The way balances are dropping, you can’t blame employees for being nervous about the fate of their nest eggs. But you can try to calm their nerves.
It’s hard to escape: Everything you see on TV or read in the papers is about how the stock market is doing a number on retirement plans. No wonder there’s an undercurrent of anxiety in just about every company these days.
Still, having a panicked workforce isn’t going to do anything for people’s sanity — or your company’s productivity levels.
Here are a couple of ways you can help both. The key? Communicate: more information, more often.
Right about now, the last thing employees want to think is that your company is hiding something from them. And a blanket memo isn’t going to cut it.
Encourage supervisors to overcommunicate, at least for the short term. That means periodically sitting people down to not only update them on your company’s own plan performance, but also to offer them a reality check on what’s happening with other 401(k)s.
For example, the fact that only 4% of people have stopped contributing to their 401(k)s, even with this current craziness, is worth sharing.
It’s not just what you’re telling people, but how often you’re telling them that matters now. Considering that people are bombarded every day with bleak stock market numbers and tales of a troubled economy, some consistent reassurance is important.
Keeping an open-door policy and encouraging people to come to you any time they do have questions is a great start. You may just be able to keep employees from working themselves into a frenzy.