Well, I suppose they work a little. But not much. At least that is my opinion – and I do them – and have been working in employer sponsored plans for almost 20 years now! Employees can attend these and get something out of them, however they do not have nearly the same impact as 1 on 1 guidance. Here is my list of reasons why they are far less effective than personal assistance:
1) What if you are not available the day or time of the presentation? You’re out of luck!
2) What if you misunderstood what the content would be based upon the title or even the description? Then you either sit through the whole thing waiting for it to be relevant to you or figure out a way to walk out?
3) Some of them are way too long! Stop them at about 20, maybe 25 minutes.
4) Sometimes they cover too much information when participants can only comprehend one or two concepts in a sitting.
5) Attendees have entirely different levels of understanding of the topics. Some people immediately realize that they know the stuff already and others are lost after the first 5 minutes.
6) Some attendees are afraid to ask questions – they do not want to look dumb.
7) Other attendees ask questions specific to their situation – which is often times unique and does not really apply to anyone else.
8) Some firms use them as a means to sell products – seminar selling as it is know in the industry. Be wary of the content depending upon how your service provider works with the employees.
9) Some of the advisors or consultants that do these are just not good presenters – it can get embarrassing.
10) You simply may not be ready when your employer offers the presentation – it is not a priority. You have other things going on in your life that you are involved in and cannot devote the energy to learning more about your financial future.
These are all reasons why 1 on 1 education is so much better than company-wide presentations. A 1 on 1 approach let’s employees learn what is important to them, at their own pace, when they are ready, and on their own terms. Of course, it is easier for many advisors to do a 1 hour presentation periodically and call it a communication program. But the issue is what is best for your employees – not your advisory or consultant firm!