Division B - Printed Tools of Public Relations
Category 4 - Brochure - Four Color
FRS Retirement Options for New Employees
State Board Of Administration of Florida; Jay Rayburn, APR, CPRD, Ph.D.; Aon Consulting

Award of Distinction

Research/Situation Analysis: Since 1970, employees of the State of Florida, all 67 Florida counties, and the 67 school board districts have participated in the Florida Retirement System Pension Plan, a plan that guarantees an income for life during retirement. In 2000, the Florida Legislature created an optional retirement plan (the FRS Investment Plan), similar to a private sector 401(k) plan. Beginning in 2002, current employees were given the ability to choose between the two plans. The State Board of Administration of Florida (SBA) and its consultants created an education program to inform employees of their options. The program consisted of print and video materials, a web-based interactive modeling program, telephone assistance, and more than 2,900 educational seminars. By 2006, the SBA wanted to update the materials and target them toward new hires. The SBA chose Aon Consulting to create the new materials. The goal of the education program was to encourage employees to use the free retirement planning resources and to make an active election. (Employees who do not make an active election by a set deadline default into the Pension Plan, which may not be the best plan for them.) As part of the program, Aon Consulting created a new employee enrollment kit (called the FRS Retirement Options for New Employees) – the cornerstone of the program – which is mailed to new employees’ homes. This kit includes a “Choice” Video CD that explains the retirement plan choices, along with an enrollment form the employee uses to make a plan election. Also included is information on the investment funds available in the Investment Plan. Employees who need advice on choosing from among the 20 investment funds in the FRS Investment Plan are encouraged to use the Financial Engines’ Advisor Service and Choice Service tool (available on MyFRS.com) or speak with a certified financial planner from Ernst & Young by calling the MyFRS Financial Guidance Line. All resources are free of charge FRS-covered employees. Dr. Jay Rayburn, APR, CPRC (a consultant to the SBA) conducted six focus groups in March 2006—three with employees and three with employers— to evaluate these materials. The purpose of the groups was to ascertain preferences for the cover of a new hire brochure, the format for the brochure, the term used to describe the Ernst & Young workers (who assist FRS employees who call the Financial Guidance Line), the tagline used on the front cover of the brochure, and the logo (with variations) for the printed materials. (The focus group protocol, examples of materials tested, and the findings from the focus groups appear in the attachments.)

Objectives: To create a brochure that would (1) describe the retirement plan choices and deadlines; (2) give employees sufficient information and resources to choose the retirement plan that works best for them; (3) encourage employees to make an active plan election, rather than default; and (4) drive utilization of the free, ongoing, comprehensive FRS financial planning and education resources that employees have access to once they make a retirement plan election.

Implementation: Once the focus groups were conducted and the findings analyzed, Aon Consulting produced the materials for the campaign using the brochure design chosen by a large majority of focus group participants—a look that brands the brochure and makes it immediately recognizable to employees who receive it. The winning design became the basis for all other printed FRS materials. According to focus group participants, the preferred brochure cover was chosen because it was different from so many other materials they receive, stood out because of the color, and the “nest egg” symbol hit “the target for retirement,” “family,” and “peace of mind.” (These themes were incorporated throughout the campaign and all materials.) An “official” envelope was created for mailing the kit. The envelope depicted the chosen logo and the Seal of the State of Florida—both of which focus group participants said would make the materials look official and important. The FRS New Employee Enrollment Kit was first mailed to new employees in August 2006.

Evaluation: During August, September, and October 2006, the newly designed enrollment kits were mailed to 38,345 new hires. Recipients had an enrollment deadline of January, February, and March 2007, respectively. The response to the materials was overwhelmingly positive. Subsequent focus group participants remembered receiving the retirement kit. They read it, used it to help make their retirement plan choice, and many said they keep the kit in their home files. Most said the kit, together with the telephone assistance and/or the website, gave them sufficient information to choose the retirement plan that works best for them. Most of the participants said they made an active election (defined as filling out the enrollment form, using the telephone system, or enrolling through the website). Those who defaulted into the Pension Plan (defined as not making an active election), did so deliberately because they knew that taking no action would automatically place them into the Pension Plan, which was what they wanted. In addition, 10,476 new hires have contacted the MyFRS Financial Guidance Line, an increase of 25.7% over Q1 2006; 512,631 individual visits have been recorded on the MyFRS website, an increase of 36.3% over Q1 2006.

Budget: The cost for producing the enrollment kit was $67,600. The cost for the focus groups was $12,418.76 plus travel expenses for the moderator.