The telephone rings in the kitchen and demands attention until someone picks it up or the caller gets tired. The phone is avocado green, wall-mounted and rotary dial. (What’s a rotary dial telephone, you ask? Wikipedia provides your history lesson.) The cord is kinked and stretched within an inch of its life due to the “private” conversations that continue into the bathroom a few feet away.
It’s a decent setup when everything runs as planned. Of course, the whole process unravels once someone picks up the other receiver in the house or expects an important call, at which point I’m promptly kicked off. But, when the stars align, triumph!
What’s required to pull this off?
- You’ve pre-arranged the call date and time.
- You have access to an available telephone.
- You have ample arm and neck strength to hold that heavy receiver for an extended period.
When that telephone rang, we all ran for it
No voicemail, no text and no call waiting. Outside of real conversation, the telephone offered the only channel for live interaction. You managed to it, and your life centered on it. When it worked just right, it was good. When it didn’t, you were just plain out of luck.
If you were around then, you can relate. Sprinting to the house when the telephone rang only to miss it. Scrambling to find a spare quarter to make a time-sensitive call from a corner pay phone. Remember how frustrating it could be? Or do you miss the simplicity? For many, the fog of nostalgia has a tendency to blur the tougher realities of the past.
Old ways are a barrier to new ways
I’ve seen this same psychology with plan sponsors who try to retain control over the participant experience: education, communication and engagement. And with plan service providers who rely on plan sponsors to hang posters, send memos or forward email. We remember what used to work and check the box on old ways of connecting.
Here, the desire to maintain old processes not only feels antiquated, it is clearly disconnected from a culture that is almost entirely connected. We live in an integrated, digital ecosystem where information is always flowing and accessible. Last-era “gatekeeping” efforts are a relic of the past that deny participants what they want, and what they’re already doing anyway.
Connectivity is the key
We like companies who know us and anticipate our needs, and we love it when those relationships are relevant and simple with tailored emails, texts or digital shorts. Hugely popular companies like Audible and Uber understand that we like instant gratification and on-demand everything, and we need nudges to take action.
Participants can benefit from that same connection to their employers workplace retirement programs. They need the right information at the right time – over time – so they can engage on their own terms.
Here’s how we do it
The good news? It’s easier than you may think to serve up personalized information and nudges.
You provide your participants’ work email addresses. My colleagues at Principal® take it from there. They educate and engage with action-oriented messages. They can also deliver your required notices to keep your participants informed.
Connectivity powered by email goes beyond information delivery to involve participants in their retirement planning. It’s not one-size-fits-all. Participants get powerful, predictive prompts. They interact with their Retirement Wellness Scores. They engage with My Virtual Coach and monthly webinars. Financial wellness and retirement become possible.
Rotary dials and pay phones – we are not going back
We’ve come a long way. Phones today make connection convenient. We may not make a single call, but we engage with email, text and video.
Thinking about that old green telephone with its overstretched cord makes me smile, but I wouldn’t want to trade in my on-demand life for rotary dials or exact change for the corner pay phone.
And guess what? Participants don’t want to step back in time either. In fact, they want the same innovations in the workplace that they already enjoy during the vast majority of their waking hours.
It’s easy to help us connect
Digital integration and connectivity are here. So join in. Provide the email addresses that power the automatic and reimagined education and communication processes. Just like that, your participants can get the connection they’ve come to expect.
This document is intended to be educational in nature and is not intended to be taken as a recommendation.
The subject matter in this communication is educational only and provided with the understanding that Principal® is not rendering legal, accounting, investment advice or tax advice. You should consult with appropriate counsel or other advisors on all matters pertaining to legal, tax, investment or accounting obligations and requirements.
Insurance products and plan administrative services provided through Principal Life Insurance Co. Securities offered through Principal Securities, Inc., 800.547.7754, Member SIPC and/or independent broker-dealers. Principal Life and Principal Securities are members of the Principal Financial Group®, Des Moines, IA 50392.
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