ING knows people of all ages are now virtually tethered to their smartphones and tablet PCs, so it’s rolling out a new program to help employees instantly enroll in their employers’ retirement plans.

Its iEnroll program, which is an expansion of an initiative that debuted in the Northeast U.S. during the past six months, is designed to make it faster and easier for employees to enroll in workplace retirement programs via the mobile devices they hold so dear.

Users can access ING’s online enrollment center through a tablet made available by an onsite ING enrollment specialist or through their own mobile device, ING officials said, and is now available to all ING corporate markets customers.

“One of the biggest challenges our industry faces is getting individuals to take an important first step by joining their employer-sponsored retirement plan,” Rick Mason, president of corporate markets for ING U.S. Retirement, said in a statement.

“We’re extremely excited with the initial results from our new program, especially with small employers where plan participation rates are typically lower,” he added.

According to industry statistics provided by ING, the average participation rate in a 401(k) plan was 82.3% at the end of 2009. But for those who attended an ING iEnroll meeting, 97% enrolled or re-enrolled in their company's plan using a tablet during the session.

Earlier this week, a study by Principal Financial Group found that retirement plans with automatic enrollment and automatic escalation options had an average participation rate of 78%, 19 percentage points higher than those that did not.

During the interactive ING sessions, enrollment and retirement specialists educate participants on the benefits of saving as well as the investment options available in their retirement plan. At the conclusion of each session, these individuals are then able to enroll instantly with access to ING’s online enrollment center through a tablet or their own mobile device.

“By personalizing the enrollment experience and offering employees another method to engage with their plan, we are making it easier to take advantage of these important retirement benefits in a way that is most effective for them,” Mason said.