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HR Technology: Blog

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This blog offers insights from over 25 years of HR experience and use of technology. 

Posted by Alacia Mann | Mon, July 10

HR Technology Advisors conducted a nationwide HR, Benefits and Payroll Technology survey earlier this year and discovered that adoption of HR Technology is on the rise for employers of all sizes and geographical locations. Some 47% of employers are currently without an HR Technology solution, and the need for automation and efficiency is growing rapidly. More than 20% of these organizations indicated they would be seeking out new technology platforms within the year.

Utilization of Technology by Organizational Type

... » read more

Posted by Stacey Sharp | Mon, January 23

Each newsletter our experts cover a wide array of topics. This month's newsletter discusses private benefit exchanges, a different twist on engagement, the top 6 HR issues to watch in 2016, daily wellbeing and synergy between financial wellness and voluntary benefits. If there are topics you woud like to see covered, please contact us today ! 

To view this quarter's newsletter, please download this  ... » read more

Posted by Greg Paradiso | Fri, October 28

Technology is everywhere.  Social media, mobile phones, ATM machines, self-checkout, fit-bits, high-tech cars.  How is HR benefiting in the workplace?  The Forbes Magazine Human Resources Council recently reported numerous ways.  Here are a few:

Paper Goes Digital

Remember in the HR Office that back room full of file cabinets?  Not anymore.  Paper files are being digitized in numerous ways and stored electronically by employers.  More documents are being converted to an electronic format with ability to legally “sign” and authorize electronically.  Skip the... » read more

Posted by Stacey Sharp | Sat, October 01

Each newsletter our experts cover a wide array of topics. This month's newsletter discusses private benefit exchanges, a different twist on engagement, the top 6 HR issues to watch in 2016, daily wellbeing and synergy between financial wellness and voluntary benefits. If there are topics you woud like to see covered, please contact us today ! 

To view this quarter's newsletter, please download this pdf. 

Posted by Greg Paradiso | Thu, September 29

Benefits open enrollment gets a bad rap because it’s a required annual exercise and can involve both good and bad news about your employer sponsored plans.   But wait.  This is an opportunity to showcase your commitment and financial backing of critically important benefit programs.  Surveyed employees consistently show benefits can be as important or even more important than compensation offered.  So how do we take the “pain” out of this process and turn it into a “gain”?

Engage your employees.  You know your population.  What works best with them?  Because of the current multi-... » read more

Posted by Greg Paradiso | Mon, September 26

The growth and use of HR technology is hot and expected to get hotter.  Recent research published by Bersin & Associates and Deloitte Consulting found that 57% of companies are planning to make a major new HR software purchase in the next 18 months.  What’s behind this surge in HR technology?  A lot of factors but there are several key ones.  As expert Josh Bersin wrote in a recent Forbes article, much is driven by a renewed “War For Talent.”  Beyond that, there are several key factors.

  1. Old HR Software
  2. Too Many Systems to Integrate
  3. Cloud HR Software
  4. ... » read more
Posted by Greg Paradiso | Mon, August 22

Project Management often gets a bad rap.  It’s not fun and sexy.  It’s an unexciting discipline that was perfected by engineers and techies.  But it’s the rigor and detail orientation that can save many an implementation.  You ignore project management at your own peril.  Without project management, you can cross your fingers and pray for good results, but project management is a better way to assure success. 

Project Management is a carefully planned and organized effort to accomplish a specific one-time effort.  A “project” can be defined as a “series of tasks and activities that... » read more

Posted by Greg Paradiso | Wed, June 29

What are these techie terms “cloud” computing and software-as-a-service?  The basic definition of cloud computing is the delivery of computing as a remote service rather than a nearby installed product.  Companies do not need to buy and install their own software and hardware connecting to their internal private network.  The true value of cloud computing is shared software services and shared hardware infrastructure thus lowering the cost for everyone. 

We now come to the software side.  Utilizing software “in a cloud” is called Software-as-a-Service or  SaaS.  Saas in the Cloud is... » read more

Posted by Greg Paradiso | Fri, June 24

Are you responsible for HR in a small business?  When profit margins are tight, an HRIS might be the last thing on your mind.  However, markets have changed and there are now many new, viable solutions available to small employers.

