Posted tagged ‘Hewitt’

HRO Can Help Stem Absence Management Cost Hits – But There’s More

October 21, 2010

A recent CyberShift survey found that one third of the 1,088 respondents cited absence management as a continuing top priority. Yet 53 percent of the survey participants stated they did not have an automated system in place for absence, leave, vacation and FMLA tracking. This is a pretty scary statistic, especially when, per CyberShift, unscheduled absenteeism can cost businesses more than $760,000 per year in direct payroll costs alone.

At the same time, forward-thinking buy-side companies over the past couple of years have awarded absence management contracts to HRO providers, and the vendors are beefing up their absence management offerings. Let’s take a look.

Absence Management Contracts

  • MidlandHR was awarded 10 contracts in the last two years for its iTrent HR and payroll software, including its absence management modules, by the University of Exeter, Capel Manor College, Oxford City Council, NetworkersMSB, Pentagon Investments, Preston College, Which? (yes, this is an actual company name), Manchester Fire and Rescue, Kent County Council and Farnborough College
  • Wipro implemented Oracle’s PeopleSoft Enterprise HCM 9.0 for Jammu & Kashmir Bank in India. Modules implemented include absence management and approval workflow
  • NorthgateArinso won a five-year contract with Hastings College for its ResourceLink HR platform, which supports absence management
  • Convergys entered into a five-year contract renewal for multi-process HRO services with a leading business services company; components of the contract include absence management and leave administration
  • Hewitt was awarded several unnamed contracts that include absence management
  • Raet won a 10-year contract with OSG for its online HR portal, which includes absence management

Providers’ Enhanced Absence Management Offerings

Just a couple of weeks ago, Capita acquired FirstAssist Services Holdings Ltd. to strengthen its capabilities in health and workforce management, including absence management. In January, Hewitt added participant advocacy services to its absence management offering. In August, Ceridian added Presagia’s employee leave management software to support its leave management services. And Xchanging announced an alliance with absence management specialist FirstCare through which the two parties will jointly go to market with FirstCare’s absence management and occupational health pre-employment screening services and Xchanging’s portfolio of HRO services.  

Here’s my take. Leveraging software and services for absence management tracking is a great step in the right direction when it comes to stemming costs. But equally, if not more, important is drilling down into the why’s of non-authorized and non-sick absences. This maps to blogs I’ve written over the past year that focus on rampant employee dissatisfaction. Unhappy employees are more inclined to call in sick simply because they don’t want to go to their jobs. Get to the heart of employee dissatisfaction, fix what is truly broken across the enterprise, and absenteeism will decrease. Strong leadership and performance management training is invaluable in helping determine the root of employee discontent. Corporations lacking internal training programs of this type can leverage offerings from both full-scope and pure-play learning services HRO providers.

Gary Bragar, Lead HRO Analyst, NelsonHall

HRO is Never Static or Still

October 12, 2010

During every stage of the economic lifecycle, HRO service providers are doing something to either anticipate or react to changes in the marketplace and client needs while simultaneously striving to achieve strategic goals. This week I wrap-up NelsonHall’s review of 3Q 2010 HRO activity with a look at what’s new in offerings, partnerships and acquisitions.

One way to quickly expand a service line or fill-in gaps is to partner with a provider that is already offering the service or operating in the target geography. Last quarter was most active for RPO. Those announcing new RPO-related partnerships included Alexander Mann Solutions (AMS), Kelly Services, Kenexa, Pinstripe and The RightThing. Notably, two of the partnerships were to continue to expand RPO services internationally in the Asia Pacific region, with AMS adding reach into India and Kelly in Vietnam.

A more committed path to rounding out or adding new services is to buy it. Making small to large acquisitions is another constant in the world of HRO as players define and redefine their portfolios. In addition to the close of the three game changing major acquisitions in the benefits community (ADP/Workscape, ACS/ExcellerateHRO, and Aon/Hewitt), other folks were also making deals. For example, Mercer acquired IPA and ORC, and Xafinity bought PwC’s pension consulting and administration business in the U.K. Further, Randstad continued its acquisitive ways, this time outside of Europe, with its planned acquisition of FujiStaff in Japan.

Health and welfare (H&W) outsourcing used to be limited to the U.S., and that will remain the major market. But no matter how health insurance and care is funded, H&W concerns are growing globally. In the U.S., Fidelity is partnering with RedBrick Health to offer its clients wellness services, and in the U.K., Capita is acquiring FirstAssist Services to add to its health service offerings.

