ASRS Using Facebook to Get News to Members
The Arizona State Retirement System is promoting two online tools it has been using to stay in touch with members, whether they're still working or already are retired â€“ a bill tracker and a Facebook page.
"Like most, our primary goals for communications have been to move away from one-on-one types of communications to electronic communications," said Dave Cannella, the Arizona State Retirement System communications manager. "It's a more proactive way of reaching out to our members."
Both the Facebook page and the ASRS Bill Tracker, an online service that tracks legislation that could impact the retirement system and its members, are intended to provide state employees, such as those at the University of Arizona enrolled in the ASRS, with important and timely information about pre- and post-retirement services.
Cannella noted that while ASRS maintains an active website â€“ with news plus information on benefits, meetings and educational programming plus other topics of interest for for state employees before and during retirement â€“ digital communications enable immediate contact and encourage connections.
The Facebook page is updated regularly; the Bill Tracker is updated daily.
"We have 500,000 members and some people are very active and attend our board meetings and, for others, we just hear from them once in a while," Cannella said. "But what's really great about Facebook and social media is that we find that people are passing along our information. So more people are seeing our information, and that really is a positive benefit."
It is crucial that members receive timely information, and also engage with the ASRS on a regular basis, Cannella said. At a minimum, active, inactive and retired members should register via the ASRS site, but Cannella and his colleagues also hope that people will become more knowledgeable about resources available to them well before retiring.
Consider the Bill Tracker, which tracks legislation that could affect current employees enrolled in the ASRS.
ASRS employees track legislation and then provide details on the ASRS website about how the legislation could affect the retirement system. For example, certain bills may pertain to contribution rates, payment of the health benefit supplement, the amount of a refund a member could receive upon drawing funds and a range of procedures.
In addition to the Bill Tracker, ASRS releases a legislative report at the end of each session.
"If you are a member of the Arizona State Retirement System, you see a chunk of your paycheck deducted every time â€“ 11.14 percent, which is put into the retirement account," Cannella said.
"The beauty of the account is members do not have to worry about it, but we want people to know along the way that there are things they can be doing to make sure that their retirement is more secure," he said, emphasizing that members should consider attending ASRS meetings, engage in educational programs and follow system information online and via its newsletter.
"It may be harder for someone in their 20s or 30s to think about us," Cannella said. "We're trying to develop a strategy for contacting members throughout their careers to let them know what is available so that they are better prepared when they are closer to retirement."