  1. An HRIS Is Too Expensive

Ten years ago, implementing an HRIS was considered a major investment in time, money and effort only reserved for large employers.  Cost included software licensing fees and consultants required to implement. However, today there are a wide range of HRIS choices for small businesses, from the ‘... » read more

Posted by Greg Paradiso | Fri, May 13

Obviously it starts with strong HR software technology.  But after that, how do you make it happen?  A system by itself will not bring success.  Remember the saying “You can bring a horse to water but you can’t make it drink”?   The same goes for employees, managers and even HR administrators.  If you don’t focus on the human factors in your organization, the best HR software will not make you successful.

Moving from paper-based to electronic processes is CHANGE.  Don’t assume everyone is going to jump on the technology bandwagon.  It is human nature to be change-averse and... » read more

Posted by Greg Paradiso | Mon, April 18

Brokers have long been respected for their expertise within the world of benefits — and they’re solidifying that position as they incorporate technology and professional guidance to better serve their clients.

When employers decide to outsource their benefits, they do so nearly half of the time with the goal of improving their benefits-related technology, according to the 2014 Guardian Workplace Benefits Study. “Employers who outsource enrollment are more focused on expanding... » read more

Posted by Stacey Sharp | Thu, March 31

Each newsletter our experts cover a wide array of topics. This month's newsletter discusses private benefit exchanges, a different twist on engagement, the top 6 HR issues to watch in 2016, daily wellbeing and synergy between financial wellness and voluntary benefits. If there are topics you woud like to see covered, please contact us today ! 

To view this quarter's newsletter, please download this ... » read more

Posted by Michael Kilfoyle | Tue, March 15

Private exchanges have gotten a lot of press in the last couple of years and industry experts keep saying that private exchanges are the next rage in employee benefits as the best way to decrease costs and to increase employee choice.  But there hasn’t been a lot of action with exchanges despite some lofty predictions offered by those same experts.  Or at least not a lot of action that’s visible.     

Before I delve into if these are the next best rage or not, let me try to explain what a private exchange is, and more importantly, what it is not.

Let’s start with the name. ... » read more

Posted by Greg Paradiso | Fri, March 11

The word “engagement” is used by HR professionals in many different ways.  Most commonly it is the feeling of being satisfied in your work and proud of your organization.  But are there other ways to view engagement?

The dictionary definition of engagement is “an agreement to meet or be present at a particular place and time.”  A highly experienced compensation consultant I once worked with referred to the effect of certain compensation programs as “retention hooks” - a way of hooking employees to your organization.  Is this... » read more

Posted by Greg Paradiso | Tue, February 23

Looking for a new HRIS or just purchased one?  Chances are you’re interested in the Recruitment module as a way to automate, streamline, accelerate and improve the quality outcomes of your recruitment process.  There is no single answer to what’s in a recruitment module but here is what you should look for depending on your needs:

  1. Applicant Tracking – This is the most fundamental tool allowing recruiters to monitor searches and candidates through all stages of recruitment.
  2. Appointment Scheduling – A recruitment system can sync to... » read more
Posted by Greg Paradiso | Thu, February 11

Looking for ways to bring new hires up to speed?  Want to make those critical first days more engaging and valued?  Look no further than your company’s Onboarding process. 

Onboarding is defined by SHRM as: ”…the process by which new hires get adjusted to the social and performance aspects of their jobs quickly and smoothly, and learn the attitudes, knowledge, skills and behaviors required to function effectively within the organization.”  Academics call it organizational socialization.  Whatever it’s called, if turnover and new hiring is common in your organization, having... » read more

Posted by Stacey Sharp | Wed, December 23

Each newsletter our experts cover a wide array of topics. This month's newsletter discusses why the 'User' of HR Technology is more important than ever, the Cadillac Tax, embedded deductibles, defining wellness for organizational wellness and using voluntary worksite benefits to stay competitive with attracting and retaining good employees. If there are topics you woud like to see covered, please contact us today! Contact@hbhriq.com

To view this quarter's newsletter,... » read more

Posted by Greg Paradiso | Mon, December 14

User Experience (“UX” in tech abbreviation) is now considered one of and maybe the most important criteria when selecting a system and determining its success.  UX means you must consider the experience of the person using the system, the “user” often being a common employee.  How does the software application look and feel?  How does input occur and flow? Can tasks be accomplished in a minimal number of steps? 

