Overcoming Objections to Using an Integrated Employee Benefits Software Solution

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The first reaction to change is often resistance. Indeed, respondents to a recent study (commissioned by AXA and conducted by SourceMedia Research/Employee Benefit News) are quick to voice their reasons for staying the course when asked about plans to make the change from stand-alone employee benefits (EB) administration systems to an integrated solution:

• “It is hard for [an integrated system] to do ‘all’ things well.”
• Providing the “training and education to employees to fully utilize the solution” might prove troublesome.
• It might be difficult to get “enhancements made that may be at the top of our list but not theirs.”
• “It's more of a 'if it's not broke, don't fix it' mentality. We have a lot of projects ongoing and are not interested in adding another.”
• “Based on our business model, it makes sense for us to maintain several systems.”
• “I like how it works now. Change is hard for me.”

With such reasons to continue business as usual, it’s not surprising that of the 400+ HR professionals that participated in the survey, more than two in five respondents express an organizational resistance to purchasing an integrated EB administration solution in the next year. As one might expect, cost issues bubble to the top as the main reason for resistance (see Figure 1).

Figure 1: Why an Organization Is Not Likely to Purchase an Integrated Employee Benefits Software Solution in the Next 12 Months

Source: SourceMedia Research/Employee Benefit News, March 2019

“Cost and other objections, however, may dissipate when employers realize that non-integrated solutions are simply not providing the efficiencies needed to succeed – and when they understand the many benefits associated with integrated alternatives,” notes Tom Flavin, Head of Distribution, AXA.

Consider the following scenarios that can lead to change:

Feel enough pain. When working with non-integrated EB solutions, employers are apt to experience gaps in communication, cumbersome workflows and less than ideal employee experiences. When these frustrations reach a bubbling point, they will be more prone to set their sights on integrated solutions.

Legacy systems, for example, can cause organizations to struggle as they try to get a five-year-old system to talk to a 10-year-old system. Often, leaders will attempt to resolve this by putting a band-aid on the communications between the two systems. And, that band-aid often involves assigning staff members to manually transfer data from one system into another, which opens up the door to human error. When organizations get into this situation with multiple systems, the band-aid approach can reach a breaking point, and decision-makers will be more likely to look for a better way.

Acknowledge they are missing out. Employers might also move beyond cost objections when they realize that they are missing opportunities by holding onto legacy stand-alone solutions. For example, they may not really be providing employees with an optimal comprehensive benefits program, as employees often struggle to take advantage of all offerings when they are administered through separate systems.

Better understand the investment. Employers may be under the impression that they will have to pay for a variety of add-on modules when purchasing an integrated system, thus making costs hard to control. Many systems offer a comprehensive array of EB administration tools without any additional costs.

Add up the cost savings. Integrated EB solutions can reduce overall costs by eliminating the need for duplicate data entry and decreasing errors. In addition, these solutions place less burden on IT staff, as they no longer have to dedicate resources to the maintenance of several systems.

Broker Tip: Talk to your clients about their software-related pain points to truly understand where redundancies and gaps exist. Make sure you understand how their current system or systems work on a day-to-day basis so you can recommend solutions that will function better for the organization and its end users: their employees.

For more information on integrated EB solutions, please visit: https://us.axa.com/employeebenefits/marketing/powerfullysimple.html

Methodology
In February and March of 2019, SourceMedia Research/Employee Benefit News conducted an online survey of 401 HR professionals. The study, commissioned by AXA, had the following requirements for participants: manager level or above; benefits technology decision-making responsibility; organization size of 10 to 500 employees; organization 2018 gross receipts of $250,000; and organization usage of at least 1 software solution for HR functions.

"AXA" is the brand name of AXA Equitable Financial Services, LLC and its family of companies, including AXA Equitable Life Insurance Company (AXA Equitable) (NY, NY); MONY Life Insurance Company of America (AZ stock company, admin. office: Jersey City, NJ) (MONY America); and AXA Distributors, LLC. All group insurance products are issued either by AXA Equitable or MONY America, which have sole responsibility for their insurance and claims-paying obligations. Some products are not available in all states.

GE-2630682 (7/19) (Exp. 7/21)

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