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How SBST Helps Promote TSP Participation

How SBST Helps Promote TSP Participation

The annual report of the federal government’s Social & Behavioral Sciences Team (SBST) shows how they have been helping federal agencies prod people into the right direction. One good example is about the DOD and SBST’s email campaign to increase participation in the Thrift Savings Plan.

The email campaign sent approximately 720,000 unenrolled Service members one of nine email variants. The emails were designed using behavioral insights, notifying recipients of the opportunity to participate in TSP and about tsp withdrawal form

The results? Compared to no message, the most effective message nearly doubled the rate at which Service members signed up for Thrift Savings Plan. Emails informed by behavioral insights led to roughly 4,930 new enrollments and $1.3 million in savings in just the first month after the emails were sent.

After seeing how successful SBST is in motivating federal employees, DOD is now scaling up this intervention by sending periodic emails informed by behavioral insights to Service members about the benefits of TSP.

SBST and DOD Yes or No Thrift Savings Plan Pilot

Another thing they tried out is a pilot program that prompted service-members to make a “Yes” or “No” choice about whether to contribute to TSP during an orientation briefing upon their arrival at a new military base.

The outcome? More service-members enrolled in TSP during the prompted choice pilot: 8.7 percent of non-enrolled service-members, compared to 2.9 percent on average at three comparison bases, and 4.3 percent during comparison time periods at the pilot base.

SBST and DOD Roth TSP Reenrollment Campaign

Changes in the military’s retirement savings plans required nearly 140,000 service-members to re-enroll in their Roth TSP in order to continue making contributions.

SBST and DOD redesigned an email that alerted service-members of the requirement to re-enroll. This redesigned email led 22 percent more service-members to re-enroll in TSP within a week—3,770 more re-enrollments than among those who were sent a standard message.

As a result, DOD has scaled up the successful messaging in subsequent outreach reminding service-members to re-enroll in TSP.