An ideal user experience is best summarized by Cecile Leroux, Ultimate Software’s VP of Product Strategy and Management - “The ultimate goal is to deliver user experiences... » read more

Posted by Greg Paradiso | Thu, December 03

Is it possible your company is losing out on good applicants and doesn’t even know it?  The source of the problem may be your job application process if it’s slow to respond or antiquated.  That’s the premise of a recent study reported by SHRM. 

A recent survey of 500 service companies reports that 61% still use a paper-based job application process and 73% take more than a week to review applications and fill hourly positions. These include hotels, restaurants and retail stores.  The best applicants don’t stay on the market long.  And millennials are increasing looking to apply for... » read more

Posted by Stacey Sharp | Wed, October 28

Each newsletter our experts cover a wide array of topics. This month's newsletter discusses the most important piece of Voluntary Worksite Benefits, creating your best day, every day, the future of employer sponsored health care, the promise of private benefit exchanges and the impacts of offering domestic partner coverage. 

Click here to view our PDF.

Posted by Greg Paradiso | Tue, October 27

That was the title of the message from SHRM CEO Henry Jackson in the October 2015 publication of HR Magazine. The main message is SHRM has anticipated many impacts on HR from technology advances and now that future is upon us; Smart phones, cloud computing, employee self-service. These and others have spawned new and growing software applications for HR - ways to automate, improve and speed up a variety of HR processes.

“According to a SHRM Foundation Report, HR is increasingly more tech-based because of the business... » read more

Posted by Greg Paradiso | Wed, September 30

Much has been said the past two years about expected growth in the use of private benefit exchanges.  These were envisioned and used prior to the ACA and introduction of public health exchanges but have now taken hold and are on the rise.

To be clear on the meaning, a private benefit exchange (PBE) is simply an online marketplace where employees can choose from a wide array of medical, dental, life, disability and voluntary benefits. A private exchange is usually offered by an employer as a convenient, economical way for employees to choose benefit plans and employers to pay for... » read more

Posted by Greg Paradiso | Wed, September 30

For better or worse, Human Resource Departments are often involved or charged with determining the methods and norms of internal communications.  Communication is a “human” process so this is no surprise.  But as advances in technology continue, it is important to remember that, after all, we are all still human.

This was the subject of a recent SHRM article titled “5 Keys to Balancing Technology in the Workplace” (DiCostanzo, 9/21/15).  The first key is simple – Eye Contact.  Most know that person-to-person eye contact is the most important and direct signal that... » read more

Posted by Greg Paradiso | Tue, August 11

Investments in HR Technology companies are growing at a record pace in 2015.  According to the Wall Street Journal, venture capital firms are putting record amounts of money into the growth of HR Technology companies (see graph below). 

What does all this mean?  It means with a solid economy and pent-up demand for HR technology improvements, money is pouring in and the market is trying to catch up to current and expected demand. It also means HR Technology is here to stay and is only going to grow in the future. Technology solutions are rapidly being implemented in mid-size and... » read more

Posted by Greg Paradiso | Mon, July 27

A private benefit exchange (PBE) is simply an online marketplace where employees can choose from a wide array of medical, dental, life, disability and voluntary benefits.   A private exchange is usually offered by an employer as a convenient, economical way for employees to choose benefit plans and employers to pay for these plans. This is different from the state or federal exchanges that tend to offer only health benefits.  These are part of the private, for-profit world, not regulated and are very flexible.

Private exchanges are growing in popularity nationwide.  Numerous studies... » read more

Posted by Greg Paradiso | Wed, June 03

According to the Society for Human Resource Management, the average HR Information System is over five years old.  At the same time, there has been an explosion of new developments and options for someone in search of a new system in today’s market.  When you combine these two trends, it is easy to see that 2015 will be a very active year for HR technology markets.