Finally, if you cannot find what you want in the marketplace, you can build or expand it yourself. Ceridian wants to truly offer a new line of BPO services and has announced it is ready to consult, build and manage the health insurance exchanges that some states will need in a couple of years as part of the U.S. health care reform program. 

Most announcements of “new offerings” are incremental additions. For example, Hewitt is adding Micromedex medical reference information to its advocacy service offering. You can also simply package what you have and call it new. Aditro has done that with a standardized set of payroll services that include preset services levels and implementation process to make a lower cost bundled option.

Yet another variation blends supply chain partnerships with building it yourself to make a new service offering. Take a SaaS HR service from Oracle or Sap and wrap in value added enhancements and services additions and, voila, you have a new HRO service platform. Mercer introduced its Human Capital Direct that uses PeopleClick Authoria’s talent management suite as the core, surrounded by Mercer’s consulting, tools and methodologies such as decision support, competency models and analytics.

In HRO, somebody is always doing something. What have you done lately?

Linda Merritt, Research Director, HRO, NelsonHall

Recapping the Not-so-Dog-Days of HRO’s 2010 Summer

October 5, 2010

One of the biggest HRO stories of 2010 will be the flurry of big and small acquisitions in the benefits administration space. The three big acquisitions – ACS and ExcellerateHRO, ADP and Workscape, and Aon and Hewitt – have recently closed.

As acquisition mania played out, many HRO deals were getting done, and this week, as the weather has finally, thankfully, started to cool, I’m taking a look at some of the deal activity over the long hot summer.

There were not a lot of announced deals in benefits administration, but a Hewitt summary indicates plenty of activity was still quietly going on. Hewitt won new awards across the span of benefits administration in the large and mid-market, including several in defined benefits and defined contributions. But the greatest activity was in health and welfare, and for point solutions like dependant audits and flex spend accounts.

While not necessarily matching North America in total contract value, the U.K. and Europe were also quite active in HRO. Logica was awarded a £10m payroll and pensions HRO contract extention by U.K’s Metropolitan Police, with new scope this time around including increases in employee and manager self services and electronic pay slips. And Midland HR won a deal for its iTrent HR platform including HR administration, employee and manager self-service, payroll, talent management and workforce planning.

In RPO, CPH won a contract with Opal Telephone, and Alexander Mann was awarded  a contract for recruitment and contingent labor by Cobhan. On the continent, HRO activity included HR administration and payroll deals by Reat and HR Access in the mid-market.

ADP parlayed existing payroll services for KAO, a Japan-based consumer products manafacturer, into extended HR administration and payroll services across Asia Pacific including China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, Vietnam and Japan. In addition, ADP won a global managed payroll services contract with BT that will cover more than 40 countries in North America, Europe and Asia Pacific when fully implemented.

It was refreshing to see a spate of learning contract awards won by Expertus, General Physics, Intrepid and The Learning Associates. However, as most of the learning outsourcing activity was in the public sector, we still need to see more of an uptick in the private sector before we can say learning is fully on the road to recovery.

RPO maintained its lead position as the most active single service area, with the greatest increase in revenues and new contracts. RPO activity was highest in the U.S., followed by the U.K., and was spread nicely across providers including Alexander Mann, CPH, Kelly Services, Manpower, PeopleScout and SourceRight. Several of the awards were for contingent labor or combined RPO, with the contingent labor focuses indicating that employers are still cautious about a full return to permanent hires.

There were no announcements of the HRO mega-deals of yore, but it was very nice to see the increased activity levels across many HRO service lines and service providers. Now that the cooler weather of fall is here, we’ll  hopefully see an even more serious return to getting business done before the end of the year!

Linda Merritt, Research Director, HRO, NelsonHall

Smart HRO Buyers and Providers Strengthening Focus on Employee Engagement

September 24, 2010

In my April 29 and August 26 blogs I talked about grim levels of employee satisfaction and engagement, and a couple of ways in which HRO providers can help employers raise these levels.

Well folks, sadly, recent analyses show that employee sat and engagement are still exceptionally low in most world geos, and continue to drop. Hewitt  last month announced that approximately half of all companies around the world showed a significant drop in employee engagement as of the end of 2Q10, the largest decline it has seen in the 15 years it has been conducting employee engagement research. And Kenexa Research Institute’s 2010 WorkTrends Annual Report, released earlier this week, cited that India ranked highest in employee engagement at 71 percent, Japan the lowest at 38 percent, but that when employees report they follow effective leaders, the average employee engagement index score is 91 percent. Bleak numbers, and dangerous for employers as they try to recover from the economic downturn and emerge in a position of strength.

