With more than 2,000 HR benefits technology providers actively marketing their solutions to both HR and the C-suite, it’s easy to get caught up in the desire to deliver a sophisticated platform to engage your workforce. Many of these benefits technology solutions promise to make employees smarter consumers of health care through slick recommendation engines, bots, and avatars, all delivered on their iPhones.

While there’s a solution to automate just about everything, take a deep breath before you jump into the deep end of the pool. Here are three considerations for employers to keep in mind when evaluating benefits technology:     

  1. Technology won’t solve your millennial dilemma.

    Millennials currently make up the largest portion of the workforce and HR professionals are scrambling to figure out how to best communicate and educate them when it comes to their benefits. But, 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 children 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.

    It’s no surprise to HR that helicopter parenting has carried over into the workforce and it’s a trend the employee benefits industry isn’t paying attention to. HR needs to figure out how to appropriately involve parents in the benefits decision-making process while ensuring that 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.

    As a result, the only technology HR may really need to support Millennials is simple and easy online registration. Lay out the plans. Click on links. That’s it.

  2. Technology is necessary to reduce compliance risk.

    Labor laws are complex and fluid. The number of FSLA wage and overtime lawsuits hit a record high in 2015 – up 30% in the last five years. The future of ACA and its unpopular reporting requirements are unclear. What is very clear is that federal, state and local compliance requirements will continue to be a major burden and risk for HR. 

    Compliance falls squarely on HR shoulders and the importance of well-kept records is crucial to avoiding fines and penalties. Begin by automating processes that are currently manual and present the highest risk to your organization. Automating scheduling, time and attendance, and reporting is crucial to providing the documentation and defense you need and creating opportunities for strategic decision-making.

    If you continue to rely on manual processes for compliance, the odds of success are not in your favor.

  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 multi-year benefits strategy and road map first -- and then consider how benefits technology can enable your strategy. Determine your overall goals with regard to cost management and employee engagement – and then figure out how benefits technology will enable you to drive down administrative cost, create enrollment efficiencies, and enhance communication and reporting.
Contact your HUB employee benefits advisor to review your multi-year strategy and map out how technology can help you achieve your short and long-term goals.