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With an award-winning online 401(k) quiz, Synopsys uses gamification to drive employee engagement in retirement readiness.

Synopsys is a high-tech company focused on silicon chip design, verification, IP integration, and application security testing. Over the last 30-plus years, its business has evolved from silicon to software design, which, in turn, has changed its employee demographics. Historically, the company attracted mid-career hires, but as its business has evolved, its workforce demographics have also expanded to include recent college grads who want to pursue software design. 

We’ve been honored to partner with Synopsys since 2014 to help the company keep employees well informed about and interested in their benefits, and to tackle key challenges. When the team noticed that recent acquisitions were shifting the demographics of the company’s U.S. workforce, they doubled down on efforts to engage employees around saving, planning, and investing for retirement. Not only did they seek to teach early-career employees about the basics of their 401(k) plan, but they also wanted to highlight a few of the more challenging topics that could help more savvy investors build their savings, such as in-plan Roth conversions and their after-tax implications. While much of this information was already on the company’s benefits website, the team wanted to pique interest in a fun and nontraditional way—a challenge we couldn’t resist!

50% Increase in 401(k) savings rates
10,950 Employees worldwide
$1.2Billion Annual revenue
The 8-question quiz was easy to follow and educational … [the] Synopsys population will be in a better situation going forward due to Kerstin’s [Aiello, Synopsys U.S. Benefits Manager] efforts and partnership with Segal Benz.
Program Judge 2018 Excellence and Innovation Awards

Upleveling on Retirement Readiness


Headquartered in Silicon Valley, Synopsys understands that to attract and retain top talent in today’s market, it’s important to be open to new ideas and think outside the box. That philosophy drives the company’s interest in experimenting with new media formats. It also supported our design of a brief, 8-question interactive quiz that was centered around the company’s 401(k) plan and tailored for the Synopsys workforce: mostly male, engineering-focused employees who revel in challenges that test their knowledge.

From the framing of the questions and copywriting to the illustrations, the quiz design was grounded in behavioral science, specifically gamification. Its objective? To drive higher engagement with the 401(k) plan. We anticipated that adding game design elements, such as earning a score on each question answered correctly, would motivate and trigger participation. Employees were encouraged to take the quiz within a three-week period. When they did, they were entered into a raffle for a chance to win several modest prizes.


A Giant Step for Engagement

More than 25% of Synopsys U.S. employees participated in the challenge by taking the quiz—a huge increase in engagement over previous campaigns promoting the company’s financial benefits. From the launch of the quiz through the following month, savings rates increased by 50%. Employees also revisited how they were investing. Fund exchanges increased 175% and asset allocation changes increased 190%.

The quiz also drove increased traffic to their recordkeeper’s website. Compared to a similar time frame earlier in the year, unique visitors increased 13%, visits increased 18%, and pageviews increased 18%. Importantly, many Synopsys employees boosted their deferral rates (compared to the previous period).


The Synopsys 401(k) Quiz received the 2018 Excellence and Innovation Award from Pension & Investments and the Defined Contribution Institutional Investment Association. The award recognizes DC plan executives and employers for well-executed, creative, and unusual projects that ensure participants have adequate retirement income.