But some forward-thinking companies are taking steps to increase their employee engagement levels, and they serve as models for the types of things other organizations may want to consider doing. For example, Unilever contracted with Kenexa to conduct in 2010 and 2012 an employee engagement survey with 140,000 employees around the world, and also to help with action planning to address issues identified per the surveys. MphasiS India awarded Kenexa a contract to provide a 360-degree survey program. And Vodafone’s operating company in Qatar engaged Kenexa to deliver a leadership program to help 65 senior managers more effectively lead by minimizing misunderstandings and cultural conflict.

Further, a variety of providers are improving their talent management capability, including Mercer, which launched Human Capital Connect (powered by Peopleclick Authoria), a rewards and talent management consulting and technology solution, and ADP’s acquisition of Workscape is strengthening its performance management capability.

And speaking of strengthening performance management, in recent interviews for my upcoming learning market analysis, several vendors around the world have cited increased demand for leadership and performance management training. For example, Australia-based provider The Learning Factor stated that companies are trying to reinvent themselves and are investing in management programs, including performance management, across all countries and regions. One of its clients recently implemented a new performance management system, processes and required training for all managers. The training includes how to set goals and objectives, and how to provide feedback.

During the recessionary crisis of the past two years, organizations have been functioning in survival mode, focusing on cost cutting and downsizing rather than being proactive in practicing what they preach – “people are our most important asset.” Yet top leaders and companies are starting again to walk the talk. What are you walking and talking?

Gary Bragar, Lead HRO Analyst, NelsonHall

Don’t Rain on My HRO Parade

September 21, 2010

The HRO community deserves a break, and the latest NelsonHall HR Outsourcing Confidence Index is here to deliver with lots of good news. Strike up the band and let’s have a virtual HRO parade!

To gauge HRO confidence, we use a scale in which 100 equals no change and 200 means all participants are highly confident. Compared to the dearth of optimism at 115 in Q2 2009, the 3Q 2010 HRO Confidence Index is at a high of 168. HRO vendors stating they are much more confident in their HR outsourcing business increased from a dismal 10 percent to a buoyant 41 percent.

We have been reporting for some time that pipelines are filling and looking better, and that continues. And yet, providers’ financial results have not yet shown a logjam break in frozen decision-making and willingness to commit in many HRO service lines.

On the other hand, this quarter we finally see an upswing in contract value growth. In fact, we have a triple play of good news underway! HRO service providers are reporting increases in:

  1. New contract activity
  2. Scope expansion with existing clients
  3. Volume in existing contracts

New contract activity is now outpacing increasing scope with existing clients. New deals signed, given the lag time before revenues flow, will take a while to show up in results. Volumes beginning to pick-up with existing clients will show up sooner in results, especially if vendors can gear up to increasing activity levels quickly and efficiently.

RPO and payroll continue to lead the parade to revenue growth recovery, with multi-process HRO also improving. While learning has been slow, its current 3.5 ranking in NelsonHall’s 3Q 2010 HRO Confidence Index indicates a much brighter outlook as compared to its score of 2.8 in Q4 2009.(Note that we use a scale of 1 – 5, with 5 being a strong increase.) 

Benefits administration outsourcing revenue growth expectations have been stable for several quarters around 3.5, but the outlook for pipeline growth is lower for benefits administration outsourcing than other HRO areas. Expected increases in health and welfare consulting should lead longer term to opportunities, but vendors are not seeing it yet. There may be short term distraction caused by the spate of mergers and alliances this year. ADP recently reported the successful acquisition of Workscape, now an ADP company, and Aon announced the leadership slate for the soon to be Aon Hewitt team.

Global delivery remains a factor in HRO growth in two ways. First, multi-country contracts, at 34 percent of deals, continue as organizations seek to standardize payroll and other HR processes. Also, acceptance of multi-shoring HRO continues. Onshore HRO delivery is still in the lead at 71 percent, but nearshore and offshore delivery are now 29 percent of HRO contract values.

People have parades for many reasons including celebration, commemoration and optimism. Our virtual parade is for optimism with a tad of celebration thrown in. Let’s save the full celebration parade for when the earnings results match the current high level of optimism.  Hmm, when and where do you think we should have a real HRO community parade?

