Case Study

MSRP Benefit Coordinators’ Academy


Maryland Supplemental Retirement Plans (MSRP) provides 457(b), 401(k), 403(b) and 401(a) plans for Maryland State employees. Across the state, 300+ Benefit Coordinators are the first point of contact for employer-sponsored benefits like healthcare, pensions, leave etc. Supplemental retirement plans are not easily understood, so MSRP created Benefit Coordinators’ Academies to help Benefit Coordinators understand how they work and why they’re needed.


MSRP invited Benefit Coordinators to half‐day events to learn more about the Plans, network and have fun. Door prizes, games and giveaways were be used to boost attendance. The Academy was offered in seven different locations, each with a different date, across the state. Each was run by the Team MSRP members who service that portion of the state. Attendees left with a package of materials to help them support the Plans.

Getting the word out

MSRP maintains a database of contact information of Benefit Coordinators and staff who administer benefits for state employees. This list was used to:

  • Mail a formal, printed invitation one month prior to the first event date
  • Email two weeks prior, one week prior and two weeks beyond the first date encouraging people to RSVP for an event
  • Call Benefit Coordinators who had not responded
a series of emails promoted attendance at the events A series of emails sent prior to the events.

The events

Each Benefit Coordinators’ Academy began at 8:30 a.m. with a complimentary hot breakfast with the official program beginning at 9:15 and concluding at 12:30. The program included:

  • Introduction of Team MSRP members and explanation of their roles
  • Overview of MSRP plans and why they can have a profound impact on employees’ financial readiness
  • MSRP education offerings broken down by early‐, mid‐, and late‐career employees
  • Role‐play between Team MSRP and Benefit Coordinators
  • “401k Feud” game based on “Family Feud”
  • “What you can do to help” asking Benefit Coordinators to:
    • Schedule on‐site education workshops/visits
    • Participate in the Step‐by‐Step enrollment process
materials distributed at the events Materials distributed during the events.
Video promoting the launch of a new enrollment process

Follow up

  1. Benefit Coordinators left the Academy with a tote bag full of supporting materials including:
    • A wire‐bound description of resources available through the website and a listing of available workshops
    • A Spectrum of investment options to help participants diversify and choose funds
    • The Basics enrollment kit
    • A Step‐by‐Step enrollment form with Step‐by‐Step booklet
  2. MSRP updated the Benefit Coordinators’ section of their website on to include a copy of the slide deck from the Benefit Coordinators’ Academy and a 2‐minute video on the Step‐by‐Step Enrollment process.
  3. An online survey was emailed to each Benefit Coordinator on the mail list
  4. Retirement Specialists visited each Benefit Coordinator to go over the Step‐by‐Step enrollment process:
    • Ask all new employees to fill in the contact information on the form regardless of whether or not they’re ready to join the plan
    • Provide new employees with the Step‐by‐Step welcome booklet
    • Fax completed forms to MSRP office

Each Retirement Specialist left behind a supply of welcome booklets, a fax cover sheet with the agency number and work address already filled in for Step‐by‐Step forms and a Team MSRP Contacts flier developed especially for Benefit Coordinators.


This campaign resulted in a NAGDCA (National Association of Governmental Defined Contribution Administrators) Leadership Award.

  • Nearly half, 126 of the 316 Benefit Coordinators across the state attended an event.
  • 88% of survey respondents indicated they learned useful information to use in their job
  • 71% scheduled a workshop or site visit
  • 88% indicated they understand their role in the new enrollment process
  • New plan enrollments increased by 43% over the previous quarter