Your GRSP provider may provide template reminder emails that make it easier to get started with your communications plan.

2. Take advantage of seasonal cues 

There are several times a year when financial planning may be top of mind and worth a reminder of an employee’s GRSP. 

  • Start of a new year (Jan 1): Help employees make financially responsible New Year’s resolutions by reminding them what awaits them in their GRSP program. It’s helpful to send out a few extra prompts in December and January. 

  • RRSP contribution deadline (March 1): Since a GRSP is directly linked to their RRSP, they’ll want to maximize their tax savings by contributing as much as possible before this deadline. 

  • Financial Literacy Month (November): Employees may be seeing other cues in the media so a timely reminder of their GRSP this month may spur them to enroll or seek out financial advice through your provider.

  • Bonus time or annual salary increases (time varies): What better time to increase GRSP contributions than when employees get a bump in their salary? This is a good time to remind them of the math, e.g. what a 5% contribution looks like over 1 year, 5 years, etc.

With each communication, you may want to remind employees that they have access to a GRSP with perks like on-call financial experts, investment portfolios they can tailor to their needs, and a hassle-free way to save for retirement with automatic deductions from every pay cheque.

3. Create a personalized contribution calculator

If you want to get creative, you could set up a personalized contribution calendar for your employees. Seeing how much retirement savings they’re missing out on by not contributing can be an eye-opening incentive to enroll or reset their contributions.

4. Offer financial education sessions 

You can add to the value of your GRSP program by empowering employees to bone up on their financial education. You could engage your GRSP provider to offer in-demand or custom webinars and lunch and learns to enhance their understanding of investing, learn more about saving for retirement, and ask questions. 

One way to ensure you get maximum engagement for these sessions is to come up with a list of potential topics and poll your employees to garner their interest. 

5. Benefits review during all-hands or town hall meetings

Larger organizations that hold regular all-hands or town hall meetings could add a 10-minute item to the agenda: How to make the most of your compensation package.

It can be powerful when leadership speaks to the value of the GRSP and other benefits available to employees. The GRSP champion could create talking points that emphasize the value of the program. 

6. Hold a contest for referrals

Who doesn’t love a fun and friendly competition? If you have particularly low enrollment rates, it can be very helpful to hold a contest for the most internal referrals to the GRSP program. Interesting incentives for winners might include:

  • A coffee membership

  • A catered lunch for their team

  • A care package designed specifically for the recipient

 

Most employers that offer a GRSP program genuinely care for the financial well-being of their employees — both now and in the future. When you encourage your staff to make the most of your program, you’re also boosting their job satisfaction, peace of mind, and inherent self-worth.

That’s a goal worth setting.

Gren leads the marketing efforts for Wealthsimple Work, showcasing the amazing work our customers do to bring innovative benefits and employee experiences to their organizations.

Recommended for you

    Thinking about these five considerations can make planning a RRSP Matching Program a little bit simpler.

    Article

    RRSP Matching Program: Top 5 Things Employers Should Consider

    Thinking about these five considerations can make planning a RRSP Matching Program a little bit simpler.

    The year was 1957. Elvis entertained a crowd of screaming teenagers in Ottawa. The Montreal Canadiens won their ninth Stanley Cup. And, as part of the Canadian Income Tax Act, the federal government introduced the Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP) as a tax-sheltered way for Canadians to save for the future.

    Article

    How Do Employers and Their Employees Really Benefit from GRSPs?

    The year was 1957. Elvis entertained a crowd of screaming teenagers in Ottawa. The Montreal Canadiens won their ninth Stanley Cup. And, as part of the Canadian Income Tax Act, the federal government introduced the Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP) as a tax-sheltered way for Canadians to save for the future.

    If you’re trying to decide if a DPSP or a Group RRSP is right for your employees, you’ve come to the right place.

    Article

    DPSP vs RRSP: Which Group Plan is Right for Your Employees?

    If you’re trying to decide if a DPSP or a Group RRSP is right for your employees, you’ve come to the right place.

subscribe

STAY UP TO DATE ON FINANCIAL WELLNESS IN THE WORKPLACE

Sign up for our email newsletter