Paul Smith

Paul Smith

Chief Technology Officer

As the technology in front of us has developed, so have our expectations in the workplace. Even for those who weren’t born into it, we have all become natives in a digitally-savvy workforce. So why are employee benefits schemes – and their technology – failing to live up to their strategic objectives?

Despite companies spending a whopping one-third of their payroll budget on benefits , their expectations are dashed because the platforms they have invested in just don’t appeal to the individual problems and aspirations of their people.

We carried out a straw poll among some of our 200+ global customers and found that people access about 29 different systems at work on a daily basis. Half of these systems are in HR. That’s a lot of HR tech and, as it turns out, a lot of HR tech to go wrong…

The failure of HR technology

According to research from Deloitte:

  • 32% of HR technology projects are significantly over budget
  • 53% of projects miss deadline for implementation
  • 42% are rated not fully-successful or failed after two years

It’s a shocking indictment of some large HR technology vendors – and the reward and benefits leaders that procure them – one that is made worse when you look at the hoped-for outcomes that are shredded when these projects, like this example HCM, fails.

Difference between expected value and actual value achieved in HCM projects

What's more, businesses can see up to:

  • -57% more strategic HR function
  • -53% increased innovation
  • -50% better employee experience

Looking at this example, let’s consider what went wrong. When it comes to employee benefits technology, we know from our research that ‘lack of budget’ is the biggest challenge with benefits and rewards today. This suggests that HR leaders are forced to settle for sub-optimal technology because they lack the budget for, and the evidence to back up, a greater investment in strategic technology. What does that tech look like? Typically, it comes in one of three guises:

  • A poor process, digitised
  • The HRIS benefits platform ‘experience’
  • Out of the box SaaS

A poor process, digitised

Some technological solutions out there might fulfil the basic requirement to have a platform in place, but the experience it delivers is impersonal, clumsy and out of kilter with the rest of the workplace. They are the equivalent of internet shopping in 1996 – they frustrate, they over-complicate and, as a result, they fail. In the words of Benefex Founder and CEO, Matt Macri-Waller “If you have a poor process and you digitise it, you still have a poor process.”

The HRIS benefits platform ‘experience’

Benefits are complex. It’s easy to create an employee benefits platform that performs the functions needed, but it takes experience, expertise and technological sophistication to create one that it simple and engaging to use. That is to say, a truly exceptional benefits platform requires expertise in both benefits and technology.

Out of the box SaaS

If you have more than a 200 employees, a ‘plug and play’ benefits solution that you can turn on overnight is something of a fallacy. Technology will enable your strategy, but it won’t design it for you, it won’t broker you the best insured benefits, and it won’t (yet) deliver a human response to employee questions.

Every instance of a great benefits technology platform is underpinned by human decision-making and strategy-led configuration. In the not-too-distant future even these human interactions and decisions will likely be replaced by artificial intelligence (AI) and Robotic Process Automation (RPA), but these solutions are still far from providing the level of intelligent interaction needed to support the online employee benefits experience.

While this is a guide to benefits technology, it’s worth noting some of the human advisory services that will sit in symbiosis alongside your tech, because employee benefits is not Software-as-a-Service, it is Strategic Software-as-a-Service…

Your not-yet-automated benefits requirements:

Employee support: Ensures that HR’s time is freed up for more strategic, bigger picture initiatives, and that employees get additional expert help, beyond the platform, for more complex enquiries.

Benefits branding and design: Benefits branding experts analyse your workforce, industry and environment, and advise on the best, most effective communications for your demographic. In the future, AI-enabled technology will be able to draft concise, clear benefits communications but, for now, human copywriters and UX designers will deliver clarity, engagement and less administration for your HR team.

Broking: Your assured benefits should be sourced based on your strategic objectives. A Tier 1 broker who’s not tied to particular providers will get the best possible rates that best fit your benefits strategy in the UK and globally.

Strategic consulting: A modern benefits platform will collect and present all the data you need to make informed decisions around benefits and your broader people strategy. Experienced consultants who know the market inside-out and back-to-front will help you make decisions that lead to improved engagement.

The world of workplace technology is moving quickly. To continuously improve how people experience work, HR professionals need the reassurance that their technology enables the speed, choice and personalisation that employees expect. Because when it doesn’t, it causes (at best) frustration, and (at worst) burnout.

Your guide to better benefits technology

Download your checklist of the features and benefits that will support your employee experience and enable your reward strategy – and those that won’t.

Read now
Paul Smith

Paul Smith

Chief Technology Officer

Paul joined us on a permanent basis in 2017 and is responsible for the execution of our OneHub Product Suite, in terms of both people and technology. He is passionate about building a positive engineering culture and ensuring our products reflect the innovative spirit of Benefex.

Prior to joining Benefex, Paul has worked independently for brands including Microsoft, Credit Suisse and Axa, helping them successfully deliver both B2B and B2C software products.