RICHMOND, August 10, 2021 — The Virginia Retirement System (VRS) received two 2021 Leadership Recognition Awards from the National Association of Government Defined Contribution Administrators Inc. (NAGDCA). The COVID-19 Response Leadership Award recognizes public sector defined contribution plans for making exceptional efforts to continue supporting participants during the pandemic. The Technology and Interactive Multimedia Leadership Award recognizes public sector defined contribution plans for their outstanding achievements in those areas.
Working with partner MissionSquare Retirement (formerly ICMA-RC), VRS developed strategic initiatives to help keep members, employers and retirees informed, educated and on track during the pandemic. Following the guidelines of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act, the strategy included new plan provisions for coronavirus-related relief, enhanced participant communications and virtual retirement education opportunities.
The “Staying Connected” communications campaign helped VRS participants quickly locate support and educational resources during a stressful time. DCP retirement specialists shifted from in-person to virtual assistance through phone and email support, virtual one-on-one appointments and virtual education webinars. VRS supported these initiatives with interactive technology that enhanced self-service account options, while helping participants navigate retirement questions and access education and counseling. The VRS DCP mobile app received a visual redesign, along with a savings video and a new help page. In addition, a new online tool helped participants quickly locate assistance from their regional DCP retirement specialist.
“Serving those who serve others is at the heart of our mission at VRS,” VRS Director Patricia Bishop said. “With the onset of the pandemic, we redoubled our efforts to communicate with participants and anticipate the information and resources they might need in a time of economic uncertainty and personal hardships. I am pleased that our team’s ongoing efforts were recognized by NAGDCA”
The award will be presented on Thursday, Sept. 16, during NAGDCA's virtual annual conference.