People Processes: Investing in Benefits Technology, Professionals can’t unplug

Employers found to be accelerating adoption of benefits technology — SURVEY RESULTS

Since 2012, investors have steered more than $14 billion into human capital management (HCM) software and platforms. A new study by The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America® (Guardian) confirms that human resources technology is top of mind for many employers seeking greater efficiencies and workforce engagement. The study reveals most employers have increased their spending on benefits-related technology in the past five years, with approximately 50 percent expecting further increases in the next three years. The latest set of findings come from The Fifth Annual Guardian Workplace Benefits StudySM, Game-Changer: The Digitalization of Employee Benefits Delivery.

Workplace demographic shifts, particularly millennials, whose share of the workforce continues to expand, are influencing how employers manage human resources and employee benefit functions. Millennials prefer a more intuitive, personalized and engaging benefits experience from their companies. The study finds employers are beginning to improve the end-to-end user experience with 75 percent focused on improving effectiveness of self-service platforms, compared to 61 percent in 2014. When asked about helping employees make better benefits solutions, 73 percent of employers said this was “highly important” compared to 47 percent in 2014.

“Our lives increasingly revolve around new technologies and digitalization, and this study confirms that benefits technology is reshaping how employers think about their benefits strategy,” said Marc Costantini, executive vice president, Commercial and Government Markets, at Guardian. “A multi-generational workforce along with mounting pressures on employers to contain costs, simplify their benefits, and stay compliant are prompting employers to make this a priority.”

Benefits technology is a strategic imperative. C-suite executives are also turning their focus on digital HCM functions for cost-savings and more efficient strategies. More than 40 percent of all employers say that expanding their use of technology will be among their top benefit strategies in the next five years.

The rise of SaaS models has enabled businesses of all sizes to gain more access to affordable cloud-based applications for handling HCM. The study finds one-third of smaller businesses (i.e. 5 to 24 employees) plan to introduce changes by 2020.

Employers need help navigating their options. The study also reinforced that most employers need expert advice when it comes to benefits technology options. The wide range of selections creates confusion about which vendor to go with and what capabilities will best fit their needs. This was prevalent among small companies (5 to 24 employees) with nearly 40 percent saying that developing a benefits technology strategy is a significant challenge. However, for employers who use brokers, two in five indicate they have not spoken to a broker about their benefit technology needs.

Other key findings in the study include:

  • Three in four millennials wish it were easier to learn about and access their workplace benefits;
  • Forty two percent of young millennials use artificial intelligence to find answers for benefits of health-related questions compared to 26 percent of baby boomers;
  • Fifty eight percent of employers say managing their employee benefits has become increasingly complex (up from 52 percent in 2015); and
  • Sixty seven percent of highly digital employers said enrolling employees is “very efficient” compared to 44 percent of paper-based employers.

Source: The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America.

Research shows increasing number of professionals can’t unplug on vacation — SURVEY RESULTS

According to a new survey from Accountemps, 44 percent of employees typically don’t check in at all with the office while on vacation, but the majority will. In fact, 70 percent of respondents ages 18 to 34 will maintain some contact with work compared to only 39 percent of those ages 55 and older.

Professionals plan to take an average of nine vacation days this summer, but the frequency of office check-ins varies by market. Here are highlights among the 28 cities included in the poll:

  • Never out of office: Nashville, Dallas and Los Angeles lead in terms of the number of workers who plan to take no summer vacation.
  • Checking in constantly: Employees in New York, Charlotte, Los Angeles, Miami and Seattle are most likely to connect with the office at least several times a week.
  • Leaving town and never looking back: Professionals in Cleveland, Minneapolis, Denver, Philadelphia and Salt Lake City are best at disconnecting from work while out of office.

Findings from similar surveys show employees are more connected to the office than ever: In 2016, a majority of workers (59 percent) said they never check in while on vacation; that number fell to 47 percent in 2017 and 44 percent this year.

Michael Steinitz, executive director for Accountemps, gives insight into the trend. “Employees need time away from work to rest, relax and recharge. Yet for an increasing number of people, totally disconnecting from the office can have the reverse effect and add stress,” he said. “Some workers enjoy greater peace of mind when they allow themselves to check in a few times — but not much more than that — while on vacation. Doing so confirms that all is well, which allows them to stop worrying and focus on relaxing instead.”

Source: Accountemps.

About the author, Rhamy

Rhamy grew up watching and working with his mother and grandmother in the seniors insurance market. This familiarity with the struggles faced by people trying to navigate the incredibly complicated and heavily regulated healthcare market led him to start Poplar Financial while working on his degree at the University of Memphis. After completing his MBA and Bachelors in Finance and Economics, Rhamy guided Poplar Financial through the disruptive opportunity that is the Affordable Care Act. Since then Poplar Financial has received numerous awards from major insurance carriers, and has completed its fourth year in a row of doubling in size. Now his team focuses on the processes around human resources, and specializes in providing companies with between 20 and 1000 employees with the payroll, benefits, and HR needs.

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