Archive for the ‘Customer Service’ category

NGA’s Broadening Offerings

July 24, 2013
Liz Rennie, HRO Research Analyst, NelsonHall

Liz Rennie, HRO Research Analyst, NelsonHall

Last week we attended the Advisor & Analyst Summit with NGA where CEO Adel Al-Saleh presented the highlights for FY2013 (up to 30 April 2013) and described the company as an “IP-led HR services company.” Focus was given to the company’s ability to support global payrolls, whatever the HRIS platform, as NGA supports multiple platforms such as Workday, SuccessFactors, PeopleSoft, Oracle and SAP. Further, NGA announced that BPO agreements are in place with all the above-mentioned technology companies.

NGA serves all size companies and is particularly focused on global enterprise clients. Multi-country BPO HR/payroll is where NGA sees growth. Over the last year NGA experienced flat revenues, the downturn in the consulting was cited as the main reason; however, EBITDA was up by 8.6% to $157m. Workforce administration and global payroll were cited as areas which were experiencing growth. A “sweet-spot” client would be a client who wants its IT to be managed and requires service components for HR administration and/or payroll.

New wins and renewals for FY 2013 were cited as Aer Lingus (Irish HRO client based on ResourceLink), Textron (PeopleSoft renewal), Pirelli (40 countries in scope), State of Texas, McGraw-Hill and Orica.

FY 2014 priorities

  • Evolve the client-centric coverage. This means to increase the reporting and visibility of customer satisfaction to drive this higher
  • Drive the maturity of global delivery capabilities
  • Evolve the transformation consulting services
  • Invest and launch key IP platforms, including:
    – Global payroll
    – Service center tools & utilities
    – euHReka – Preceda – ResourceLink – Moorepay
  • Increase traction of key partnerships:
    – Workday
    – SuccessFactors-SAP
    – Oracle.

NGA already has more than 8 clients utilizing the Workday platform.

NGA presented its Global Delivery Model, which demonstrates the maturity and scale of NGA’s global delivery, including approximately 1.2k employees in Manila, 1k in Kochi, 100 in Dalian, China, 150 in Katowice, Poland, 500 in Granada, Spain and 200 in Buenos Aires, Argentina. These centers have been undergoing a center standardization based on Six Sigma to improve alignment.

NGA’s depth of knowledge is evident in the 8 IP components presented, including its NGA Service Catalogue, Global Statutory Center, ePIM Implementation Methodology, SunEXo (to track payroll status), ScopeHR (to configure scope), Online Reference Guide (for processes and instructions), Global Standard Training and Global Process Framework.

Being an IP-led HR services company, NGA has to clearly articulate the value of the IP to the client and then ensure that the IP roadmap is closely following its client’s needs. Furthermore, increasing technology capability with a broader partner ecosystem could bring further challenges, such as:

  • Finding the right technical solution for a client without confusing them; especially where they are simply asking for a service
  • When the IP becomes less technology centric, NGA could lose some of the depth of knowledge that is already built into the IP.

NGA continues to be a company that is flexible to the needs of its clients. In this current climate companies need agility in HR solutions, services, prices and (now more than ever) technology. NGA offers a global delivery network that is experienced and always hungry for more business.

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Pinstripe’s RPO Analyst Day: Talent Forward

May 21, 2013
Gary Bragar, HRO Research Director, NelsonHall

Gary Bragar, HRO Research Director, NelsonHall

I attended Pinstripe’s analyst day on May 15, 2013. It was combined with its Client Talent Forward Summit, with the theme “Commitment to Innovation”. Highlights of the day included:

Client Panel

Pinstripe discussed 10 recent innovations, of which a panel of four Pinstripe clients then discussed a few Pinstripe innovations that have benefitted their business, including:

  • Email campaigning: A proactive approach to creating candidate pools with active and passive candidates. This enables messaging a high number of candidates with relevant information – such as familiarizing candidates with potential hiring company announcements; e.g. “Did you happen to know we were named one of the best places to work 4 years in a row” or “We were rated as the safest operating room to work in St. Louis”. Email Campaigning has resulted in a two-to-three times increase in passive candidate responses
  • Video interviewing: Both live and prerecorded interviews of candidate presentations. Managers feel more informed of when to take candidates to the next step. Team interviewing is also conducted
  • Employment branding and social recruiting: All about making a connection with the candidate to “get them in the door”. Includes training and education on how to properly use social media to send out positive messages.

Client Tour

We toured the Brookfield facility where ~60% of employees work. The tour included:

  • Understanding how employees are recognized
  • How virtual employees are connected and communicated with as though they were onsite in Brookfield
  • Demos of some of the innovations, including email campaigns to build talent pipelines
  • A visit to the Impression Center.

