Archive for the ‘HRO Activity’ category

HRO and Innovation – Getting Practical

May 31, 2013
Linda Merritt, HRO Research Analyst, NelsonHall

Linda Merritt, HRO Research Analyst, NelsonHall

Innovation in multi-process HRO (MPHRO) has been a topic of discussion, and some contention, since the early mega-deals that created the modern MPHRO market more than ten years ago.

Even in the early days there was a desire for innovation, but there was also a lack of common definitions and mutual understanding, along with difficulty in articulating innovation in contract language.

There was an even greater barrier – systems spaghetti. Early MPHRO clients had highly-customized ERP infrastructure, aging legacy systems, and third-party applications, much of which may have been non-centralized and non-integrated. Each major customer was in their own bubble of services and systems. It quickly became apparent that it would be hard to add new and different innovations within the constraints of the contracts and the technologies.

Platforms for Innovation

Major MPHRO service providers now have global multi-client service delivery and data centers with sophisticated workflow processes. Early clients have been moved bit-by-bit into the common support infrastructure, even if they remain on their own, licensed ERP systems.

Many HRO clients are ready for increased standardization and multi-client platforms to reduce cost and to improve performance. Innovative cloud-based SaaS and services platforms are opening up new services to the mid-market and parts of the large client market:

  • Clients on a shared service platform benefit from ongoing incremental improvements
  • Clients benefit from access to new products and services without paying a significant portion of the R&D needed for a one-off innovation.

Some tension between continuous improvement and innovation is natural, as the line between an “included enhancement” and what is “new and different to be added as an extra charge” looks very different depending on whether you are a buyer or a supplier.

Collaborative Innovation

Client user groups support both HRO improvement and innovation. Vendors were originally reluctant to let clients communicate with each other (partially because the clients might “gang-up” on the vendor – and sometimes they did!).

Companies like IBM and Xerox were leaders in developing client advisory boards. These interactive groups provide feedback on the services, give input into common needs, and even offer guidance on parts of the vendor’s development roadmap. They are not just “the voice of the customer”; they are also a built-in base of beta testers. Willingness to put some skin into the game is also a great way to test market viability and further strengthen relationships.

Infrastructure of Innovation

Buyers can develop their processes for HRO innovation in the following ways:

  • Assess vendors for innovation capabilities as part of the selection process
  • Develop the language and mutual expectations for measurable innovation upfront and include in the terms of contract. Include who pays, and when, determine if there will be vendor incentives, and clarify the client’s role
  • Use the governance process to jointly monitor, manage, and measure improvements and innovations over the course of the relationship.

The good news is that we are beginning to build the HRO infrastructure for future innovation; common language, standardized multi-client platforms, and client user groups.

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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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A Closer Look at Benefits Administration in H1 2012: Part 1

August 21, 2012

Amy L. Gurchensky, HRO Research Analyst, NelsonHall

Earlier this year, I wrote a two part blog about how the benefits administration market was poised for a good year. Part 1 highlighted Q1 earnings results and part 2 focused on other signs indicating success such as acquisitions, hiring, and surveys.

Halfway through the year, signs are still indicating that 2012 will be a solid year for many benefits administration service providers.

 Aon Hewitt: For Q2, its Outsourcing segment reported organic revenue growth for the third consecutive quarter. In fact, the 6% reported was the company’s highest organic revenue growth rate for Outsourcing in several years. While Outsourcing revenues consist of more than just benefits administration, much of its growth was for benefits-related point services such as dependent eligibility audits. Its active employee exchange is set to be launched in Q4, which will begin to realize revenues in 2013.

Towers Watson: Towers Watson’s Benefits segment has been consist with positive organic revenue growth beyond the last four quarters. It’s Technology and Administrative Solutions segment revenues grew mid-single digits for the period ending June 30th and its pipeline is very healthy. The company’s Exchange Solutions segment, which was created after the acquisition of Extend Health, has had strong sales with a record number of participants enrolling, exceeding the 30% previously forecasted.

