Posted tagged ‘Workscape’

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

Compensation – a Critical Component of Performance Management (and a Process Ripe for HRO)

September 3, 2010

Let’s cut to the chase here. While compensation is not always the primary reason people change jobs, I think we’ll all agree we should be appropriately compensated for the work we do. And while it can be challenging and time-consuming for companies to find the data they need to determine market- and role-appropriate salaries, not doing so can lead to loss of top talent. This issue came top of mind to me because of two occurrences this week.

First, Kenexa on September 1 acquired Salary.com for approximately $80 million. Kenexa provides talent management services including RPO and performance management – both software and advisory services – and additional talent management services that help improve employee engagement and retention. In addition, Kenexa’s 2X Perform Platform (which will be available H2 2010) will contain performance managment components including goal setting, appraisals, succession planning and compensation management. Salary.com provides compensation software and content. In addition, it has a database of compensation information across thousands of job positions. The acquisition of Salary.com not only enhances Kenexa’s ability to provide compensation management; having Salary.com’s benchmark database will enable Kenexa to help its clients ensure they are paying their employees market-competitive salaries to aid in talent retention. 

Second, on its September 1 analyst briefing upon completion of its acquisition of Workscape, ADP not only spoke about the merits of Workscape’s benefits administration capability, including health and welfare, but also about the importance of Workscape’s talent management capability, notably its compensation planner. ADP today provides performance management services including succession management and learning management, in part via its partnership with Cornerstone OnDemand, With its acquisition of Workscape, ADP has added compensation management to its performance management offerings portfolio.

The importance and impact of compensation as an integral component of performance management cannot be underestimated. While supervisors are, and will continue to be, ultimately responsible for performance management, including compensation, they need the right tools, technology and insights to effectively do the job. HRO providers that offer the full mix of performance management capabilities – robust tools and technologies, as well as advisory services – are best positioned to support their clients performance management needs. And there is definitely opportunity for growth in this space. According to NelsonHall’s June 2010, “HRO Issues and Opportunities” report, only one-third of buy-side executives have outsourced compensation administration, and it is the second least outsourced service/component of multi-process HRO deals.

My advice? Providers, beef up your compensation management offerings, either organically or via partnerships or acquisitions. And buyers, evaluate your current compensation management capabilities. If they fall short, either due to lack of insights or resources, consider engaging the services of an HRO provider with expertise in this process. You have everything to gain by ensuring talent retention through the right compensation plans.

Gary Bragar, Senior HR Outsourcing Analyst, 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

HRO Total Contract Value Jumps 38 Percent in 1H10 – Where are the Gains Coming From?

July 15, 2010

During our Quarterly BPO Index webinar last week, NelsonHall CEO John Willmott reported that HRO total contract value (TCV) revenue increased 38 percent in 1H10 in a year-over-year comparison to 1H09. While HRO’s gains weren’t as great billions of dollars-wise as other BPO segments such as multi-process or industry-specific BPO, it is good to see the start of an upturn.

So where are these gains coming from? Forty-five percent of the contracts were signed with North American organizations, 43 percent were awarded to European enterprises (of which two-thirds were based in U.K.), and organizations in Asia Pacific accounted for the remaining 10 percent. And by service type:

• Recruiting – 32 percent of deals – including contract wins by Hays, Manpower, Kenexa, OchreHouse, Pinstripe, CPH Consulting, Alexander Mann Solutions, The RightThing, KellyOCG and PeopleScout

• Payroll – 22 percent of deals – including contract wins by Capita, MidlandHR, Raet, NorthgateArinso, ADP, TDS and Ceridian

• Benefits Administration – 20 percent of deals – including contract wins by Workscape, Aon, Secova, Mercer, Convergys and Xafinity

• Multi-process HRO (MPHRO) – 14 percent of deals – including contract wins by Accenture, Ceridian, ADP, Xchanging and Hewitt

• Learning – Eight percent of deals – including contract wins by Edvantage Group and General Physics

• Other HR – Four percent of deals – including talent management-related contract wins by Kenexa

Overall, I was not surpised with the above breakdowns as they were very consistent with the predictions in our June 2010 quarterly HRO Confidence Index.

