The firm’s intention is to make participants think about the site not only as a place for transactions but as a destination to help them take positive steps toward financial wellness.
“We wanted to help plan sponsors demonstrate the value of their plans and help participants exploit the value of those plans,” Eve Varner, director of Interactive Platform Management for Bank of America Merrill Lynch, told PLANADVISER.
The online and mobile experience for employees when engaging their financial benefit plans has been improved, Varner said, which also makes it easier for employers to give workers access to more personalized financial education. “The intent was to deliver education in a way that participants are used to,” she explained.
“When you look across the scope of what we did this year it’s really about all these pieces working in concert to deliver broad-based change,” Varner said. “The changes are a continuation of our ongoing efforts to put a laser focus on participants, using a very consumer-focused lens.”
Benefits Online Mobile builds upon existing mobile capabilities and gives users access to detailed information in their equity, defined benefit and non-qualified deferred compensation plans via smartphone, tablet or other mobile device.
A homepage redesign incorporates feedback from plan sponsor clients and employees, giving a more intuitive and personalized experience. Content is tailored and organized to match an employee’s information usage.
An education center engages plan participants with educational resources and content that is relevant to a participant’s life stage, financial goals and interests. The resource is intended to change the way employees interact with their benefit plans, and to help them make more meaningful and informed financial decisions.
The launch of the Education Center allows participants to manage their retirement and benefit plans as they have been doing, while now also providing content in one place organized by life stage. By gathering articles, seminars and other tools into a single location, participants can find and act upon these helpful resources more easily.
The center is also available before a participant logs in, which allows a participant to share articles and content on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. When pieces of content are tagged, employers can promote more targeted, relevant content to employees through their communication campaigns, further driving engagement and education.
More than 3.6 million employees use the Benefits Online platform across 1,750 large and midsize companies, according to Bank of America Merrill Lynch.