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Employers want ability to integrate benefits technology with other HR functions
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Price is not the primary driver for large employers that are choosing among benefits administration technology platforms. Ease of use for benefits administrators and employees and the ability to integrate benefits technology with HR information systems were higher priorities than cost for HR respondents at large companies, a national survey shows.
HR Technology & Benefits Administration Survey was conducted during June and July 2017 by Chicago-based benefits IT advisory firm Pacific Resources, which does not own or have a financial interest in any benefits administration technology platform. Respondents were senior HR or benefits executives with decision-making authority from 91 organizations across a range of industries, with an average size of 20,000 or more employees. The findings were published in December.
"Although employers still struggle to find the right technology partners, they are gaining more clarity on what they want from HR technology administration solutions and the vendors that deliver them," said Paul Rogers, president and chief operating officer of Pacific Resources.
Among the key findings from the survey:
"Employers want a more holistic approach to strategic benefits delivery," said Sean Clem, vice president of technology, marketplace and engagement solutions at Pacific Resources. "They want to integrate the right products, user-friendly technology and clear communications so they can offer the right benefits to employees and their families."
[SHRM members-only toolkit:
Introduction to the Discipline of Human Resources Technology]
A User-Friendly Experience
Most employees now have access to a self-service pay and benefits online portal, and more than 12 percent prefer to access it through their smartphones rather than a computer, according to the American Payroll Association's 2017
Getting Paid In America survey.
If an employer is using a benefits administration platform, "it's important to provide guided selection that helps [employees] to make benefit choices" through interactive features that ask questions and, based on the employee's responses, suggest appropriate options, said Meredith Ryan-Reid, senior vice president in insurance provider MetLife's group benefits division in New York City. "We used to hear, 'What am I obligated to do?' That has evolved into, 'How do we make this fun and interesting for people, how do we get their attention?' "
"It's becoming more common for people to use their smartphones to shop for cars, do their taxes and even apply for mortgages," said Logan Butler, a Charleston, S.C.-based benefits content specialist at Benefitfocus, a benefits management IT firm. "If your employees can use their mobile devices for those traditionally complex processes, wouldn't it make sense for them to be able to use them to enroll in their benefits?"
Related SHRM Articles:
Private Exchanges Evolve with Demand,
SHRM Online Benefits, November 2017
How to Humanize Benefits Communications with Technology,
SHRM Online Benefits, October 2017
Transparency, Decision Support Are Next Wave in Benefits Self-Service,
SHRM Online Benefits, August 2016
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