The Benefits of a Benefits Technology Audit

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Employers increasingly recognize the need to invest in human resources technology, such as employee benefits administration systems. According to a recent study commissioned by Equitable and conducted by Arizent Research/Employee Benefit News, many organizations are already using technology for different HR-related areas:

Figure 1: HR Functions for which a Technology Solution Is Being Used

Payroll: 88%
Employee benefits administration: 70%
Time and labor management: 65%
HR administration: 61%
Talent management: 38%
Source: Arizent Research/Employee Benefit News, March 2019

However, as they implement new technology, employers sometimes wind up spinning their wheels. “Most of the time employers fail to conduct thorough technology evaluations. They fail to document their requirements and then align them with potential vendors. Instead, they just assume that the technology vendor will offer a solution that aligns with what they are looking for. As a result, even when employers deploy more robust solutions, it still leaves them with manual processes and many functions that are not being improved by the technology,” says Jamie Hawkins, President and CEO, Benefit Technology Resources.

Sometimes employers will buy a system and forget about their business goals as they rush to get the solution up and running. “We call this implementation fatigue. Employers rush to get the system up and running and they never really go back and think about all the reasons, and the problems, they were trying to solve with the technology. So, they don’t fully implement it,” Hawkins points out.

Brokers can help employers by working with them to conduct benefits technology audits that:

Pinpoint exactly what’s needed. “An effective audit starts by documenting all processes from hire to retire—and then identifying the areas of improvement with an action item,” Hawkins says. “When conducting such audits, employers typically see a lot of pain in manual processing around worksite benefits. It’s important to determine how these pain points can be addressed by specific technology solutions.”

Solicit input from all corners. “All stakeholders need to be a part of the discovery process. If you only have the benefits team, you don't understand what finance is doing. So, you don't have a true picture of everything going on,” Hawkins says.

Compute savings. Through a technology audit, employers can determine the true value of their investments. "With an assessment, it is possible to determine that an integrated employee benefits administration system, for example, will save time in a variety of areas. It’s important to do some calculations based on salary to determine what the manual processing is actually costing the company – and what the technology could save,” Hawkins notes.

Broker Tip: Make sure your clients understand that they need to go beyond implementing technology for technology’s sake. Work with clients to conduct benefits technology audits that help them define their goals — and identify and implement the solutions that will help bring those goals to fruition.

In February and March of 2019, Arizent Research/Employee Benefit News conducted an online survey of 401 HR professionals. The study, commissioned by Equitable, 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.

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Equitable is the brand name of Equitable Holdings, Inc. and its family of companies, including Equitable Financial Life Insurance Company (Equitable Financial) (NY, NY); Equitable Financial Life Insurance Company of America (Equitable America), an AZ stock company with main administrative headquarters in Jersey City, NJ; Equitable Advisors, LLC (member FINRA, SIPC) (Equitable Financial Advisors in MI & TN); and Equitable Distributors, LLC. The obligations of Equitable Financial and Equitable America are backed solely by their claims-paying abilities. All group insurance products are issued either by Equitable Financial or Equitable America, which have sole responsibility for their insurance and claims-paying obligations. Some products are not available in all states.

GE-2737434 (9/19) (Exp. 9/21)

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