Mercer: Organic revenues for Mercer’s Outsourcing segment had another positive quarter, but were lower than reported in Q1. The suite of health care exchanges it launched earlier this year, which includes a retiree medical exchange, is expected to have ~500,000 employees enrolled across all three exchanges in 2013. 

Morneau Shepell: Canadian-headquartered Morneau Shepell has reported double-digit revenue growth for the last four consecutive quarters. In Q2, its pension and benefits outsourcing segment, which makes up ~25% of its revenues, had the largest contribution along with its health management business. Its growth is from new client wins, and its acquisition of SBC Systems has led to new business in the U.S.

According to the NelsonHall HR Outsourcing Market Forecast: 2012 – 2016, the projected growth rate for the benefits administration service line is modest compared to areas still experiencing rapid growth like RPO. Since benefits administration is the largest revenue generator in HRO, even moderate single-digit growth will add billions more to its total.

Later this week, look for more benefits administration mid-year updates from TRO and H&W service providers in Part 2.

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H1 2012 HRO: Who Did What in the Large Market?

August 15, 2012

Linda Merritt, HRO Research Analyst, NelsonHall

There was a good amount of announced HRO contract awards of many sizes and services in the first half of 2012, especially in the large market. A nice volume of new work coming online will provide future revenue support for HRO service providers, where earnings have recently been lower than in 2011.

Learning: finally announced some major deals including:

  • Capita Workplace Services: awarded a competitive win for a £250m contract by the Cabinet Office to manage civil service training services in the U.K.
  • Serco: won awards with the Army in both the U.K. and the U.S.; it won a scope extension valued at $38m by the U.S. Army and a £55m training contract by the British Army
  • Genpact: won  a learning services contract by Johnson Controls, extending its record of recent learning wins; last year, it won a 7 year MPHRO contract with Nissan that included learning and it also won a 5 year content development contract by JobSkills in India.

MPHRO: activity was spread around nicely with ADP, Aon Hewitt, NorthgateArinso, and Logica all bringing in MPHRO contracts. One notable deal was IBM’s multi-tower BPO and IT deal with Cemex valued at $1bn; it includes finance and accounting BPO, HR BPO, IT infrastructure management, application development, and maintenance.

RPO:  continued to see a high volume of new contracts spread across many vendors. There were also two of the largest awards ever in RPO:

  • ManpowerGroup: awarded a $400m five year contract extension with the Australian Defense Force, continuing a relationship that started in 2003
  • Capita: won a £440m 10 year recruiting partnership contract by the British Army; it will also deliver supporting technology for the Royal Navy and the Royal Air Force, partnering with advertising agency JWT for recruitment marketing and with Kenexa for assessment and recruitment technology.

Benefits administration: contract awards were announced by Aon Hewitt, Empyrean, HP, and Xafinity Paymaster. Fidelity Investments reported the highest volume with DC contracts adding 522k new participants to its base of over 15m participants served. It also made major renewals and brought in new competitive wins. This is Fidelity’s strongest first half sales period in the last five years.

Payroll: deals in the U.K. led the way with awards going to Ceridian, Equiniti ICS, Liberata, and Mouchel. ADP won a multi-country contract from HP and will implement its GlobalView for payroll and Enterprise eTIME system for time and labor management for ~130,000 employees across 40 countries in Asia Pacific (excluding India), Europe, and the Americas (excluding U.S.) over the next five years.

With pipelines still healthy, the second half of 2012 should bring in a year of solid HRO growth and results. Congratulations to all!

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HRO Carrying On Despite Slow, Decelerating Economy

July 25, 2012

Amy L. Gurchensky, HRO Research Analyst, NelsonHall

For those of you who are not aware, NelsonHall assesses the confidence in the HRO market on a quarterly basis. The report involves surveying HRO suppliers from all disciplines to get a pulse on the market.

 From time to time, my colleagues and I will blog about these results. I thought I would take a step back and re-examine HRO supplier confidence levels since the report began.

 As the name suggests, the supplier confidence level measures how confident HRO suppliers are in the future market with a level of 100 representing no change in confidence.