The Impression Center, which receives 250k calls per year, is staffed by customer service experts who are imperative to potential candidates’ first impression of the company. Applicants and candidates can call the center with questions throughout the job offer, and live chat is also offered. First call resolution is 96% with 97% customer satisfaction. Over 63k interviews have been scheduled by the Impression Center. Candidates may still contact the recruiter if needed; however, by using the Impression Center there has been a 97% reduction of calls to recruiters, allowing them to focus on their primary concern – recruiting.

Pinstripe Analyst Briefing

Pinstripe has grown from ~450 employees and ~73,000 hires in 2011 to ~575 employees today and nearly 100,000 hires in 2012. Most recruitment contracts at Pinstripe are end-to-end, full service RPO as opposed to projects. Several of the more recent contracts have been second- and third-generation RPO clients. Pinstripe’s partnership with Ochre House, formed in 2009 to deliver RPO in EMEA and Asia-Pacific, has been awarded several contracts to fill multi-regional hiring needs. Both companies attribute their success to sharing similar values. Honeywell is an example of a second-generation client now expanding beyond North America to Europe that Ochre House will serve. Combined with Ochre House, RPO is provided to ~85 clients in 45 countries in 23 languages.

Summary

One of the key messages taken from this summit is that Pinstripe is keenly focused on the candidate experience and a positive work environment for its employees to excel at satisfying client needs. It is therefore of no surprise that Pinstripe recruiters have an average of >9 years’ experience.

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Benefits Outsourcing is Blooming

May 9, 2013
Linda Merritt, HRO Research Analyst, NelsonHall

Linda Merritt, HRO Research Analyst, NelsonHall

Benefits administration is producing a bountiful crop of new and expanding services. Recent contract award announcements included ADP, Aon Hewitt, Ceridian, Equiniti, Fidelity, Mass Mutual and Merrill Lynch. A wide range of industry segments were represented: banking; food; education; non-profits; hi-tech; pharmaceuticals; and travel. This week, I have taken a look at some of the newer benefit outsourcing “crops” that are starting to grow nicely.

Managed Retirement Accounts

Fidelity’s relatively new managed retirement account offering – Fidelity Portfolio Advisory Service at Work – was designed to address the low rate of adequate preparation for retirement by many employees by combining Fidelity Investments plan sponsor customized portfolio active management services with auto enrollment and available advisory services to help bridge the gap in achieving retirement goals from a defined contribution plan. The service grew in both participants and assets by 50% in 2012. Already in 2013, another 135 new clients have been added, bringing the total to more than 1,800 plan sponsors.

  • Fidelity awarded a contract for Portfolio Advisory Service at Work by ADM.

Health and Wellness

ADP’s Vitality wellness solution supports employers with between 50 and 1,000 employees manage rising healthcare costs and also reduce employee absenteeism. Vitality’s incentive-based program includes an interactive wellness portal, health risk assessments, biometric screenings and personalized wellness plans with recommended goals and activities. It integrates with social networking sites, mobile applications and fitness technologies; and when employees achieve planned goals, they earn points towards lowering their health plan contributions. The service is also integrated with ADP’s payroll services.

  • ADP awarded a contract by Jackson Companies for ADP Vitality services.

Benefits Bouquet Bundles

HRO buyers want multiple related services from one vendor under one contract; and health and wellness lends itself to packaging separate services into bundles. Ceridian’s LifeWorks.com combines EAP, work-life, and wellness services into one program with its own portal and mobile access. Also available is Health Coaching – a program for high-risk employees that provides access to comprehensive health assessments and personalized guidance programs – and Client Value Dashboard – included for employers to monitor reports usage data and ROI information.

  • Ball State University chooses Ceridian’s LifeWorks.com

Private Employer Exchanges

Mercer’s Marketplace allows employers to improve management of their benefits spending and administrative responsibilities for active employees. Employers determine how much to contribute toward the cost of their benefits program and can select from a range of insured and self-funded products and providers. The platform includes full benefits outsourcing and provides employees with call center and online decision support.

  • Mercer recently announced names of 10 of its 20 national, regional and state carriers that have joined Mercer Marketplace for providing core medical and voluntary benefits.

A good garden has a variety of plants. Some base crops are evergreen like benefits enrollment and management services, while others are changed out to meet growing market demand. Benefits HRO: how does your garden grow? Very well thank you.

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HRO Reduces TCO!

April 5, 2012

Buyers, how much will you save by implementing HRO services? Will it be 8% or over 50%?