What’s changed?  Five or more years ago, a company would generally buy an HR system that would be internal to their company only.  They would own and install the software on their systems and support it with their... » read more

Posted by Michael Kilfoyle | Wed, June 03

Talk about a splash.  Zenefits, a two year old company, has gotten both press and a lot of venture capital dollars for their business that has disrupted the HR and employee benefits marketplace.   They’re marketing like crazy, advertising on the radio, the web and directly to businesses.  As Zenefits CEO Parker Conrad said, “…we should be stepping on the gas and putting the pedal to the floor.”

So what is it they do and are they revolutionary?  And how do they offer their technology for free? 

What... » read more

Posted by Greg Paradiso | Fri, May 15

We know the old saying “If you build it, they will come.”  Maybe in the Field of Dreams but that does NOT apply to computer systems and software.  In today’s world, users “vote with their feet”.  If someone does not like a computer software system they will not use it.  And if they are forced to use it, they will be resistant and resentful.  Not good if we are talking about employees in your company.

That brings us to the term “User Interface.”  According to Wikipedia’s definition: “The user interface…is the space where interactions between humans and machines... » read more

Posted by Greg Paradiso | Tue, April 14

In a recent ADP survey of 750 mid-sized U.S. companies, executives were asked what their top economic and business concerns were.  The main concerns were:

  1. Health Costs - 69 percent are concerned with the cost of health coverage and other benefits
  2. Health Care Reform - 54 percent are concerned with health care reform legislation
  3. Government Regulations - 51 percent are concerned with the level and volume of government regulations... » read more
Posted by Greg Paradiso | Mon, March 16

So much goes into purchasing an HR or Payroll system.   Traditionally, these were run by HR or Payroll Administrators who received extensive training and worked in the systems daily.  But times are changing.  Increasingly, the value for these systems is the ability for employees and managers to gain access and serve themselves.  This changes the calculus in selecting a system. 

So many variables and factors go into selecting a system.  What capabilities will it have?  How well does the vendor support it?  Can it be customized?  How will it share and receive data from other systems... » read more

Posted by Greg Paradiso | Fri, February 20

There are obvious reasons a system that integrates payroll with HRIS is a preferred option. They share the same base data so there is no conflicting data. There is less work keeping the systems in sync – no interfaces or files transfers to work on and keep track of. Ideally the system will be more efficient overall – only one system to train on, log into and repeatedly use for multiple purposes.

However, there are times when a standalone system could be preferred.  If you already have an HRIS or low needs, this could free you up to find the best available payroll system in the... » read more

Posted by Greg Paradiso | Thu, February 12

The future is admittedly difficult to predict.  But there are strong trends hard to ignore.  They are beginning to affect the workplace, HR processes and company IT systems.  These technological advances will soon be at our doorstep.

Trend #1 - Smartphones (no surprise here)

The Gartner research group sees companies in 2015 increasing their focus on smartphone uses as the workplace is becoming increasing mobile.   Cisco predicts that by 2018, 95% of people worldwide will connect to the Internet through a smart device.  The needs of mobile users will become... » read more

Posted by Greg Paradiso | Wed, January 21
Just released, the HR, Benefits & Payroll Technology Survey reports high activity in the markets for HR and payroll systems.  The survey is performed by HR Technology Advisors of Wrentham, MA and is meant to reflect national technology trends of small to mid-size employers.  Of those that responded, 70% were companies ranged from 26 to 500 employees.
Highlights of the report include: 
 
• 52% process payroll in-house, 48% outsource
• Most commonly reported HRIS vendors were: ADP. Paychex, Sage, Ceridian and Ultimate
Posted by Greg Paradiso | Wed, January 07

Project Management often gets a bad rap.  It’s not fun and sexy.  It’s an unexciting discipline that was perfected by engineers and techies.  But it’s the rigor and detail orientation that can save many an implementation.  You ignore project management at your own peril.  Without project management, you can cross your fingers and pray for good results, but project management is a better way to assure success. 

