Archived Insight | November 1, 2018

Using Your DC Plan to Reward High-Performing Employees

In this report, published by our former corporate practice Sibson Consulting in November 2018, we look at how cutting edge organizations employ data analytics, plan differentiation and targeted communication to take full advantage of their DC plans.

This report will help you identify strategic roles, analyze the DC plan data, differentiate compensation rewards and educate employees about how the plan works for them.

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Identify strategic roles

DC plans generally cannot discriminate person by person. Yet they can treat groups of employees differently.

Cutting-edge organizations may use a variety of criteria (e.g., role, location, business unit) to segment their employees. Consequently, a DC plan can use roles rather than performance to decide which groups of employees to reward.

In the publication, we highlight a program that segments its employees by role — strategic, core, requisite and non-core.

Analyze the DC plan data

The next step in exploring how to use a DC plan to reward specific segments of employees, those in strategic roles for example, is a detailed analysis of the organization’s plan data.

Does the organization know precisely how its plan rewards employees in strategic roles? If not, it is likely that they receive the same benefit level as everyone else.

Further, they may not be taking full advantage of the current plan, which means they may be receiving a lower benefit than other employees.

Analyzing the plan beyond the usual statistics (e.g., reviewing employee savings rates by age, career level, business units and performance) will demonstrate how different groups, including employees in the organization’s strategic roles, benefit from the DC plan.

Differentiate the Compensation Rewards

Some organizations have successfully redesigned their DC plans to offer top benefits to employees in strategic roles.

This may sound like a radical idea since most people think DC plans are egalitarian vehicles that offer all non-executive employees the same rewards.

However, just as organizations do not think twice about rewarding their employees in strategic roles with differentiated pay (e.g., incentive compensation programs) they can also set different formulas for their DC retirement plan contributions.

In the publication, we look at tactics for differentiating an organization’s DC plan to reward its employees in strategic roles.

A targeted communications campaign develops messaging and information for a specific audience so they learn something new, feel something different and take action.

Before starting a campaign aimed at a group, an organization needs to ascertain:

  • If these employees understand how the DC plan works,
  • If they consider it part of their overall compensation, and
  • Their motivations for current contribution rate decisions.

Once the organization understands the shared characteristics and issues of the target audience, it can create a communications strategy that matches programs and interventions with the behavior it wants to drive for the targeted employee group.

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This page is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal, tax or investment advice. You are encouraged to discuss the issues raised here with your legal, tax and other advisors before determining how the issues apply to your specific situations.