Since the report began, the index has constantly shown a healthy level, despite some fluctuations in between. The following chart graphs HRO service provider confidence levels since its inception.

HRO Supplier Confidence Chart

2011 shows a major turning point in HRO vendor optimism, revealing a downward trend line that coincides with the Employment Situation report produced by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

There is no need to panic though. It appears that supplier expectations are now more accurately aligned to pipeline activity, which showed a slight weakening in Q1 2012. Again, the most important thing to remember is that the indices are still at a healthy level.

Despite the headwinds from the economic recovery, business for HRO has carried on as evidenced in the following contract activity:

  • ADP: awarded a multi-country payroll contract by HP covering ~130,000 employees in 40 countries across Asia Pacific (excluding India), Europe, and the Americas (excluding the U.S.)
  • Fidelity: awarded a DC administration contract by the University of Washington for ~31,000 employees; it is now the sole recordkeeping provider for the university
  • Talent2: awarded a three year RPO contract by Bankwest in Australia providing full RPO services from job requisition through onboarding including employment branding, establishing an innovation program for sourcing, and more
  • IBM: awarded a learning services contract by a government entity in South Africa including content development and delivery of learning
  • Aon Hewitt: renews and expands its multi-process HR outsourcing contract with BMO Financial Group for payroll, workforce administration, H&W administration, recruitment services, and compensation administration covering 46,000 employees in the U.S. and Canada for eight years.

There will likely be continued challenges from clients such as stalled decision-making or demands for lower pricing, and some service lines will fare better than others in this slow economy that is decelerating.

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NorthgateArinso’s Secrets of HRO Success in the U.K.

December 19, 2011

NorthgateArinso (NGA) has had a string of recent competitive HRO contract wins in the U.K. First in November was a seven year contract with the Church of England (16,000 participants), followed by a five year award by Gatwick Airport (3,500 participants). In early December the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) with 3000 participants awarded NGA a five year contract. Each award was for Resource Link Aurora HR and Payroll services, adding to the more than 500 clients already using the service in the U.K.

I had a conversation with NorthgateArinso’s  Jonathan Legdon, Sales Director, and Nick Carlson, Strategic Marketing Director for the U.K. and Ireland to learn more about what is driving success. The answer is not one secret to success, but many that are working together.

NGA is one of the HRO market leaders in the U.K. with reference clients across many verticals in the private and public sectors. Still, there were other worthy competitors bidding for the services, so I wanted to know what else is setting NGA apart.

One secret of success is the sales team structure and environment. (For those of us who go way back in HRO, sales teams were not always the friend of forming client service provider partnerships based on more than price, met expectations and were profitable for the vendor.) The sales team includes a mix of sales and operations personnel and the integrated team can realistically represent NGAs services and strengths and demonstrate the expertise and commitment to client services. Also, NGA uses a unique approach to sales team compensation to incent and reward building client relationships that deliver value for clients and needed margins for NGA.

A reputation for HR expertise and innovative technologies and services that produce results is also important. Gatwick Airport is at the beginning of a ten year transformation plan and it selected NGA as a partner committed to delivering exceptional staff services. Gatwick is also looking to NGA for RPO services that will help attract and engage the highest caliber employees.  The Church of England is planning to use the Resource Link Aurora talent management capabilities to improve the efficiency of the selection and training of clergy. LSHTM wants to eliminate bureaucracy with web-based self-serve that will meet the changing needs of a complex workforce.

Clients recognize that the NGA sales teams take the time to listen and understand their needs.  LSHTM said NGA was the most intuitive bidder and understood the needs of the public sector. Gatwick cited the match of corporate cultures and values. The Church of England selection team said that NorthgateArinso, through its thorough engagement with the team, had demonstrated a very clear understanding of the Church’s requirements.

Focusing on HRO success is a good way to wrap up the year. Happy Holidays on behalf of the NelsonHall HRO Insight team, Gary Bragar, Amy Gurchensky, and Linda Merritt.

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