Project Management is a carefully planned and organized effort to accomplish a specific one-time effort.  A “project” can be defined as a “series of tasks and activities that... » read more

Posted by Greg Paradiso | Wed, November 05

For years, HR Departments have been trying to reduce paperwork particularly in the area of benefits enrollment.  It used to be you had to be a big employer to invest in enrollment technology or invest in a full-blown HRIS or high-end payroll system that may have online enrollment.  All that has changed with internet-based systems with software provided as a service.  And these systems are now available to small to mid-market employers.

If you have 200 or more employees, you likely need a web-based enrollment system.  Even if you have less than 100 employees, it may be justified. ... » read more

Posted by Greg Paradiso | Tue, October 07

A recent national survey indicates the interest of small businesses when it comes to purchasing an HR/Payroll system.  Software Advice, an Austin Texas based company, specializes in helping organizations find a match to their software needs.  As a result, they interview thousands of small businesses each year.  When it comes to HR/Payroll systems, they have found that a high majority (84%) are looking for a payroll solution that is part of a human resources software suite.  In addition, 69% prefer a... » read more

Posted by Greg Paradiso | Wed, September 24

In an ideal world, an employer would want the latest technology with the best costs and the best features in an all-in-one integrated system.   Unfortunately, none of us live in an ideal world.  And each company has its own unique history with technology.  Often a Payroll or HR Manager inherits a system that someone else selected and implemented.  Then they have limitations of time, staff and money that shape their intentions to improve or replace their HR/Payroll system.

The good news is you don’t have to wait for ideal circumstances.  And if you do wait, they may never occur.  So... » read more

Posted by Greg Paradiso | Wed, September 03

Selecting a new payroll/HR system might be something you do every three to five years, if not longer.  Institutional memory fades.  Maybe the person who led the selection process last time is no longer with your company.  In any event, it’s something you don’t do often.  So it requires you to prepare, take your time and consider what your business will need in the next several years.  

The technology world is changing rapidly and new solutions are probably now available that you never considered last time.  And future practices in the not too distant future might be something you... » read more

Posted by Greg Paradiso | Tue, August 12

The technology world has had huge changes since the year 2000.  Applications and uses for personal computers and the internet have exploded.  This has created opportunities for HR to use technologies in ways that never existed before.  And the complexity and cost of technology has dramatically decreased so much so that small employers can now get access to much sophisticated technology that previously they only dreamed of. 

As I noted in my last blog, a huge part of the SaaS value is it requires only about one third of the staff to implement and support it versus software installed... » read more

Posted by Greg Paradiso | Mon, July 28

My last blog discussed what is meant by cloud-based computing.  The basic definition of cloud computing is the delivery of computing as a remote service rather than a nearby installed product.  The true value of cloud computing is shared software services and shared hardware infrastructure.  Companies do not need to buy and install their own software and hardware connecting to their internal private network. 

We now come to the software side.  Utilizing software “in a cloud” is called Software-as-a-Service or  SaaS.  In the 2013-14 HR System Survey for HR Executive Magazine, HR and... » read more

Posted by Greg Paradiso | Wed, July 16

Does my data really ascend into the clouds?  Are there really computers up there?  The answer is no.  There is no NSA-run secret storage area that is hidden in the clouds or circles the earth.  Cloud computing is an earthbound phenomenon with a cool Silicon Valley name.  Think remote storage.

The basic definition of cloud computing is the delivery of computing as a remote service rather than a nearby  installed product.  This has exploded in growth in the past two decades with the advent of the internet.  In the old days, computer access was only available via a hard cable plugged... » read more

Posted by Mike Sacco | Mon, June 16

I don’t know what the etiquette is regarding “re-blogging” but if it’s allowed (or not) I want to pass this along with my HR Technology slant.  On HBR (Harvard Business Review) Blog Network, March 13, 2014, Randall Beck and James Harter shared a bit of talent management information gleaned from Gallup.  It goes like this, “ … companies fail to choose the candidate with the right talent for the job 82% of the time.”  What job? , you may be asking.  The job they are talking about is that of manager.  They go on to state that bad managers cost billions of dollars annually due to their... » read more

