Cost savings top driver for benefits technology use: report

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The top drivers for using benefits technology include reducing costs (36%), better control or management of benefits data (35%), improving benefits communications (29%) and providing a better experience for employees (27%), according to new research by the business research organization LIMRA.

“. . . One of the biggest things is to make their lives easier; it reduces staff time and resources that are necessary to administer benefits from the employer’s perspective,” says Kimberly Landry, assistant research director for workplace benefits and author of the report.

According to the research, which surveyed more than 1,400 employers in the U.S., the most popular use of technology in human resources functions is payroll administration (70%). However, respondents also use technology for their benefits enrolment (47%), retirement benefits administration (30%) and absence management tracking (21%).

“With this study, we really wanted to get a broad picture of all of the different HR-related functions companies might have technology for and then see how they fit together,” says Landry. “That’s why we included payroll and that was obviously the highest — and also the only kind of technology that was very prevalent even among the small business community.

“An interesting side note on that is, when you ask companies that don’t have technology for their benefits where they want to get it from, payroll providers are a top source that they name.”

Three-quarters (75%) of respondents that use benefits technology said they’re satisfied. However, employers are more satisfied (81%) with their benefits enrolment or administration technology if it’s able to handle all of their benefits on one platform. Additionally, satisfaction seems to increase as companies add more benefits technology functions, including enrolment, administration and communication.

However, 25% of employers are still interested in switching to a new benefits platform. They would be most likely to switch to obtain a better price (37%) or improved data security (22%) and to have a system that handles all benefits (17%).

Just 22% of respondents take advantage of technology for benefits education and communication. Despite this, respondents believe it’s important the benefits platform includes employee communication or education (65%), that it provides holistic communication of all benefits (59%) and that it be able to customize communications to different employee populations (58%).

One of the big opportunities for benefits technology, according to Landry, is the ability to integrate more decision-support tools for employees. “We’ve seen from a lot of our research that employees realize they’re kind of confused, they don’t really understand benefits all that well, . . . they really want people to tell them what to do, what they should select,” she says.

“. . .Whether it’s cost comparisons or cost estimators — there are a lot more advanced tools now that companies are developing that ask employees a series of questions about their life situation, financial stability and their level of risk-taking, which helps make recommendations for them, based on that data.”

Transcontinental Media G.P.