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Putting It All Together

Social marketing isn't new, but applying it to the problem of low enrollment in savings plans is. Applying social marketing principles in the TLC approach can help HR professionals make significant gains in savings participation.

Suggested Annual Timeline

The timeline suggested here shows development of the TLC approach leading up to an annual open enrollment. It's presented without specific dates so that you can adapt it to your calendar, and the amount of time suggested for each step is realistic without being overly aggressive for a small human resources department or organization.

Adapting the Timeline

Of course, you can adapt this timeline to fit your needs. For example:

You can save time by using the existing TLC materials built on NEFE's research rather than creating your own.

If offering several enrollments a year, you may want to compress this timeline for each one, successively refining materials with each event.

You might choose to "listen" for a whole year then develop and use materials the following year, or you might complete the whole TLC process in a matter of months.

You can adjust the timeline depending on the number of HR staff available for the project.

Quick & Easy TLC

TLC Stage  Timeline (in weeks) Human Resources Activities  Countdown to Enrollment 
 TARGET 1-7  Identify employees in one or more of the three groups targeted in NEFE research   10 months
 LISTEN  8-24 Engage in one or more of the listening techniques using materials from NEFE research  8 1/2 months
 CREATE  25-44 Create materials or use materials provided as is  4 1/2 months

Standard and Advanced TLC

Materials refinement and data analysis for the attitudes and beliefs survey can be incorporated in the eight weeks at the end of the annual TLC cycle. Implementing a control group can be done within the framework of the original timeline.

TLC Stage   Timeline (in weeks) Human Resources Activities  Countdown to Enrollment 
Review enrollment histories
Discuss needs & goals
Decide on target group(s) 
10 months
9 1/2 months
9 months 
 Advanced 6-7  Establish control groups  9 months 
 LISTEN 8-15


Conduct focus groups and one-on-one interviews
Create, distribute and collect "Barriers to Savings" survey
Compile what you learned in "listening" activities 
8 1/2 months

6 1/2 months

5 months 
 CREATE 25-30
Create a flyer to address barriers
Create an enrollment plan checklist
Create Videos 
4 1/2 months
3 months
2 months 
 Advanced 45-52  Gather feedback on materials; refine materials; tabulate data from attitudes and beliefs surveys; collect and analyze data on enrollments for target and control groups  2 months 

An Ongoing Process

Once you have implemented the TLC approach and used your materials as part of an enrollment cycle, take time to assess your results: document numbers of enrollments using TLC compared to your control group or pre-TLC enrollment process.

With each subsequent TLC cycle, you should continually improve your materials in response to changing issues and concerns.

NEXT: "Working With Results"