Jackie Barnett, PHR, SHRM-CP is a long-term public employee at the City of Columbia, MO. She has completed 23 years of service and is the HR Manager responsible for payroll support and benefits for over 2000 employees. The City of Columbia has recently engaged LAGERS to do on-site meetings for its employees in order to better inform them on the value of a LAGERS pension. Since pensions are a great tool to attract, but also retain quality employees, the City wants to educate its employees on LAGERS in order to increase retention among City employees. This is her account of their experience.
The City of Columbia is like most municipalities in the country. We rely on a highly skilled workforce to provide the best services to our community. In the past, part of our organizational culture was the LAGERS pension plan and what it offered our employees, which was a great recruitment and retention tool. However, in the past 10 years we have struggled to recruit and retain top talent for the future, while also losing skilled and seasoned employees to retirement, and other employers. After the recession, we had to make hard decisions about the LAGERS pension plan we offered our employees, and in 2012 we changed our plan to no longer offer new employees the 80 and out provision. Luckily, LAGERS provides some flexibility for us to change elective benefit options for situations just like this.
With these struggles in our organization, and financial stresses to the City, we reached out to LAGERS to see if they would partner with us to provide education and training to our employees. Our goal was to restart the conversation with our employees about the LAGERS pension plan and help them see the true benefits of the program.
Angela Lechtenberg came to our rescue, and truly partnered with us! She started small, with re-education about the LAGERS plan that was offered to all employees in 2017. Then in 2018 she developed and offered a series of training opportunities that focused on where employees were in their career life cycle, (early career, mid-career and pre-retirement); and what they should consider at that stage with their LAGERS pension and retirement planning. We also had her join us with an annual training offered to our supervisors, which focused on how to talk with employees about their LAGERS pension throughout their career. All of this education was not only beneficial to our City and employees, but I believe LAGERS was able to learn more about our organization and its challenges. A truly mutually beneficial partnership!"Our goal was to restart the conversation with our employees about the LAGERS pension plan and help them see the true benefits of the program."
We would say overwhelmingly the response from employees has been positive, and we have restarted the conversation about the LAGERS pension program. Employees are certainly more informed and aware of this very important pension plan, and we have taken the first steps of reintegrating the conversation into our culture. We can't thank LAGERS, and specifically Angela Lechtenberg, enough and look forward to partnering with them more in the future!
Please contact us if you'd like to have meetings for your employees like the ones we conducted in Columbia. We'd love to come and educate members on the value of LAGERS and how we can help them achieve a secure retirement