Posted tagged ‘client conference’

HRO Tips You Can Use

May 17, 2011

1.  Buyers, U.S. healthcare reform will continue — be prepared.

At the Mercer client conference last week, it was very helpful to hear its view of the precarious future of the U.S. healthcare reform. The healthcare reform act is being challenged in court in whole and in part and the outcome is uncertain. In the meantime, dates for further implementation are rolling near. Mercer posits that the act is unlikely to be repealed in total, but some amendments will likely be changed. Some are concerned large employers will dump employees into state healthcare exchanges and pay the relatively small penalties. Terms in the act make that unlikely as subsidies decline as income rises and are eliminated totally at $100,000. Also, larger employers need to compete in the war for talent and providing healthcare benefits will keep them in the game. The advice for smaller employers may be different and hybrid employee segment coverage models may develop.

2.  Misaligned expectations and poor implementation can still kill a HRO deal.

At lunch, a buyer told the sad tale of a failed initial outsourcing experience. By now, you know the too often told tale: misaligned expectations, a botched implementation, and an adversarial governance relationship that was not healed in time to save the deal. In retrospect, the benefits manager can see that they were 49% at fault, which includes failing to appoint a full-time implementation project manager or addressing the internal change management issues that come with first time outsourcing. The client is now with Mercer, providing a happy ending that was earned the costly way.

3.  Have a social media curator.

Brand management has changed permantly; any illusions of controlling your own brand are being shredded by social media and the same will be true of employment brand management. Can your HRO vendor manage its own brand socially and can they help you manage yours?

4.  An issue of passion can turn into a global wellness campaign and change lives.

Launching a wellness campaign to reduce healthcare costs and indirectly increase productivity is a worthy business objective. Levi Strauss, very early on, addressed HIV education out of deep concern for its employees and found it needed to first break through misinformation and fear. Now there is a new generation that will get the same education. Value-based passion, along with a great wellness program will be sustained for the long-term, helping employees and their families as well as generating savings.

5.   Vendors, invite industry analysts to your client conference.

Hearing the presentations and thinking about how they inform in ways that showcase the strengths of the service provider (perhaps stimulating further inquiries), speaking informally to clients, and looking for the consistency and continuity in what was said to industry analysts and now to clients. It all helps build a 3-D view into the vendor’s world.

Are you ready for your HRO 3-D close-up?

Linda Merritt, Research Director, HRO, NelsonHall