ADP recently published the results of its latest total cost of ownership (TCO) study, The Hidden Benefits of Human Resources Business Process Outsourcing. The company has sponsored several PwC TCO studies since 2003 comparing the TCO of companies maintaining HR services in-house to those using ADP HR BPO. The 2012 study was completed by Sourcing Analytics and digs even deeper into the patterns established in the earlier PwC studies.

I touched on this topic last year, but it is well worth a second look because the research supports common HRO advice and counsel.

The good news remains: HRO of services including payroll, time and attendance, workforce administration, and health & welfare reduce TCO over in-house services.

The bad news is that HRO is not a quick financial fix and first year savings are usually modest. It takes time and hard work to transform HR operations and service delivery, but there are companies that have reduced TCO by 50% with 20-30% being possible for most over time.

Often, one or more HR services are outsourced with the focus mostly on the technology and transactions and may include more than one service provider. While there should be many benefits in new service features and functions and improved processing, the TCO impact is likely to be low, perhaps only 8%. To get both full value and full savings, more is needed.

Here are some of the building blocks that can be used to further increase your HRO TCO:

Technology and process

  • Use one vendor for integrated payroll and time and attendance to bump up savings a bit
  • Move to SaaS-based technology platforms to reduce technology costs the most
  • Make it real BPO, include contact center services
  • Multi-process HRO (MPHRO) saves more than best-of-breed services managed in-house, can significantly ramp up savings.

Process and people

  • Support initial transition, adoption, and utilization
  • Adopt standardized and centralized best practice processes across the entire enterprise
  • Follow through and reduce or re-deploy the retained organization
  • Keep working on it together; it may take up to five years to achieve maximum TCO savings as maturity is attained and more and more of the building blocks are added.

How much a particular client will save depends on a number of choices and options that are largely within the control of the client. In addition to great HRO performance, top-notch providers will be able to support each client in their journey to attain the most savings possible.

Next week, we will take a look at some of the factors and actions that shape the HRO journey.

Linda Merritt, Research Analyst, HRO, NelsonHall

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Does HRO have True Grit?

March 23, 2011

HRO buyers usually address cost and service capabilities first followed by process best practices, compliance and reporting, and partnership compatibility to achieve change and deliver results. Further down are needs that we may take for granted. It is at this level that we see whether or not a HRO service provider has True Grit.

The first aspect of true grit is when a vendor invests in improvements in its performance in areas that go beyond just meeting service levels. For example, Aon Hewitt will use the N.I.C.E. call management quality system for all its service centers. This will improve and create a common service center experience for all clients from pre-merger Aon Consulting and Hewitt Associates and it will help create unity across the combined teams. When there is a drive for internal vendor values, it will show through to external customers.

The second aspect of true grit is robust planning for business continuity that goes beyond a plan on the shelf. Natural disasters occur all around the world and clients need assurance that the HRO service provider will be able to maintain operations if something happens at one or more of its locations.  Aon Hewitt’s business continuity strategies include shifting work to unaffected locations and having colleagues work from home. It also has redundancy between geographically dispersed centers. If one center becomes unavailable due to a disaster or crisis, it can shift call volume to an unaffected location to continue to provide service to clients.

In Japan, Aon and Aon Hewitt have several offices in Tokyo and it has provided contingent space away from Tokyo, where colleagues who wish to leave the area are able to go and work. In another example, IBM has service center operations in many locations worldwide, including Manila which is subject to major storms including typhoons. Its site specific business continuity plan includes prearranged busing for critical staff and back-up generators for power – with gasoline trucks standing by to keep operations fueled. A key step that can have major impact if missed!

The final level of true grit is the capability to help clients in times of crisis. Aon Hewitt has a Global Emergency Operations Center (GEOC) that it activated during the recent crisis in Japan. In one case, a call center shifted to the crisis response model for a client, which enabled employees to contact the call center to leave and retrieve messages for other employees. In addition, family members of employees can leave and get messages from one another. Communicating is often challenging during a crisis as cell service and phone lines are impacted, and this service provides another communication channel to employees and their families at a critical period in time.

A benefit of HRO should be robust service delivery beyond what a client can affordably provide on its own. Does your HRO service partner have the True Grit you need?

Linda Merritt, Research Director, HRO, NelsonHall

Differentiating HRO – Use What You Know

February 16, 2011

How many ways can a HRO vendor differentiate?  The lowest total cost, the latest and greatest in technology, the broadest range of services in the most places, etc.?  When there are multiple reputable service providers, vendors have to reach further to create HRO differentiation.

