What’s your plan participation story?

Using specific retirement plan data can help you create strategies to boost participation rates and improve outcomes.

Plan participation facts

Plan participation is a vital first step in preparing employees for retirement, but only 46% of plan sponsors say they’re satisfied with their participation rates.1

What story does your data tell?

When you look at your plan metrics, focus on the participation rate - a key performance indicator.

Are you happy with the percentage you see? If not, you’re not alone. 34% of 401(k) plan sponsors say that increasing participation and contribution rates is the top priority for their 401(k) plans, and 8% of plan sponsors say that increasing participation is the primary aspect of participant behavior that their organization should address.2

Dig deeper into the data story

What’s your plan data telling you? These questions can help with your analysis.

  • What’s your overall participation rate? More meaningfully what demographics—age, gender, income, tenure—should you target for improvement? Breaking down plan demographics can help you target your audience and create more effective messaging.
  • Is your rate trending in the right direction? Are you improving?
  • How do you compare to others with similar industries, asset sizes, participant counts or plan types?
  • Are there specific factors impacting your participation rates, such as voluntary versus mandatory retirement programs?

Take action to boost participation

Participation can be affected by employee awareness (or non-awareness) of your retirement plan. Consider these strategies to increase awareness and participation.


Our education materials make it easy for employees to understand your plan, increase financial wellness, and make informed decisions. This flier  provides a short overview of materials you can use to educate participants about the importance of retirement planning throughout all stages of their careers.


Retirement planning can be complicated. That’s why personal support gets results. Participants who have one-on-one meetings have four times higher retirement confidence, 38% higher satisfaction with their plan, and 45% higher contribution rates.3


Consider plan design features to help improve participation. For example, with automatic enrollment, all employees are enrolled in the plan. As the plan sponsor, you choose the default deferral rate and the default investment option. Automatic enrollment eliminates the decision-making and guesswork for employees who may not otherwise take the initiative to enroll in the plan or have the confidence to make investment decisions on their own.

Get personalized support

Selecting the most effective communication materials and plan features for your unique employee demographics and plan objectives can be challenging. Contact your Lincoln representative for customized support.

1Cerulli, U.S. Retirement Markets 2018.

2Ibid; Alight Solutions LLC, 2018 Hot Topics in Retirement and Financial Wellbeing, http://go.alightsolutions.com/hot-topics .

3Lincoln Financial Group, Plan Satisfaction Research, 2016.