Meet a communication consultant
Mary Morley, senior communication consultant at Lincoln, discusses her work with consultants and advisors and how she delivers tailored solutions to meet client needs.
Q: What’s your role at Lincoln?
A: I’m a senior communication consultant (CC) in the Retirement Plan Services group. I work with a team of CCs who collaborate with plan sponsors, their consultants and advisors and other members of the Lincoln service team to provide employee communications and education. The team focuses primarily on ongoing communication services. My main priority is implementation communications.
Q: Where are you located?
A: I’m based in Indiana, but our CC team is located throughout the country.
Q: What’s a typical day like?
A: I start the day with a status review of each implementation. Implementations have a lot of moving parts, so managing the development and delivery of employee communications that occur at various times during an implementation is a significant part of my day. My tasks include reaching out to each implementation partner (IP), writing employee communications and securing approvals with our clients and the compliance department. I also participate in weekly conference calls with the internal Lincoln team, the plan sponsor and the advisor or consultant to discuss each step in the conversion process.
Q: What’s your favorite thing about your role?
A: There are two. The first is identifying the needs of each client and fulfilling those needs through targeted communications. It’s gratifying when I see increased participation or deferral rates as a result of our efforts. It’s a great feeling when a client tells us that implementation has gone well and that employees understand the new plan and are taking action. The second is Lincoln’s appreciation for the critical role that employee communications plays in this process. It’s an important element of a successful implementation and helps create the best possible customer experience for our clients.
Q: When have you made an impact with a plan sponsor?
A: Our communications strategies are detailed and tied to specific plan goals, such as increasing participation and deferrals, or enhancing retirement readiness. We measure the results of our education campaigns to show a tangible impact with each client implementation. A government client who was consolidating plans from two recordkeepers to one, updating and simplifying their investment menu, and offering more robust online participant tools also wanted to increase participation during the conversion. With our high-touch approach to employee education, we effectively communicated the plan and investment changes, and saw an uptick in plan participation. Our retirement consultants held 2,054 one-on-one meetings over a four-week period. Of the employees who attended a one-on-one meeting, more than half increased their contribution rate or enrolled in the plan.
Q: How does your work complement a consultant or advisor?
A: Whether working on an implementation or ongoing communications, the CCs are, in essence, part of the consultant’s or advisor’s team, working with them to meet each client’s needs. What I bring to the table supports the services that the consultant or advisor provides to their client. If the advisor offers both investment and communications support, I’ll work with him or her to provide any services we can to support the employee education they are providing. Part of our role as CCs is to proactively determine the value we can bring to the consultant or advisor and ultimately to the entire client relationship.
Q: Can you think of a favorite day on the job?
A: Every day! There is always a new challenge to meet and new goals to achieve with each plan conversion. In addition to working with a great team of internal partners, I enjoy working with consultants and advisors to implement new plans.