Virginia Retirement System Receives Leadership Awards for Pandemic Response and Communications Campaign

RICHMOND August 26, 2022 -

The Virginia Retirement System (VRS) received two 2022 Leadership Recognition Awards for its SmartStep Auto-Increase Awareness Campaign 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 support participants during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Participant Education & Communication Leadership Award honors the most original communications campaigns by public-sector defined contribution plans.

Pandemic-related challenges led many employees to dip into their savings when faced with financial uncertainty. To counter this trend, VRS partnered with MissionSquare Retirement, the third-party record keeper for its defined contribution plans (DCPs), to boost use of the VRS Commonwealth of Virginia 457 Deferred Compensation Plan’s (COV 457) SmartStep automatic-increase feature while promoting engagement with Account Access, the participant website.

MissionSquare developed a captivating campaign with a “savings superhero” theme encouraging participants to continue saving with automatic contribution increases while also preparing for emergency expenses. The campaign was designed to increase awareness and use of plan features that make it easier to save.

Campaign communications also featured multichannel promotions, including a splash screen website experience that positioned options in a manner most likely to spur action.

“Helping participants plan for tomorrow, today, is at the heart of our work at VRS,” VRS Director Patricia Bishop said. “Because of the pandemic’s effects on the personal finances of those we serve, we focused on innovative communications to provide important information in a time of economic volatility. I am pleased that NAGDCA recognized this initiative in both categories.”

The awards will be presented on Wed., Sept. 21, during NAGDCA’s annual conference.

Media Contact

Jeanne Chenault
Director of Public Relations