Award-Winning Campaign Advances Retirement Readiness

Learn what process Essentia Health went through that led to thier 2014 first place Pensions & Investments Eddy Award.

The Challenge
Retirement plan education at Essentia Health has always focused on the critical messages of encouraging enrollment and adequate deferrals. After a recent review of company demographics, however, Essentia Health uncovered that 40% of its employees were 50 years or older.

With the health care organization’s “Here with you” promise in mind, Essentia Health and Transamerica Retirement Solutions faced the important challenge of motivating these older participants to develop a plan for turning their retirement savings into retirement income.

The Solution
To gauge actual retirement readiness for Essentia Health’s “50-somethings,” Transamerica brought these individuals together and asked them how much detailed planning they had done for retirement. “The goal was to better understand how much they had prepared for retirement so we could develop a plan to directly match their needs,” said Transamerica Client Executive Chris Engelhardt. The in-person survey uncovered two important pieces of information:

  • Twenty percent said the meeting they were attending was their first step.
  • Twenty-two percent of these same employees were less than two years away from retiring.


It’s no wonder more than 40% said they were “anxious” about retirement.

Armed with this information, Transamerica’s retirement planning consultants focused the remainder of the in-person and online meetings on five key areas of retirement: Lifestyle, Investments, Health Care, Protection, and Income.

Wanting to keep the momentum going beyond the retirement readiness learning and planning sessions, Essentia Health and Transamerica partnered to develop a “Getting ready to retire” section for the Essentia Health’s retirement plan website, which features tools and information to help pre-retirees build a retirement income strategy. This new section of the site includes worksheets for retirement planning and budgeting, and allows pre-retirees to “set their retirement date” to trigger timely e-communications that reinforce the importance of developing a plan that supports their journey to and through retirement.

The Results
After the retirement readiness sessions concluded, the participants who attended a meeting were again polled about their feelings on being prepared to retire.

  • Only 12% said they were “anxious” about retiring; down from 41% before the meetings.
  • Forty-three percent of attendees said that they were now “confident” about their retirement picture—a big increase from the 14% who expressed confidence prior to attending a meeting.


The campaign was a first-place winner in the 2014 Pensions & Investments Eddy Awards, which recognize plan sponsors’ outstanding efforts to educate employees about how to invest their defined contribution plan assets wisely for retirement.

Note: Results may vary based on an employer’s particular situation and other factors. Client testimonials do not imply an endorsement of any particular product or service. 440