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HR Magazine, January 2005 - What's New

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HR Magazine, January 2005Vol. 50, No. 1

FSA debit card; team evaluation tool; training programs; more.


The Hackett Group has launched a new Internet portal designed to streamline the benchmarking process for employers that are looking to improve their finance, IT and human resource management practices. The portal provides Hackett clients with improved access to best practice research and also offers enhanced benchmark project management and online inquiry services. The benchmarks provided through the portal allow users to compare themselves to world-class performers and identify specific performance improvement opportunities. The benchmarks also offer detailed assessments of how well businesses are using their management practices to increase efficiency, enhance strategic effectiveness and improve return on investments.

Health Care

First Health Inc. has developed and released the First Health First Dollar$ debit card, which is designed to make employee flexible spending accounts (FSAs) more accessible and easier to use. The new debit card can provide participants with instant access to FSA funds for medical and dependent care expenses and is designed to help eliminate red tape and extra costs associated with filing, tracking and reimbursing FSA claims. Members of participating health plans can use the First Health debit card just like a credit card to pay for health care services. Participants can use the card at most health care providers to pay for any health expenses eligible for reimbursements from FSAs, such as insurance co-pays, prescription drugs or over-the-counter medications. All approved expenses are deducted automatically from the individual participant’s spending account, which provides a more streamlined way for participants to use their tax-deferred money for medical and dependent care.

A new software tool from Express Scripts Inc. is designed to help sponsors of health care plans project annual expenses and plan for added benefits costs. By using RxPredict, employers and plan sponsors can estimate medical costs for plan participants and still comply with the privacy requirements of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. RxPredict is designed to deliver accurate cost estimates by integrating data from medical and pharmacy claims at a fraction of the cost of similar cost projection software. After analyzing a participant’s spending pattern for the previous year by compiling both medical and pharmacy benefits claims, RxPredict can help estimate the total health care costs of plan participants. This allows plan sponsors to plan and provide the most appropriate services and support to help plan participants better manage their health care treatment.

HR Information Systems

Workstream Inc. has launched a new online HR management tool, the Work-stream TalentCenter. The TalentCenter is an integrated Internet-based software solution that is designed to help employers manage all of their human capital needs. The TalentCenter in-cludes software applications and services that include vital HR functions, such as recruitment, performance management, compensation and employee awards. The web-based software means that the information technology infrastructure is provided and maintained by Workstream’s data services. The new TalentCenter services offer employers the flexibility to start small and grow over time or deploy entire HR management solutions immediately.

Performance Management

SHL Inc. has developed and released a new team evaluation and performance management tool called the Team Impact Report. The new team assessments are designed to help HR professionals and line managers develop stronger and more effective work teams. The computer-based tool can identify team strengths and development needs and can chart an effective course to enhanced team performance. Team Impact Reports also are designed to quickly and effectively identify individuals who have the potential to enhance overall team performance and then evaluate their impact on team performance.

Halogen Software Inc. has announced the launch of Halogen eAppraisal Healthcare version 6.0, its automated employee performance appraisal tool for employers in the health care industry. Halogen eAppraisal Healthcare is designed to streamline employee performance management in a health care environment and also accommodate professional accreditation requirements. The new software package features a medically based competency library with more than 1,100 technical and job-related health care terms, which can help to simplify an employer’s performance appraisal procedures.

Retirement Benefits

American Express Financial Advisors has announced the launch of the American Express Individual(k), a 401(k)-based plan designed to provide self-employed professionals with more flexible investment choices and increased contribution limits to help them save more effectively for retirement. The American Express Individual(k) is being offered to address the increasingly complex and urgent retirement savings needs of a vast and growing number of independent and contract workers, such as entrepreneurs and consultants. The American Express Individual(k) is designed to complement American Express’ 401(k) retirement benefits for medium- and large-sized company plans and to create a full range of retirement solutions for all workers and business professionals.


A new and potentially revolutionary hiring and recruitment tool called zensuite is now available from zenhire, a division of HR Integrated Inc. The new software package is designed to integrate and automate recruiting and staffing functions without changing an organization’s unique hiring processes. New applicant assessment and search technology included in zensuite can automatically scan practically every computer-based document for relevance to job qualifications. The new technology can reduce the workloads of HR professionals and corporate recruiters by improving the screening of candidates and thereby dramatically de-creasing the number of unqualified applicants. The software also is designed to improve applicant tracking and automate other hiring processes such as interview scheduling.

HRsmart Inc. has announced the release of its new applicant tracking software tool, ATS Enterprise. The software combines all of HRsmart’s applicant tracking, employee referral and vendor management solutions into a single streamlined package. The software also includes additional features designed to support an employer’s recruitment and hiring processes, such as contract management, em-ployee orientation and telephone voice response systems.

Training And Development

Resource Bridge LLC has partnered with Improved Performance Group to create a new series of sales, leadership and customer service training programs. This series of programs offers employers innovative, interactive modular and online training tools designed to improve employee skills in both sales and customer service. Employers of all sizes can use this new training series as stand-alone sessions or as a comprehensive professional development program.

Workplace Management

InfoTronics Inc. has launched a new “incidents and points” module for its Attendance Enterprise time-and-attendance software package. This new module gives employers a new tool for fair and accurate enforcement of absence and time-off policies with a points-based system for unexcused absences, late arrivals and unscheduled leave. The new module allows users to input data via any online connection and from touch-tone telephones. The software also offers a flexible interface to existing payroll programs. A web-enabled employee self-service function allows employees to enter and review their time-and-attendance information online.

PayMaxx Inc. has announced the launch of PayLoad ASP, a new web-based payroll tool for medium-sized businesses with 150 to 2,000 employees. PayLoad ASP provides users access to PayMaxx’s popular payroll software packages via the Internet rather than installing them directly onto an employer’s computer system. Employers with Payload ASP can also provide access to their payroll system to multiple users from various locations, 24 hours a day and seven days a week. This new software is designed to give employers a comprehensive payroll tool without the technology maintenance and support requirements of in-house computer-based payroll systems.

Product manufacturers and developers provide information for What’s New. Inclusion in this sample of products does not necessarily imply endorsement by SHRM or HR Magazine.

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