Posted by Mike Sacco | Mon, June 02

As I started to read my HR Magazine (published by SHRM) for March 2014, I took a moment to read the monthly CEO’s message on page 10 written by Henry G. Jackson entitled “Becoming Employers of Choice”.  The title intrigued me and the first few sentences definitely got me thinking.  The prediction being examined was that of a shift from the one we have experienced for the last few years, focused on the corporate entity itself, over to one of leveraging the strength base of the top performing employees within the entity.  The idea is that we have possibly reached the peak of the productivity... » read more

Posted by Mike Sacco | Thu, May 29

Payroll and HR Technology and Organizational Culture connected, who knew? I think there’s a pretty good argument for those two elements to be critically connected.  See what you think.

Recently I was reading an article in HR Magazine published by SHRM about a firm that created a bit of a turnaround by concentrating efforts on the corporate culture that would fit their employees’ needs for satisfying work and motivate them to create successful outcomes. The article was called “Driving Results Through Culture" and it was written by the Senior VP of HR at Berkshire Property Advisors,... » read more

Posted by Mike Sacco | Mon, May 05

A Forbes article that I caught from a LinkedIn group is titled “The 9 Hottest Trends in HR Technology … And Many Are Disruptive”, Bersin, Josh, 10/21/2013. You should be able to find it and read it here http://www.forbes.com/sites/joshbersin/2013/10/21/the-9-hottest-trends-in-hr-technology-and-many-are-disruptive/#!

So, what are the 9 items:

  1. The convergence of talent management and ERP

  2. User experience is the... » read more

Posted by Mike Sacco | Mon, April 21

I attended an all-day session sponsored by the Vermont Human Resource Association (http://www.vthra.org) that was themed around recruitment and talent management topics.  As was no surprise, it quickly became centered on the use of the various social media resources to mine data on potential candidates as well as give recruiters a quick sense of a candidate’s character, talents, and their comfort with technology for instance.  Every speaker during the day-long session revisited the positive aspects of social media and useful data... » read more

Posted by Mike Sacco | Thu, April 10

First of all I want to give complete credit for this Blog post to Harvard business Review and in particular to their HBR Blog Network article addressing Human Resource Analytics (which can be found in its entirety at http://blogs.hbr.org/2013/12/change-your-company-with-better-hr-analytics/).  I definitely am not going to review or regurgitate that article here but I am going to take the opportunity to highlight a couple of what I think are the “key” take-away’s from it.   Those are the terms “... » read more

Posted by Mike Sacco | Tue, January 28

A Forbes article that I caught from a LinkeIn group today is entitled “The 9 Hottest Trends in HR Technology … And Many Are Disruptive”, Bersin, Josh, 10/21/2013. You should be able to find it and read it here http://www.forbes.com/sites/joshbersin/2013/10/21/the-9-hottest-trends-in-hr-technology-and-many-are-disruptive/#!

So, what are the 9 items:

  1. The convergence of talent management and ERP.

  2. User experience... » read more

Posted by Mike Sacco | Tue, January 14

First of all I want to give complete credit for this Blog post to Harvard Business Review and in particular to their HBR Blog Network article addressing Human Resource Analytics (which can be found in its entirety at http://blogs.hbr.org/2013/12/change-your-company-with-better-hr-analytics/).  I definitely am not going to review or regurgitate that article here but I am going to take the opportunity to highlight a couple of what I think are the “key” take-away’s from it.   Those are the terms “... » read more

Posted by Mike Sacco | Tue, January 14

I was reading a white paper this morning that was published by one of our HR Technology partners.  It caught my eye because it discussed a subject that I have a lot of respect for as a strategic management tool and, in this white paper, connected that concept with the systematic need for a business to have robust, responsive Human Resource Information System (HRIS) report capabilities.  The strategic business concept that was referenced was in essence Kaplan and Norton’s basic alignment of capital to strategic outcomes.  This concept of alignment to strategic outcomes is an essential... » read more

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