Linda Merritt, Research Director, HRO, NelsonHall

Health and Welfare Services are a Nice Slice of the HRO Pie

August 11, 2010

Wellness programs have been around for years, but employers needing to manage ever increasing health care costs are looking for a stronger connection to results. HRO vendors and programs that can show proof of progressive results over time and an impact on health care costs will strengthen client relationships and do well in a still tight market.

Fidelity is adding RedBrick Health’s wellness programs as an optional service offering in its employee benefits and outsourcing program. RedBrick Health is a 2006 start-up specializing in wellness, disease and chronic care management programs that often include employer-funded financial rewards tied to participation in activities and programs. Fidelity selected RedBrick for the uniqueness of its interactive programs, technology, analytics and results that include rates of participation as high as 40-60 percent, compared to industry averages of five-10 percent. And it tracks health assessment biometrics that show improvements of six-30 percent in areas such as blood pressure, cholesterol and weight, which can lower the total cost of health care.

“Nice to have” HR programs are now expected to show value to employees and employers based on outcomes. HR and its HR service providers are under greater pressure than ever to show impact. Some HR services are “need to haves,” and demonstrating lower operating expenses, improved process performance and strengthened compliance are often enough proof in the pudding. Also improving the employee experience is icing on the cake.

Optional HR benefits and services outsourcing in a down economy have a higher hurdle as the looming question is, “why offer the benefit at all?” But outsourced services in the health and welfare (H&W) area that can make the connection to lowering the cost of benefits, health care and the total cost of labor have been bright spots.

Even the larger HRO vendors are aware of this trend. Hewitt has been expanding its H&W offerings with absence management, and it recently acquired HR Advance to add to its dependent verification capabilities. Others, like Fidelity, are selecting specialty partners to build out H&W services.

Where H&W services are transactional, like flex spend accounts, look for innovation in technology and processing efficiency. Other services – such as absence management – need to blend in consultative and deeper subject matter expertise, and the bench strength of the care center personnel is very important. In all cases, the quality of the employee communication and experience is critical, even if cost savings is the driver. If employees are not aware of the program, or do not understand the benefits of participating in it, outcomes will not be maximized. And you need awareness and participation to get to impact and capture a healthy slice of the H&W pie.  

Linda Merritt, Research Director, HRO, NelsonHall

Benefits Administration – Not a Lame Duck HRO Process

August 5, 2010

Although we’ve indicated that our most recent HR Outsourcing Confidence Index found benefits administration lagging behind other HR services in terms of revenue and pipeline growth, it’s important to put that into proper context:

• On the NelsonHall HRO Confidence Index scale of 1 to 5, with 5 being “strong increase” and 3 being “unchanged,” benefits admin came in at 3.6 relative HRO growth, right behind learning (3.7), and multi-process and payroll (both at 3.8)

• Benefits admin outsourcing contracts are indeed being won in 2010

For example, Mercer announced today that it added 10 new benefits admin clients – a mix of defined contribution, health and benefits, and total benefits/total retirement outsourcing – to its portfolio in 1H10. The new deals include leading brands such as CBS Corporation, Primerica and Global Equity Capital, LLC. In total per these new agreements, Mercer is now servicing nearly 190,000 additional benefits admin participants.  

Additional benefits wins announced in 2010 include:

• Xafinity, for pension administration, by BAE and Loganair

• Workscape, for both its Outsourced Benefits Administration (OBA) web-based benefits administration service and for employee call center support, by Global Imaging Services, a wholly owned subsidiary of Xerox

• Workscape, for its OBA solution, by kgb, a multi-country directory assistance and information services company

• Convergys, a contract renewal for COBRA, leave of absence and annual enrollment services, by Office Depot

And benefits is not just being awarded as a standalone service. Rather, it continues to be provided along with multi-process HRO services. For example, Ceridian earlier this year was awarded a contract by Fifth Third Processing Solutions which included payroll, health and welfare administration, HR compliance, time and attendance, leave administration and learning and recruiting technology. And Hewitt and International Paper entered into a five-year contract renewal deal which covers payroll, workforce administration, health and welfare administration, recruiting support activities, SAP application support and help desk services, call center and HR manager support activities, learning administration and flex staffing management services.

As clients continue to seek reduced costs, ensure compliance with health care reform, increase employee satisfaction, better leverage technology, and improve delivery of services to employees – including self-service capabilities – I believe we will see continued growth in benefits admin outsourcing. NelsonHall is currently conducting a Benefits Administation Market Study. When it’s complete we’ll take a deeper-dive look at just how much it’s growing, and in which specific areas.

Gary Bragar, Senior HR Outsourcing Analyst, NelsonHall