Getting Started with Betterment at Work

Welcome! Here’s your step-by-step guide to getting your 401(k) up and running.

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You’ve done the due diligence. You’ve picked us as your 401(k) plan provider. You’ve signed a services agreement.

Now what?

Before we share the steps needed on your part to get your plan up and running, here’s another heartfelt thank you from us to you. Sponsoring a 401(k) plan is a big commitment on your part—the fiduciary responsibilities alone make it one. You’ve placed your trust in us as your plan provider, and we don’t take that lightly. It’s why we stay by your side every step of the way.

Speaking of those steps, here are the first ones you’ll take after signing a services agreement:

Step 1: Complete a questionnaire

One business day after signing a services agreement, you’ll receive an email with a link to a questionnaire that confirms some basic information about your organization and sets up your plan in our system. This questionnaire can only be sent to one person at your organization, typically the person who’s been in contact with our Sales team.

Step 2: Log in to your plan sponsor dashboard

After completing the questionnaire, you’ll receive an email with a personalized link to your Betterment at Work plan sponsor dashboard, your home for ongoing plan management. After logging in, you’ll see a series of onboarding tasks to complete so we can finish setting up your organization’s plan. Let’s break down some of these tasks below.

Step 3: Review and acknowledge the Investment Policy Statement (IPS)

This outlines our general investing rules and can be found in your onboarding hub.

Step 4: Purchase a fidelity bond

Before your first payroll with Betterment at Work, you’ll need to purchase a fidelity bond. This is a form of insurance required of 401(k) plans that protects against acts of fraud or dishonesty. The bond must come from an insurance company certified by the Department of Treasury.

While you’re completing steps 1-4, by the way, we’ll be simultaneously drafting your plan document and disclosure notices.

Step 5: Review and sign your plan document

Once your plan document is ready, you’ll receive an email to review and sign it. After you’ve signed the plan document, we’ll build out your plan on our platform. This can take up to two weeks to get all the details just right.

Step 6: Tell your team about their new 401(k) provider!

Right after you sign your plan document is a great time to let your team know about your company’s new 401(k) provider: Betterment! This gives employees ample time to get familiar with us before we email them directly with invitations to claim their accounts. It also helps ensure you give this notice the required 30 days or more before your first payroll with us.

Not sure what to say? A suggested announcement message is available in your onboarding hub, and includes a link for your employees to register for our recurring Getting Started with your Betterment 401(k) webinar as well as select articles from our employee resource hub (

Step 7: Add employees to your plan

Once your plan is built out on our platform, the party really gets started. How employees are added to your plan depends on whether or not your payroll provider integrates with our platform:

  • If your payroll provider is integrated with our platform, we’ll automatically sync employees. You’ll need to review and confirm the list is correct at least 30 days before payroll launch.
  • If your payroll provider is *not* integrated with our platform, you’ll be asked to bulk upload a list of employees at least 30 days before payroll launch, then we’ll generate their accounts.

Once your employees’ accounts have been created, we’ll send an email to each employee’s work email inviting them to claim their account and, in the process, create a login. If an employee already has a Betterment account via one of our individual products like an IRA, the claim email will go to their personal email address. Either way, they’ll need to use the unique link in this email to access their account the first time.

Step 8: Prepare for your first payroll

Check out your onboarding task hub for details on handling your first payroll.

Step 9: Celebrate!

Congratulations on uploading your first payroll with Betterment at Work! Your employees are now taking advantage of our clean design and straightforward tools to get more out of their 401(k)s. Their accounts will be funded once the ACH deposit is confirmed, which typically takes 1–3 business days depending on your bank.

Once your onboarding process is complete, our Onboarding team will send you an email introducing you to our Plan Support team, who can help with all things related to your ongoing plan administration. To access your plan sponsor dashboard, log in here or by clicking "Log in" at the top of the page while visiting