Companies Aim to Transform HR Delivery Strategy

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<p><strong>Washington, D.C. &mdash; June 27</strong><br />As companies change benefit and compensation plans, they also are transforming the way they administer and communicate these programs, with an emphasis on more fully engaging employees, according to a new survey by Watson Wyatt Worldwide, a global consulting firm.</p><p>The 2007 HR Technology Trends survey of 182 companies found that one in five expects to change its HR delivery structure in the coming year. </p><p>Among the most prominent changes companies expect to make in the next two years are putting in place a health care portal that provides employees with health improvement information (73 percent) and offering total compensation information to employees via the Web (65 percent). </p><p>In addition, one in four companies is planning to change the way its traditional defined benefit pension is administered and delivered, often to coincide with a broader pension plan redesign.<br /><br />&ldquo;Compensation and benefits continue to become more complicated at most companies,&rdquo; said Richard Hubbard, director of Watson Wyatt&rsquo;s U.S. technology and administration solutions practice. &ldquo;With the variety of health plan choices and the number of changes in the pension arena, employees constantly hunger for more information. As a result, there&rsquo;s a growing demand to put data at employees&rsquo; fingertips through Web-based tools.&rdquo;<br /><br />In some HR programs, most transactions already are occurring over the Web. </p><p>Forty-six percent of companies report that all benefits enrollment takes place via the Web, and 27 percent say all notification of life events, such as the addition of a dependent, happens online. </p><p>Transactions related to compensation and payroll decisions, promotion and transfers and retirement still tend to occur the old-fashioned way, however &mdash; fewer than one in five companies reports that all transactions in those programs take place via the Web.<br /><br />One area where this lag in Web-based administration is of particular concern to companies is talent management.&nbsp; </p><p>In these programs, which typically include performance management, workforce planning and succession planning, most transactions are still done via paper. </p><p>Companies report being less satisfied with HR delivery for talent management than with retirement or health and welfare administration. </p><p>Twenty-one percent of companies are somewhat or very dissatisfied with the quality of talent management service provided, versus 10 percent in the health and welfare area and 6 percent in defined benefit administration.&nbsp; </p><p>Many companies are looking to add technology solutions to their talent management programs, especially for succession planning, where more than 30 percent plan to adopt technology solutions in the next two years.<br /><br />&ldquo;While companies have made considerable progress in harnessing technology in the last few years, there are still plenty of areas where they haven&rsquo;t maximized their use of the Web,&rdquo; Hubbard said. &ldquo;Many feel they haven&rsquo;t appropriately leveraged the technology they have, that they&rsquo;re not achieving service improvements. Thinking more strategically about their goals and putting the right internal processes in place will help companies achieve better results.&rdquo;<br /><br />Other findings include:</p><ul><li>For most companies, the chief driver in deciding how to structure HR service delivery is the desire to improve internal processes (49 percent). This is followed closely by the goals of improving service (42 percent) and employee satisfaction (38 percent) and leveraging technology (34 percent). A sizable number of companies, however, are not meeting their goals. Nearly one-third say they have not achieved these desired results. <br /></li><li>Most companies (57 percent) use call centers inside or outside the company to answer employee questions. But the majority (86 percent) of employers are reluctant to use offshore call centers to handle employee queries.<br /></li><li>A significant share (39 percent) of companies has not implemented a case management system that helps them track employee calls to HR. Those that have integrated their case management with benefits administration or IT applications report high levels of satisfaction.<br /></li></ul>

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