In the early days of HRO, it was sufficient for a vendor to provide services that were as good as what had been provided in-house, becoming the base of most service levels (SLAs).  HRO vendors quickly found that meeting SLAs did not equate to overall client satisfaction, with clients stating that while they may have been getting what they contracted for, they were not getting what they wanted or needed.

Today, “as good as” is not good enough.  HRO service providers need to know more than the client in each service area.  Knowing more may be in the form of compliance and reporting expertise, local knowledge of covered geographies, advanced application use, or even change management expertise.  Client confidence that the selected vendor does indeed “know how” is important.  Confidence that the vendor will be a partner in what happens next is even rarer and is a key differentiator that top tier HR clients seek.

Times of uncertainty create opportunity to build client confidence with your ability to see around corners or at least keep up with the twists and turns.  Consulting capabilities are particularly important in HR.  But, even top consulting capabilities will not build the HRO practice if there is no flow-through of learning and innovation as well as improved process and performance.

Many HRO service providers with roots in consulting offer forward-looking research, publications, webinars, and even conferences to help clients keep up with best practices, new trends, and regulatory happenings, all while demonstrating thought leadership and subject matter expertise.  Many names come easily to mind including Accenture, ADP, Aon Hewitt, Ceridian, IBM, and Mercer.

For example, Towers Watson has published human capital research and recently released its latest HR services report.  Kenexa’s client conferences also offer sessions of broader related HR practitioner interest.  Finally, Infosys provides a good example of application expertise and consultative relationship management when it brings tailored ideas to clients on how they can improve their processes.

Vendors that offer multiple service lines or are an industry leader in a particular area can cross data streams.  Think of ADP’s weekly report on employment or Administaff who has PEO trends that show which U.S. regions are leading and lagging in returning to growth for the small business market.  Also, ACS, a Xerox Company and IBM support client interaction opportunities that can lead to innovation communities.

How can data from IT, F&A, or even Ceridian’s Pulse of Commerce Index be tapped for HRO?  Think about how you can go beyond the obvious and use everything in your kit bag to develop leverageable and differentiating HR and HRO insights.

Linda Merritt, Research Director, HRO, NelsonHall

Customer Service More Important than Ever – Even for HRO

January 21, 2011

Spherion recently released its new customer service survey results conducted by Monster.  Results show that nearly three quarters of consumers make a purchasing decision based on customer service, second only to quality and price.  That’s huge!  As a former quality trainer and college adjunct, I’ve been studying customer service for quite some time.  According to prior research by TARP, Technical Assistance Research Program, the figure was close to two-thirds, which indicates that the demand for better customer service has gotten even stronger.

Consumers are fed up with the lack of good customer service and thanks to more service provider competition, buyers don’t have to put up with bad service.  Consumers can simply go elsewhere.  Granted when it comes to HRO, the switch is not as easy, since it cannot be done by each individual client employee, but collectively, they can make their voices heard through internal communications that the provider may not be aware of immediately (which is why SLA’s alone don’t always tell the whole story).  Here are just a few things HRO service providers should do to keep clients happy at the individual participant level; otherwise this would be a white paper, not a blog!

  • Ensure polite, courteous, and responsive service representatives in everything you do, e.g. Are you as responsive with a tier 2 inquiry or problem that needs the help of an SME as you are tier 1?
  • Be easily accessible, e.g. when providing an 800 number for clients for particular service questions, if there are several prompts that must be selected, why not include the prompts to select in the original communication.  Test your own IVR as a user.
  • Have user-friendly technology.  For websites that may be infrequently used, e.g. checking pension cash balance or 401(k), is there an easy way to check and reset passwords for users that can’t remember?  Are you providing simple instructions for infrequent transactions, e.g. annual enrollment?  Also, web information changes over time, so periodically check for broken links and user friendliness.

In my current RPO market research study, a track record of delivering quality customer service, including obtaining client references, is one of the top vendor selection criteria, as it was in my recently published learning BPO study.  The Spherion survey is a reminder that customers will not be shy about sharing bad experiences.  It’s best to be certain you know how your client’s employees really feel.

The good news is that HRO providers are, for the most part, providing a high level of service.  For example, SourceRight Solutions, SFN Group’s RPO unit, was the top enterprise RPO provider in HRO Today’s 2010 RPO Bakers Dozen and it was rated number one in quality of services by provider clients.  SourceRight Solutions was also only one of four companies to increase the satisfaction of existing customers while growing its customer base (the others included Kenexa, Pinstripe and AMS).  I tip my hat to SFN Group for conducting the survey and for walking the talk!

Gary Bragar, Lead HRO Analyst, NelsonHall