Benefits administration isn't a stagnant pond of vacation time and IRAs; it's a mighty set of rapids that's ever churning and shifting directions. Big news for one year may not even be on the radar for the next, as HR leaders reconfigure how to better serve employees and further streamline their efforts. With the HR industry as a whole expanding into new levels of corporate alignment and strategic growth, change will come faster than before.
Here are four trends in benefits administration to expect in 2017 and beyond:
1. More Outsourcing
Outsourcing is becoming the go-to option for many companies. According to Employee Benefit News, 46 percent of financial executives already make use of this practice. It's easy to see why so many business leaders rely on outsourcing to achieve their goals. It's the perfect function and set of time-saving measures to help HR better align with other departments, expose HR employees to wide-scale business practices and offer department leaders fresh new perspectives. With these, HR at-large can work to achieve a company's goals in ways they couldn't before.
2. Better Employee Engagement
HR's goal has always been to find ways to retain and uplift employees. In recent years, technological innovations have helped HR departments better engage with their employees, and that trend will only continue into 2017. There are several essential benefits to this updated technology, including placing more oversight into the hands of supervisors, letting users maintain a better sense of control and helping to personalize key processes, like those related to fostering employee morale. Technology makes benefits more readily available to employees, and that makes a difference.
3. Changing the Course of Business
In charting the evolution of HR systems, Human Resources Today believes there has been a greater push for applications to improve work life over the last few years. That includes facilitating more team productivity, improving recruitment efforts, offering any-time learning opportunities for employees and offering real-time engagement between workers and management. Technology is certainly part of this, but it's about looking at the workplace and finding ways to automate certain tasks, streamline others and better recognize what does and doesn't work in the office
4. Ensure Employees' Future via Benefits
For most employees, benefits aren't just an added perk of employment; they're the path to a secure future. According to an April 2016 survey by MetLife Inc., an astounding 62 percent of employees believe that benefits packages can help achieve their personal financial goals. For companies, especially the HR leaders, that means a few important considerations.
Employees want to know their benefits can aid them in meaningful ways, and they will want more of a say in these packages. That's why flexibility is important, as it lets employees decide key elements of their benefits, like base or various bonuses. It's about engagement, but it's also about having specific end goals.
Bringing it All Together
If there is one element that connects these many trends, it's the need to embrace newer, more advanced HR technology. Cloud-based software, for instance, aids in outsourcing, lets executives reach out to employees, addresses the need for more efficient workplaces and helps plan for the future of all employees. It might seem like huge changes lie ahead for HR, but the right tools can make all the difference to HR departments.
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