Organization type impacts participants

Only one in five participants feels well-prepared for retirement. How can we increase that number? See how non-profit, government, and for-profit participants engage with their retirement plans—and how you can encourage positive actions for each group.

Organization type insights

The Lincoln Retirement Power® Participant Engagement Study found that all three participant groups are motivated best by one-on-one meetings, and they universally place importance on staying on track for retirement. However, the study pinpointed differences across organization types in three key factors—level of engagement, decision-making style, and comfort with investing.


Participants in for-profit companies demonstrate a higher level of engagement than their counterparts. Non-profit and government participants interact less frequently with plan websites and don’t check their account balances as often. Non-profit employees also use calculators and tools less frequently and don’t review retirement plan materials as carefully. This may be based in part on a trust in their employers to manage their plans effectively and notify them of anything important.

Recommended action: Since these participants are already aware of the importance of saving for retirement, focus on the less engaged in all three segments to break their inertia and motivate positive actions.


While organization types are similar in the kinds of decision-making styles their participants exhibit, non-profit and government participants are more likely to explore all relevant information and hesitate before taking action. In particular, government participants take the longest time to make decisions. This is likely because they prefer to wait until they’ve spoken with a financial professional before they act. This group is far more likely to speak with a retirement plan representative before deciding on contributions and investment choices.

Recommended action: Provide clarity to help them make the most of the information they collect and drive better retirement outcomes.


Participants in for-profit companies are much more comfortable with investing. They feel they have a strong understanding of available investment types, are more willing to take risks, and are more inclined to be hands-on. This presents a great opportunity in the non-profit and government sectors.

Recommended action: Use education and communication to help these participants feel more comfortable with investing and drive them to be more active and engaged with their plans.

Go in-depth with Lincoln Retirement Power

Read our report to learn more about how organization type impacts participant behavior and what you can do to help participants best take advantage of their retirement plans.

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This research is based on a national survey of 2,508 full-time workers ages 22 to 68 who have been contributing to their employer’s defined contribution retirement plan for at least one year. The sample is weighted to represent the national population of retirement plan participants, using the same methodology implemented in the first wave of the study, conducted in 2012.

The current report analyzes the survey results by organization type, including government, non-profit, and for-profit.