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Becoming a Best-in-Class Employer

Managing broker relationships in the workplace.

Working with an HR software and services partner like eBenefits can save your company time and money. It can also help your employees make the benefit choices that are right for them.

To make their benefits easier to manage, many companies have pared back their insurance offerings. They have also opted to offer high-deductible health plans to offset their premium overheads. But these changes have left employers with fewer—or costlier—insurance and benefit options that may not meet their employees’ needs.

Research shows that during the past five years, more than 50% of companies’ benefit administration costs increased. This happened even though 60% of those companies reported flat or declining enrollment. As the average company has been pushed to consolidate plan offerings, the Best-in-Class are reversing the trend.

As the table below shows, the cost of insurance and internal management protocols governing plan eligibility and enrollment continue to be the top pressure points facing organizations today. New to the picture, however, are federal and state changes to insurance plans and products, including benefits, health savings accounts, and retirement plans.

Top challenges in hard benefits administration

Best-in-Class companies are seeking and implementing sophisticated, automated capabilities that simplify, integrate, and centralize benefit administration. What else is to be learned from how the Best-in-Class are operating?

  • About 40% of Best-in-Class companies are offering five or more benefit plans, encompassing a broad range of insurance coverage options.
  • The Best-in-Class are also 17% more likely than All Others to see employee enrollment rates increase and 34% more likely than all others to see cost of benefits administration decrease.
  • Best-in-Class companies are 11% more likely than All Others to provide a digital interface that employees use for benefit plan selection, automating benefits negotiations. A digital approach offers more transparency, creates a better user experience, and supports compliance management.
  • 76% of Best-in-Class companies centralize benefits administration on a common platform with a singular user interface. A digital platform can host a wide variety of plans and allow employees to sift through their options, compare differences, and find the coverage best suited for them.
  • The same 76% of Best-in-Class companies provide self-service to employees and managers for ease of access in enrollment, documentation review, and enrollment checks. Ideally, one that provides a unified user experience (UX) for enrollment and plan management.
  • Best-in-Class companies are 40% more likely to find that employee mobile access and mobile-enabled self-service reduce the amount of time employees need to process documentation across a wide variety of plans to enroll for their chosen coverage.
  • The Best-in-Class are 44% more likely than All Others to find that mobile access and self-service reduce the time needed to promote and manage plan enrollment.
  • Best-in-Class are 16% more likely than All Others to find that automated enrollment facilitated through self-service reduces the time that employees spend on plan selection.

Regardless of size or industry, all clients have one common desire: an HR platform that will support their dynamic strategic and tactical needs so they, too, can become Best-in-Class.

When looking for an HR technology partner, be sure they offer the following, at minimum:

  • Continuous innovation and biweekly agile development cycles
  • Modular business architecture and non-monolithic technology platform
  • Ability to federate with existing services
  • Highly scalable, reliable, usable, and reportable platform
  • Quality-built, Six Sigma methodology
  • Use of artificial intelligence, machine learning, and voice recognition
  • Decision support tools
  • Unmatched customer support

*Aberdeen tabulates and weights Key Performance Indicators to determine Best-in-Class companies. Best-in-Class companies are those that fall into the top 20% of performers; the remaining 80% make up All Other companies.

**This chart indicates issues that Best-in-Class companies view as most pressing or the ones to which they are more likely than All Others to respond. When looking at a general snapshot of the market, the Best-in-Class are getting things right not just because of the technologies they use, but also because of the strategic pressures they’ve identified as most pressing. Viewed this way, the chart is comparative across the pressures, not per each pressure individually.

Source: Benefits Administration: Managing the Broker Relationship, Aberdeen Group, July 2017