It’s easy to get caught up wanting to deliver a sophisticated platform to engage your workforce. Many benefits technology solutions promise to make employees smarter consumers of health care through slick recommendation engines, bots, and avatars delivered on smart phones.
I advise you to keep these three things in mind when you evaluate benefits technology:
1. Technology Won’t Solve Your Millennial Dilemma
Right now Millenials make up the largest portion of the workforce. HR professionals are scrambling to figure out how to best communicate and educate them about benefits. The fact is Millennials rely heavily on their parents — not technology — to make insurance decisions. When the Affordable Care Act changed the benefits landscape by allowing kids to stay on their parents’ plan until age 26, it meant that these new workers didn’t have to take an active role in managing their benefits. They just deferred to their parents. HR needs to figure out how to appropriately involve parents in the benefits decision-making process, while ensuring they meet Millennial’s growing demand for non-traditional benefits. Some solutions may include call center support where questions can be answered prior to enrollment.
2. Technology Is Necessary to Reduce Compliance Risk
Labor laws are complex and fluid. The future of ACA and its unpopular reporting requirements are unclear. I believe what is clear is that federal, state and local compliance requirements will continue to be a burden and risk for HR. Compliance falls on HR shoulders and the importance of well-kept records is crucial to avoiding fines and penalties. I advise beginning by automating processes that are currently manual and present the highest risk to your organization. If you continue to rely on manual processes for compliance, the odds of success are not in your favor.
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3. Technology Is Not a Strategy
Employers will waste a lot of money on benefits technology if they don’t know what they want to do with it. Develop a clear strategy and roadmap first — then consider how technology can enable your strategy. Determine your cost management and employee engagement goals and then figure out how benefits technology can help drive down administrative cost, create enrollment efficiencies and enhance communication and reporting.
This piece was originally published at the SHRM blog here. Its author, Linda Keller, is National COO, Employee Benefits Practice Leader for Hub International.