Digressing a bit here to add to the buzz about Aon’s acquisition of Hewitt…while much written and water-cooler discussed has been about benefits administration, a sizeable amount of Hewitt’s revenue comes from MPHRO. A good example of this is Hewitt’s five-year contract renewal with International Paper, announced in April 2010.The renewal will support 40,000 International Paper employees with payroll, workforce administration, health and welfare administration, recruiting support, SAP application support and help desk, call center and HR manager support, learning administration and flex staffing management services. Given the amount of revenue coming from Hewitt’s MPHRO client base, I believe Aon will not only happily want to continue to support these existing clients, but also want to continue to grow the MPHRO business.

Although most new MPHRO contacts will likely not be the mega deals of yesteryear, reducing the number of suppliers in the outsourcing portfolio continues to grow in appeal among buyers. If buyers are satisfied with their MPHRO deals, they will continue, albeit in smaller fashion, to benefit both buyers and providers.

Gary Bragar, Senior HR Outsourcing Analyst, NelsonHall

The Care and Feeding of HRO Analysts

May 27, 2010

The intense spring season of service providers’ analyst day meetings is winding down. It is a good time for the optimism of outlooks ahead, behind the curtain peeks at new products and services soon to be unveiled, with travel budgets not yet depleted, and a summer to work off the calories consumed.

Any one HRO analyst day meeting is big fun. But meeting after meeting, big meal after big meal, hobnobbing with executive after executive, along with the associated travel, can wear you down. Tough work if you can get it, right?

NelsonHall analysts spread out to cover the maximum in meetings being held around the globe. We had one lead analyst stranded for days in a hotel near New York’s LaGuardia airport due to the Iceland volcano’s impact on European air travel. Oh yes, we suffer for our craft!

Today I will comment on several, some named, some unnamed, of the HRO analyst meetings I attended in the past several weeks.

Each meeting was well prepared with lots of executive access, orchestrated presentations and included a nice dinner at a nearby restaurant. The overall tone and energy was much more upbeat than last year. Still, appropriate to the current economy and arms length nature of analyst relations, there were no lavish parties. (Note to meeting planners: budgets are important, but starting with a continental breakfast with only heavy carb laden pastries and bagels is going too far!)

The personality and culture of the companies shape these meetings. One very professionally managed (unnamed) session ran like clockwork and every element was pre-planned, including seating plans at lunch and dinner. Very efficient, but it also felt a little bit too controlled.

Workscape set the most intimate and personable atmosphere throughout, from the sociable  dinner to the business presentations, all during which the CEO and other executives set aside time for and solicited discussion and comments related to its Total Rewards strategy and growing set of offerings. 

Mercer wins my virtual award for the most content analysts crave – facts, figures and details. Mercer showed it has a plan through 2012 full of enhanced and new services, including Mercer Win, an enhanced HR reporting/business intelligence offering rolling out later this year. I was among those analysts staying over by invitation for Mercer’s client conference, and it was a nice opportunity to see the company’s thought leadership on display and have more time to see product demos and meet some of Mercer’s customers in a causal setting.

Most of the analyst forums I attended included some form of client participation – which is appreciated. It works best if we are allowed to talk with the clients outside of the formal presentations – but wasn’t always allowed. ADP was the most open, setting up one-on-one interviews with several clients. ADP wins my virtual trophy for giving the most tantalizing glimpse of upcoming enhancements, including its new Web 2.0 user interface soon to be in the field for client testing.

 Earnings calls and periodic briefings are great, but there is still no substitute for the occasional in-person meeting and socialization. As an HRO analyst I value these meetings. Thanks for the invitations!

Linda Merritt, Research Director, HRO, NelsonHall